Anthony S. Park, attorney, professional executor and best-selling author of "The Solo Ager Estate Plan.”
On his podcast, Anthony asked me during our ~20 min interview, Tips from the Founder of the Elder Orphan Facebook Group:
We are thrilled to have spoken with Carol Marak, solo aging advisor and advocate. Carol is the founder of the Elder Orphan Facebook Group, which launched in 2016 has almost 10,000 members. She also has a very successful YouTube channel called Solo and Smart and her book Solo and Smart, is slated for publication in 2021.
Carol attributes her seven years of family caregiving as how she learned to plan for the future. Between her and her two sisters, caring for their ailing and aging parents took almost all of their time.
Carol, a solo ager who does not have a partner or children started to wonder who was going to do the things for her that she did to help her parents. She does not have children to rely on as her parents did, and knowing the amount of care that they needed, she knew she had to plan her future and figure out what to do.
Not long after this realization, she launched the Facebook group. She wanted to know if there were others who considered themselves “elder orphans,” also referred to as those “aging alone.” She started by reaching out to news publications and was surprised to receive quite a bit of press. After that, the Facebook page started to take off, and that is when she realized that there are more people than she thought that are just like her.
Using US Census data, Carol learned that in 2010, 27% of individuals 65 and older live alone. These numbers are growing, and it’s believed that 2020 Census will have increased to 31%.
The Facebook group is for those 65 and older and without a spouse. You do not necessarily have to be childless, as some of those with children living far away are also considered to be aging alone.
The group is very resourceful, as most have ample of real-world experience and knowledge. They have many discussions about aging alone. For example, when a member posts a question, they usually receive 400+ recommendations! One bonus is that they do not allow politics or drama and there are over 30 sub-groups for specific areas, including New York.
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