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The Top 4 Fears for Seniors & Solo Agers: How to Face Them with Faith

The 'Golden' years, the time of life that many of us, including myself turn 65 and are known as seniors (or solo agers if you are moving through this period without a partner or family to help). When I was much younger, these years seemed like a beautiful place to be where you retired from working and lived out whatever dreams you had put off getting to retirement in the first place. Going fishing whenever I want, painting a serene scene all day, taking trips to places I've always wanted to visit, and doing whatever I desire.

Del Webb and his company - Sun City - coined the term in 1959. His idea was to market his retirement communities as the time in life for leisure. With this slogan and his communities, he changed the face of retirement living.

According to the January/February AARP Bulletin (Vol. 65, No. 1, pg 34), there are now 12,000 Americans reaching age 65 every day in 2024. That is a total of 4,380,000 human beings.

This same publication shares that this population now fears scamming more than other crimes. I decided to ask AI what the top four fears are of seniors and solo agers and offer possible solutions that may help assuage these fears. The top four fears are:

  1. Scams:

  • Financial Scams: Seniors may fear falling victim to scams that target their finances, such as fraudulent investment schemes, identity theft, or phishing attempts.

  • Healthcare Scams: Scams related to healthcare, including fake medical products or services, can be a significant concern for seniors.

  1. Crimes:

  • Physical Safety: Fear of physical harm, such as assault or burglary, may be heightened in seniors or solo agers, especially if they live alone or have limited mobility.

  • Elder Abuse: Concerns about emotional, physical, or financial abuse, whether perpetrated by strangers or even by people they know, can be significant.

  1. Isolation:

  • Seniors may also fear social isolation, as this can contribute to vulnerability. Lack of social connection can make them more susceptible to scams or crimes.

  1. Health Issues:

  • The fear of health-related emergencies or medical crises is another common concern, as seniors may worry about their ability to get help quickly.

Thankfully, here in the Treasure Valley, there is an organization of professionals who serve seniors and solo agers contained in one space - LEARNIdaho. I found out about this organization in mid-Spring of 2023, and it took me one meeting to choose to become a member, as the purpose of LEARNIdaho is totally focused on those who are in their Golden years, and the members truly all come together to network for the benefit of seniors and solo agers in this area.

LEARNIdaho offers FREE technology courses at several local libraries as well as the Dick Eardley Senior Center in Boise. There are courses in how to use your iPhone or Android as well as how to spot Cyber scams and what to do about them. in fact, there are now a series of one minute videos that speak to ten different current scams.

Crimes, such as stealing someone's mail and gleaning it for checks that can be washed and the thief rewriting their name in the signature line, is something we all need to be aware of. The U.S.P.S. has asked people to stop placing their bill payments into regular mail boxes and take them directly to a post office to deliver. Another way to curb this is to use a gel pen to write out your checks and sign, as it can't be washed out like other types of pens can.

Elder abuse is a huge issue, as often times, the person who is doing the abusing may be a family member or caretaker, and the person who is being abused is afraid to let someone know. If you are in this situation, please reach out to a trusted friend or contact a Care Manager and let them know. There is an entire Youtube channel on Elder Abuse within the video library of LEARNIdaho, including how to go about reporting your situation to a professional.

Isolation - going through the experience of Covid-19 was a huge exercise in isolation, wasn't it? There are so many quality senior centers in this area, and they often serve meals. Why not venture out to meet others and see what they have available in the area of activities? In the last year, I have gone out to several of these locations to introduce myself and have lunch, and everyone is friendly and happy to see you! If you would like to volunteer to get your socialization, they are always looking for help!

Taking care of one's health is something we all should do. Besides, at this age, many of us qualify for free gym memberships! LEARNIdaho has an entire channel on the subject of health. Eating right, getting enough exercise, and good sleep are critical for this next part of our journey!

LEARNIdaho is a place and space devoted to the joys and challenges of aging, and for myself as a native Idahoan watching the changes of the past 10 years in the sudden very public exposure that this beautiful state hasn't ever experienced before, I often wonder if the specialness and spirit of what Boise and the surrounding areas will somehow continue to exist. Once I found out about LEARNIdaho and became a member myself, I believe that it is!

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