Pew Research Center Estimate of U.S. adults in 2020 over age 59 were living alone, and that number is growing every day as baby boomers Age. The good news is there are many resources available to seniors. Unfortunately, those living alone — even with their adult children — might not know where to find assistance. The following summarizes an all-in-one guide to such resources available published by the National Council on Aging (NCOA). It’s titled “Resources and Support for Older Adults Living Alone: A Comprehensive Guide,” which provides connections for seniors, their adult children and caregivers. NCOA full report is available on their website outlined here.
—Benefits Check Up: This is a simple online search service, which can be done anonymously. You’ll easily find out if you may be eligible for key benefits programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicare Savings Programs, Medicaid, Medicare Part D Low Income Subsidy (LIS, or “Extra Help”), among others.
Pride should not stand in the way of accessing these programs, as many are designed for seniors who have financial issues/difficulties. According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data, poverty increased among adults aged 65 and older from 8.9% in 2020 to 10.3% in 2021. NCOA estimates that $30 billion in available assistance goes unclaimed each year.
Help is available through these Federal programs for everything from buying groceries and medicines to advice on cutting Medicare costs. This section of the NCOA website can connect you to a nearby Benefits Enrollment Center, helpful if you’re worried about working on a computer.
—Area Agencies on Aging (AAA): These are public or private nonprofit agencies, designated by the states to address the needs and concerns of all older persons at the regional and local levels. There may be local, city, or state agencies that can be found through an online search for your nearest agency, as well as your state agency. The NCOA website also has a link to a search for agencies that are designed to connect seniors to benefits they deserve.
Whether you’re looking for subsidized senior housing, or resources to stay in your home, your local area agency can help. They provide access to homemaker services and Meals-On-Wheels food preparation services. They can provide transportation assistance for medical appointments, and even serve as a resource in case of suspected elder abuse.
—Eldercare Locator: This is an online search tool at www.eldercare.acl.gov. It’s offered as a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging. By simply entering your zip code, it will connect you to services for older adults and their families. You can also call their hotline t 800-677-1116. And speak with an information specialist Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-9 p.m. ET.
These services include assistance with housing, transportation, health insurance and medical needs. It is also a vital link to information and reporting regarding elder abuse, whether physical , emotional and/ or financial.
—PACE Programs: Programs for All-Inclusive Care of the Elderly are available in many states. Go to NPAOnline.org, and search by zip code. This is a program to coordinate at-home nursing care for qualifying elderly who prefer to stay in their homes. If that is possible, it is typically far less costly and more desirable than a Medicaid-funded nursing facility. But by the time a senior need this help, especially if living alone, it requires an agency to coordinate nursing care and other medical needs. PACE programs help do just that.
A warning note: If you use online searches, you are likely to be connected to commercial services, offering everything from help finding assisted living to selling you burial insurance! Be sure you are dealing with one of the nonprofits mentioned above.
If anything, the real issue is connecting seniors to the help that exists. If you’re a senior without computer skills, turn to your local public library. The professional librarians there have all these websites literally at their fingertips and are a wonderful resource for in-person support.
NOTE 1. What Is BenefitsCheckUp® is the nation’s most comprehensive online tool to connect older adults and people with disabilities to benefits. We'll make it easy to see if you may be eligible—and then help you find out where to apply online or how to get help from a benefits counselor.
Resources and Support for Older Adults Living Alone: A Comprehensive Guide (2023)
This is a comprehensive guide of resources for older adults living alone, empowering them to thrive independently and access essential services.
- A variety of organizations offer programs and services tailored to the needs of older adults, including financial assistance, health care support, and social engagement opportunities.
- Resources, such as the Eldercare Locator and the National Directory for Home Modification and Repair, provide valuable information and connections to local resources.
- Programs, like Meals on Wheels, ensure access to nutritious meals and social support for older adults living alone.
- Medical alert systems and technological tools can enhance safety and provide peace of mind for older adults living independently.
As you age, living alone can present various challenges, including social isolation, limited access to essential services, and potential health risks. Approximately 27% of U.S. adults aged 60 and older were living alone in 2020, according to the Pew Research Center, and this number is projected to increase as the baby boomer generation reaches retirement age.  These individuals may face difficulties with daily activities, such as transportation, meal preparation, and home maintenance—all of which have a direct impact on their overall health and wellness.
As the population of older adults continues to grow, so does the number of individuals who choose to live independently as they age.  Our Reviews Team has provided a comprehensive guide to the various programs, services, and organizations catering to the needs of older adults living alone. By highlighting the importance of community engagement, social connections, and access to essential services, this guide demonstrates how specific organizations and tools can help older adults successfully age in place.
- Ausubel, Jacob. Older People are More Likely to Live Alone in the U.S. Than Elsewhere in the World. Pew Research Center website. March 10, 2020. Found on the internet at https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2020/03/10/older-people-are-more-likely-to-live-alone-in-the-u-s-than-elsewhere-in-the-world
- Molinsky, Jennifer. The Number of People Living Alone in Their 80s and 90s in Set to Soar. Joint Center for Housing Studies. March 10, 2020. Found on the internet at https://www.jchs.harvard.edu/blog/the-number-of-people-living-alone-in-their-80s-and-90s-is-set-to-soar
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