The breakdown of traditional marriage and family over decades in America has led to Baby Boomers and Generation X to confront – and try to afford – living alone in their latter years.
Housing, healthcare, and personal finance are issues facing them.
There were just 13% of American households with a single person in 1960, and now that figure is more than double and approaching 30% – and among those 50 and older it is 36%, The New York Times reported.
There were 15 million Americans living alone in 2000 and now there are almost 26 million.
"There is this huge, kind of explosive social and demographic change happening," Baylor University sociologist Markus Schafer told the Times.
In addition to loneliness, there are mental health and even physical health issues that are leading to shorter lifespans for those living alone in their latter years, according to Schafer.
Also, America's aging population is doing with single life without children, making it an added concern of healthcare for those single seniors, according to the report.
Some aging singles are considering live communally.
"I've been talking to friends about end-of-life issues and how we might want to get together," Patrick McComb, 56, of Riverview, Michigan, told the Times. "Being alone till the end would not be the worst thing in the world. But I would prefer to be with people."
Also, economic difficulties have aging singles concerned they might never be able to retire.
"It's implausible that I'll ever be able to retire," Katy Mattingly, 52, an executive secretary who owns a three-bedroom house – and a mortgage – all to herself.
Then, the rapidly inflating housing market is making the old-time downsizing from single-family homes to condos less financially solvent.
"It’s more expensive to get a smaller condo than the single family you're selling — and that presumes the condo exists, which may not be the case," Harvard Housing an Aging Society Program Director Jennifer Molinsky told the Times.
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