What I Learn from the Aging Alone Facebook Group

When aging alone, an older person can better adapt and handle the physical and mental challenges of living without the support of another household member when that person has access to others. It’s even better if the two live in similar circumstances.

There’s a sense of instant camaraderie. Even though no two people are alike in the world, in the case of people in our group, it feels like we have many similarities. And because of that, there’s instant compassion and understanding, a special bond. It’s true that we’re different but there’s nothing more identical than being on one’s own with no one around.

Individuals who belong to the group know what others are up against and the risks of growing older alone. We face mobility problems, mental decline, inactivity, chronic illnesses, limited incomes, wanting a friend or two, and getting support.

I belong to this Facebook group for older people aging alone and most members have strong desires to hear how others like them deal with similar issues and problems.

How did others like me aging alone address their concerns like chronic health issues, living within budget, and finding friends. What they did to resolve them. What worked, what didn't. Ideas and suggestions for things to do, and what they like about aging alone and what they don't like about it.

Not all members spent entire lives without the support of loved ones. Some have lost husbands and wives, others live at a distance from children or other family members, and almost all have lost their parents and regard themselves to be orphaned. So the group is a place of comfort and to learn because as we age, our friends, families, finances, health and faculties can diminish and having an outlet that offers insightful information is appreciated.

They look for tools that keep connections thriving and several of the most popular are Skype, FaceTime, and video chat. They also enjoy reading stories and find value in sharing with one another in the discussions. I know of one or two who have launched new businesses from the ideas in group discussions.

The most significant aspect is learning what worked and what didn't work for other people. We discuss medical issues, medications and side effects, finding transportation, hobbies, organizations who support older adults, handling grieve and death. And since we need to find solutions and mitigate mistakes, hearing about and sharing the valuable resources people find on any topic is extremely helpful.

Finding the necessary strategies to help when aging alone like medical insurance, medical issues, alternative living situations, ways to stretch finances, selecting a health care proxy, and creating the necessary legal documents are most useful. We know there will not be a household member to care for us, so we need to get prepared and figure out how to do it for ourselves for as long as possible.

Since I’m aging alone, I frequently feel very alone and disconnected and the group helps me understand there are many like me and that helps me feel less alone. I want to read about ideas on how to feel less isolated, even though I already know ways to help myself sometimes it is so overwhelming that I need to see a simple list and suddenly I realize I just need to do #4 on the list and it will change my path. Declining health, retirement poverty, it is overwhelming!! I've been helped participating in the group and I believe I've been able to help others so I very much appreciate what we do for one another.

No matter where we are in the aging process, each member appreciates knowing they are not the only one out here in the world who seems to be mostly alone. It seems each feels connected and supported to other members and have a place to get answers about things some know nothing about or want help with. I hope this group continues for a long time.

If you’re aging alone and want to connect with others in the same boat, come to our Facebook group because each cannot do it all alone. We’re building awareness and hoping to realize community action.

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