Solo Agers, A 360 Perspective

(Top photo: left to right - Maria Carney, Carol Marak, Sara Zeff Geber. Not pictured: Wendi Burkhardt and Scott Moody)
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It’s two weeks since the ASAging.com conference in San Francisco and I’m happy to report the panel discussion was a success. We had standing room only and the monitor turned attendees away. Sorry folks if you missed the session, here are the highlights:


The Panelists

Sara Zeff Geber, PhD., Retirement Coach, and author of Essential Retirement Planning for Solo Agers.

Maria Carney, M.D., Geriatrician, and Research Scientist of the Elder Orphans, Hiding in Plain Sight study.

Wendi Burkhardt, CEO, Silvernest.

Scott Moody, Co-founder and CEO, K4Connect.

Carol Marak, Advocate and Founder, Elder Orphan Facebook group.

Key takeaways

Sara Zeff Geber - Lifeplan for Solo Ager

  • Have the conversations with relatives, friends, and spouse
  • Visit with Financial advisors to plan your retirement, Attorney to get legal documents in order, Fiduciary to make sure you have someone to take care of your finances in case you are not able, Insurance agents to see what types of policies will help you grow older to get proper care. Let your Physician know of your circumstances and visit once a year.
  • Put it in writing - Power of Attorney for Finances and Health care, Will and/or trust and an Advance directive for health care.
  • Explore the Options through research, visit potential communities, talk to people with experience.


Maria Carney, Geriatrician, M.D. - Elder Orphan Research

Aged, community-dwelling individuals who are socially and/or physically isolated, without an available known family member or designated surrogate or caregiver. Carney discussed the risks when aging alone and offered 10 Steps in Caring for an Elder Orphan:

  1. Identify All Medical Issues
  2. Identify Cognitive and Functional Abilities
  3. Obtain Detailed Social Support Information
  4. Create a Manageable and Realistic Treatment Plan
  5. Utilize Service Delivery to Home
  6. Make Safety and Injury Prevention a Priority; Address Safety and Injury Issues
  7. Address Goals of Care and Advance Directives
  8. Understand Privacy Issues (HIPAA)
  9. Assess Decision-Making Capacity and Involve the Individual as Much as Possible
  10. Determine If Guardianship Is Needed, and If So, Seek It.

Wendi Burkhardt, Silvernest

Burkhardt identified the burdens that solo agers face:

  • Big expenses
  • Little savings
  • Isolation

Solution? Shared economy services like Silvernest, a roommate matching service for baby boomers and empty-nesters.

Scott Moody, Co-founder and CEO, K4Connect

K4Konnect creates connected-life solutions that serve and empower older adults and people living with disabilities.  

Apps and technologies to:

  • Make a smart and responsive homes to create independent lives
  • Connect wellness devices to enable healthier and active lives
  • Create social connection to enable happier and connected lives

Carol Marak, Advocate, Founder, Elder Orphan Facebook Group

Raising awareness of the challenging older adults face when living alone. Top concerns:

  • Affordable housing
  • Finding rides especially to and from the medical treatments
  • Making tough medical and health decisions when alone
  • Social isolation and little support

That’s a quick re-cap of our presentation. The attendees walked away with a fresh awareness of the older segment hidden in plain sight.

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