The income helps her pay her utilities, gas and part of her mortgage — and enabled her to take a cruise, "something I never would have been able to do before," she says.Someone to watch over me Caregiving adds to the burden of aging alone — and it, too, typically affects women.Arthur Okner, a divorced, retired management consultant, owns a condo in a Boulder, Colo., cohousing community, where decisions are made by consensus. "Here, I belong to a community." Also on the rise are "villages," where older adults living on their own have access to vetted services, like home repair, as well as trips, lunches or evening events for an annual fee, 0 on average. Edith Heyck, 61, an artist from Newburyport, Mass., shared a condo for three years with another divorcee in her 50s."I enjoyed the companionship and it was a financial relief," she says.With the oldest of the 78 million boomers turning 85 in 2031, the government tab could be staggering.
"Keep in mind that many consequences of divorcing later in life revolve around one fact: less time to recover financially, recoup losses, retire debt and ride the waves of booms and busts," says Janice Green, an Austin, Texas, family law attorney and author of Divorce After 50.
Those living in the suburbs or a rural area with limited public transportation and social interaction have additional challenges.
Some singles who don't want to burden their children are creating their own support systems.
After her marriage of 32 years ended in 2008, Ellen Rittberg, 60, of Long Island, N. A year into the arrangement, her mom broke her pelvis; Rittberg decided to stay. "It is mutual love and companionship," says the mother of three and grandmother of two.
"I went from being embarrassed that I was living with my mother to feeling so lucky we're close, and that I can do this." Not everyone has family, can live with them, or wants to.