Fear Of Aging Alone

Is It Rational?
The notion of aging alone strikes fear into the hearts of many single older boomers, sufficient to cause some to spend an unhealthy amount of time pondering the end alone. Whether or not this is a rational approach to getting older, it's a real-world situation for many. I've lost friends, some younger and some older than me, and I'm noticing friends struggle with serious illness. I grudgingly acknowledge the possibilities.

But hold on. I'm a young-at-heart, healthy, active, in love, and joyfully working 71-year-old guy, so why should I waste time thinking about death? Isn't that Woody Allen's bailiwick?

I have daily contact with date coaching clients, all of whom are boomer women, and while most are aging well physically and emotionally, some are panicked about never meeting anyone and spending the balance of their lives alone. I encourage them to believe it's possible, because in fact it is. Statistics show senior online dating is successful for a good number of seniors, albeit while requiring stamina and focus.

But there's more than dating to consider as regards to being single older boomers and lonely. I understand how the notion of being sick or dying alone can seep into older single boomers' psyches. The national statistic for seniors reporting feeling lonely is a whopping 65 percent, which is high considering the large and growing senior population. And spending too much time alone can keep death and dying in their daily thoughts.

Friends Matter
The only aspect of death I readily acknowledge is that it's inevitable. But there's little I can do beyond taking good care of myself, so I dismiss those thoughts rather than dwell on them. When a friend passes, I miss them the extent that my heart aches, but I choose to be grateful I'm alive rather than obsess about death. But there are reasons I don't fall into the abyss, namely close friends, a loving partner, a son, and a grandson. I couldn't imagine waking up every day without knowing each of them cares deeply about me.

Tricky, Not Impossible
It may appear tricky for older boomers who feel all alone in the world to make friends because many of us are attached to other people already. Having said that, many older boomers like me are always interested in making new friends. In the past few years I've added a few friends to my life. I'm not referring to Facebook friends, but real people who I know and who know me intimately, and with whom I get together regularly. My partner has also made new friends in the past few years.

Get Off The Couch
I urge single older boomers to reach out in their communities to find new friends. The expression, "You can't have too many friends" is true, making nearly all seniors amenable to creating new friendships. I urge older single boomers who spend their days focused on death and dying to make the effort to meet new potential friends. I know it can seem like a Herculean task, but once you get that ball rolling it gathers speed and picks up more friends along the way.

Places To Look
Most cities and towns have community centers where seniors get together, and these activity centers are ideal for creating new friendships. Volunteering through an organization also brings like-minded seniors together, and friendships follow easily. And there's a plethora of clubs for seniors that include activities like hiking, bicycling, walking, and cooking, as well as book groups, local theater groups, and nature groups, to name a few.

It's Up To You
Being alone in the world is a physical state, but it doesn't have to become an emotional life sentence. Seniors can opt out by simply making an effort to reach out to others. Go online and you'll discover a host of solutions for your loneliness. Do it because nothing satisfies more than knowing someone cares about you. You can either fill your days with joy or choose to remain isolated, and while both are possible, the former seems like a smarter choice.

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

7 Ways To Make Friends Post 50