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Helping People Age with Dignity

Women more likely than men to be single in their elderly years

Some seniors are married during most or all of their elderly years, while others are single during these years. A recent report indicates that women are more likely to be in the latter group than men are.

According to the report, married men make up around three-fourths of all male seniors in the 65 to 74 and 75 to 84 age groups and almost 60 percent of all male seniors in the over 85 age group. Meanwhile, the percentage of women who are married is 58 percent among women 65 to 74, 42 percent among women 75 to 84 and 17 percent among women over 85.

Why this difference? The higher average life expectancy of women and differences in remarriage likelihood between men and women have been put forward as likely contributors.

Now, single and married seniors alike can have a very fulfilling retirement. However, whether a senior is married or single can impact what sorts of issues can arise for them during their elderly years. For example, single retirees can face their own particular set of living situation, financial and heath care concerns. It can be important for a senior to properly address the unique issues their marital status raises during their retirement years.

This includes taking appropriate estate planning measures in relation to these issues. Whether or not a person is married can have an impact on what kinds of concerns they may have and what approach they may want to take when it comes to their estate plan. It could affect what they might want to do with a will and other estate planning documents. Experienced elder law attorneys can advise seniors on how they can address the unique concerns related to their individual circumstances, including their marital status, in their estate plan.

Source: The New York Times, “The Gray Gender Gap: Older Women Are Likelier to Go It Alone,” Paula Span, Oct. 7, 2016

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