According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the number of older women outnumber older men at 25.1 million older women to 19.6 million older men. Most “older” folks don’t need to be told that, they already know it.
Women outlive men and, the report goes on to say, older men were much more likely to be married than older women – 72% of men, 46% of women. In 2014, 35% older women were widows.
So it should come as no surprise that 8.8 million older women live alone.
While there are many women who love living on their own, coming and going as they please, doing what they love; there are many women who struggle with handling their finances and making good decisions.
Why is that?
During their marriage their husbands handled all the finances and made most of the decisions. The wife has never had the responsibility – or opportunity – to be involved. So when the husband dies and leaves his wife a widow, he also leaves her totally unprepared to take care of herself.
All of a sudden she is thrust into a situation for which she has few, if any skills and little prior knowledge or understanding.
I have met a lot of women …
… Women who knew how to make a mean pot roast, but not who the water company was or how much it cost each month for water.
… Women who kept the house tidy and beautiful, but had no idea if there was even a mortgage still open or anything about taxes and insurance on it.
… Women who have no idea if they will have enough money to buy food and medications every month now that their husband is gone.
This same situation applies for the growing number of women over 50 who have been left through divorce. When a woman who has never worked loses her sole source of income, her standard of life drops immediately. In fact, the average of a woman’s standard of living the year after a divorce is reported to decrease by a whopping 73%. That is for women of all ages and it is an average. So where do you think older women are in comparison to that average? Over 4.2 million older adults (9.5%) were below the poverty level in 2013.
So while there are women who are living alone happily going about their lives, there are just as many, if not more, who barricade themselves at home and worry, unsure of what to do, where to go, or even what they can or cannot do.
Independence for women may sound like something vague or nebulous and even “silly” to some. But what it really means is that women have taken up the right and responsibility to know where they stand financially both as a spouse and as a single woman, whether widowed or divorced.
If you are a woman who doesn’t know what position you would be in if you were suddenly single, now is the time to find out. Don’t let your future security ride on the wind.
If you are the child of an aging woman, single or not, encourage her to take steps to secure her retirement years.
The reason I started Keeping In Touch Solutions was because I saw what a struggle getting older can be for folks and their children. Everyone wants the same thing: an aging loved one to be safe, secure, and happy.
When there are so many struggles to overcome, a Keeping In Touch Solutions daily call is a simple thing that brings a huge amount of peace of mind to Mom and to her children. Not only does a daily call for a Keeping In Touch Solutions Care Caller provide a cheery voice Mom can count on every day, but you will know right away if something isn’t right.
A daily check-in call could be the lifeline, the joy you give someone that makes the biggest difference in their perception of what old age is like.
Contact me at 317-480-1038 today. Let’s make a difference together.
I’m Diana Beam, Founder of Keeping in Touch Solutions. It is my heartfelt desire for every person to live a happy and healthy life in the place they call home, no matter what their age. You can’t put a price on peace of mind for your parents and yourself. It’s priceless . . . and significant.
For that reason, the goal of every Keeping In Touch Solutions program is to provide a caring connection and service that both the elderly and their caregivers can rely on to make living that good life easier.
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