While the number of single adults is growing in the U.S., the number of Americans over age 65 also is on the rise.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that the number of older Americans increased by 18 percent, or 6.3 million, from 2000 to 2011. This trend is likely to continue, due in part to the aging baby boomer generation. Baby boomers also likely are contributing to the rise in U.S. singles. One in three baby boomers was unmarried as of 2012, the Center for Family and Demographic Research at Bowling Green State University found.
What does long term care look like for unmarried elderly Americans, and what different options are available? How do the needs of older singles differ from their married counterparts? What are the unique challenges faced by this growing demographic? How does marital status impact access to services such as Medicare and Social Security?
We explored these questions in a Twitter chat. Albert Terrillion (@selfmanage_sma) and Ramsey Alwin (@NCOAging) of the National Council on Aging joined the conversation, along with Eric Klinenberg (@ericklinenberg), a professor of sociology at New York University and author of “Going Solo”, which looks at the impact of the increasing number of people living alone.
Read a transcript of the discussion below.