Betsy was my next door neighbor when I bought my house.  She was 87 years old and living in the same home that her parents built and that she lived in as a child.  I remember running over to help Betsy as she was up on an old ladder cleaning out her gutters.  My wife and I got to know her and her daughters who would lament they have been trying for years unsuccessfully to get their mother to move to a more manageable place.

Besty is not alone, in fact today there are more Americans living as a single household than ever before.  A recent study showed that more than 1 in 4 of all American households are single individuals.  Contrast that to 1920 when it was just 5%.

So what should you be thinking about if you are single and planning for the future and if you need long term care?  Here are some simple tips for planning for long term care when you are single:

  1. Develop a local network of friends.  Not only is having a steady group of friends important for meeting for coffee or dinner but they can help if you need other things.  When you are sick they can bring you meals or even check in on your house when you are away.
  2. Develop a written plan and give it to a trusted friend or family.  Your written plan should not just be your will and medical directive but also practical things like financial account logins and passwords, safe combinations, and if you need care how will personal care be provided and paid for.  Imagine if you could not communicate for some reason, how would your bills be paid or you be taken care of?
  3. Review your household chores and how they get done.  As we age, sometimes simple things like cleaning the gutters can be risky, especially when we are single.  If we fall and get hurt without someone else around this can make a simple injury life threatening.
  4. Regularly check in on your friends and they on you.  Having a regular check in, whether a simple call, email or meeting for lunch not only builds relationships but also lets someone know if you are not okay.

By keeping your social network of friends strong and implementing a few key items single people can enjoy being alone without truly being all alone.

LTC Consumer is an independent, free online service to help consumers understand what long term care insurance is, how it works, and how to evaluate coverage options. Our mission is to provide an educational, no-pressure resource for learning about long term care planning, with the opportunity to speak with specialists who can help them.