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My grandmother lived to be If my mother lives to be the same age and, at age 82, she shows no signs of doing otherwise , I will be the year-old "child" taking care of her. Even for Boomers who are married, inevitably one spouse will die before the other, leaving the remaining spouse usually the woman to address these challenges alone.

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Indeed, some commentators feel that growing older alone is one of the most important -- and ignored -- women's issues of the next 30 years. The challenges are real, but so is the determination of Boomers to make this work, and their ingenuity and willingness to improvise can be effective. For example, individuals are coming together informally to develop networks of friends who have responsibilities when a member of the group needs help. Some older people are living together like the "Golden Girls" informally or co-locating to a neighborhood where they can help each other when needed, at least in places where zoning and other ordinances do not make this type of living arrangement difficult or impossible.

Where are other successful support models to be found? The fastest growing network to help older people find services is the Village to Village network.

Villages are based on the model of neighbors helping neighbors, but provide a structure and consistency for the work. They are membership-based, created and governed by older adults, and offer their members a network of services that support "aging in community," such as transportation and home repairs delivered by both paid providers and volunteers; social, cultural and educational programs; health and wellness activities; and member-to-member volunteer support.

In fact, remaining active and engaged by volunteering is a popular aspect of membership and 51 percent of members volunteer within their Village. In California, grants from the SCAN Foundation and the Archstone Foundation have helped both support individual Villages and document what makes them work and how they can be sustained and expanded.

The Village to Village network is part of a growing movement to create age-friendly communities where people can grow up as children and also grow old in place. Instead of segregating older people into special facilities or communities, it tries to find ways make places better for both the old and the young and to link the groups together. Grantmakers In Aging offers great resources that can help. These include a database that can be searched by state so you can see what's already going on in or near your community, or find workable solutions to adapt to your community's needs.

Today's generation of older adults looks forward to the longest life span of any group in human history. If that reality, and the related possibility of growing old alone, gives you pause, join us in supporting a more age-friendly future, with a greater range of choices for all people to find the support they will someday need. The challenges of living longer and living alone can be formidable, but there are lots of creative solutions already helping people across America.

What ideas can you add? It's time to pull together and put all our ideas to work. US Edition U. News U.

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HuffPost Personal Video Horoscopes. Newsletters Coupons. Eating out may give you a chance to visit with others. Is it hard for you to get out? Ask someone to bring you a healthy meal a few times a week. Meal delivery programs bring hot meals into your home; some of these programs are free or low-cost. Money management. Do you worry about paying bills late or not at all? Are health insurance forms confusing?

Maybe you can get help with these tasks. Ask a trusted relative to lend a hand. Volunteers, financial counselors, or geriatric care managers can also help.

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Just make sure you get the referral from a trustworthy source, like your local Area Agency on Aging. If you use a computer, you could pay your bills online. Check with your bank about this option. Some people have regular bills, like utilities and rent or mortgage, paid automatically from their checking account.

Be careful to avoid money scams. Never give your Social Security number, bank or credit card numbers, or other sensitive information to someone on the phone unless you placed the call or in response to an email. Always check all bills, including utility bills, for charges you do not recognize. Even though you might not need it now, think about giving someone you trust permission to discuss your bills with creditors or your Social Security or Medicare benefits with those agencies.

Learn more about legal and financial planning for older adults. Health care. Do you forget to take your medicine? There are devices available to remind you when it is time for your next dose. Special pill boxes allow you or someone else to set out your pills for an entire week. Have you just gotten out of the hospital and still need nursing care at home for a short time?

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The hospital discharge planner can help you make arrangements, and Medicare might pay for a home health aide to come to your home. If you can't remember what the doctor told you to do, try to have someone go to your doctor visits with you. Ask them to write down everything you are supposed to do or, if you are by yourself, ask the doctor to put all recommendations in writing. If staying in your home is important to you, you may still have concerns about safety, getting around, or other activities of daily life. Find suggestions below to help you think about some of these worries.

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Getting around—at home and in town. Are you having trouble walking? Perhaps a walker would help. If you need more, think about getting an electric chair or scooter. These are sometimes covered by Medicare. Do you need someone to go with you to the doctor or shopping? Volunteer escort services may be available. If you are no longer driving a car, find out if there are free or low-cost public transportation and taxis in your area. Maybe a relative, friend, or neighbor would take you along when they go on errands or do yours for you.

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Are you bored staying at home? Your local senior center offers a variety of activities. You might see friends there and meet new people too. Is it hard for you to leave your home? Maybe you would enjoy visits from someone. Volunteers are sometimes available to stop by or call once a week. They can just keep you company, or you can talk about any problems you are having.


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Call your local Area Agency on Aging to see if they are available near you. Are you worried about crime in your neighborhood, physical abuse, or losing money as a result of a scam? Talk to the staff at your local Area Agency on Aging. If you live alone, are you afraid of becoming sick with no one around to help? You might want to get an emergency alert system.

You just push a special button that you wear, and emergency medical personnel are called. There is typically a monthly fee for this service. Would a few changes make your home easier and safer to live in? Think about things like a ramp at the front door, grab bars in the tub or shower, nonskid floors, more comfortable handles on doors or faucets, and better insulation. Sound expensive?

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You might be able to get help paying for these changes. Check with your local Area Agency on Aging, State housing finance agency, welfare department, community development groups, or the Federal Government. Help during the day. Do you need care but live with someone who can't stay with you during the day? For example, maybe they work. Adult day care outside the home is sometimes available for older people who need help caring for themselves.

The day care center can pick you up and bring you home.