If you are living alone, you are not alone. More than 34 percent of women and 20 percent of men over 65 years old live alone in the United States, and that number rises with age. We know just how surprising this can be for you to read. Whether you were thinking about yourself or an aging loved one, contemplating a time when you may no longer live at home is difficult.

It is true, however, that when we live alone we need to take precautions to ensure that we are always safe. This can be especially true for seniors. Do you have any questions? Let us share four tips to age alone that may be able to help you maintain your independence and autonomy for as long as possible.

1. Watch Out for Predators. Even the most cautious people have been taken in by criminals. Be aware of current online scams, mail scams, and phone scams. Try to avoid being too trusting of information that you did not solicit. Further, when you live alone, consider running background checks on everyone you hire to come into your home.

2. Choose the Right Backup Decision-Maker. Create a durable power of attorney and designate the responsibility of agent to someone you trust. You want to make sure your wishes are respected, and honored, if there comes a time when you cannot make decisions for yourself.

3. Know When It Is The Right Time to Move From Your Home. You may love your home, but if you can no longer manage the stairs alone or maintain it adequately, it might be time to look for more suitable living arrangements. This can be a hard step to evaluate yourself. You may need to ask for help from your loved ones, or gently suggest this possibility to a loved one. When possible, take small steps forward and listen empathetically to all involved.

4. Plan Your Estate. If you are not legally protected by an estate plan, which may include a trust agreement, and powers of attorney, now is the time to get it done. You have probably heard the statement “the best defense is a good offense,” and one of the places this holds most true is for estate planning. Decide what you want now, and ask an estate planning attorney to help you achieve the results that you want.

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers for you. Do not wait to contact our office at anytime to schedule a meeting with Attorney Alan Hougum.