We got this story here at BoomerCafé the other day from a “retirement transition expert” for baby boomers named Sara Geber in Santa Rosa, California. It’s about Solo Agers. Don’t know what that is? Neither did we, but it sounded like something we’d better learn. Maybe you’d better too.

You qualify as a Solo Ager if you are a baby boomer and have no children. Married or single? Doesn’t matter.

I am a Solo Ager, and about five years ago I got very interested in knowing more about my tribe. I discovered that almost 20-percent of the baby boom generation falls into the Solo Ager category. Yes, one in five of us has no adult children to help us as we get older in life -– WOW!

Sara Geber

After discovering how numerous we are, I asked myself why we have almost twice the percentage of child-free members as all previous generations. It didn’t take much thought or research to answer the question. As boomers, we were the first generation to have legal, readily available, easy to use birth control. And we women of our generation were the first in history to have the opportunity to work and support ourselves in whatever field we chose, thanks in the 1970s to societal pressure and legislation.

I chose a child-free lifestyle when I was in my twenties. I’ve never regretted it. I enjoy a full life, rich with friends and a rewarding career. I am married, and when I talk about Solo Aging, many people ask how a married person can consider herself a “solo” anything. I tell them that unless my husband and I get hit by the same bus, one of us is going to end up alone, so we should both plan for the unknowable future.

About three years ago, I decided to write a book on Solo Aging so I would have a reason to do all the research I was already doing. I finished the writing part and I am now in the process of getting it published. The book will be called Fifty Plus, Minus Kids: A planning guide for aging without adult children.

If you are single with a child or children from whom you are estranged, by the way, you are probably a Solo Ager as well. Another term being bandied about for this phenomenon is “Elder Orphan,” but I prefer Solo Ager. Join the tribe!

I love the idea of being able to share my discoveries and my insights with others who are wrestling with the issues of growing older alone. Through the process, I have discovered that none of us has to be alone. There are many ways to ensure that we have companionship and options for care if we need it. I also learned a lot about the legal and financial questions we need to answer and the systems we can set up for ourselves that will help us stay safe as well as happy in the coming years.

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