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The number of adults who live alone is growing. Even those who have children cannot count on their help. The number of older adults who live within 10 miles of a relative has fallen significantly. When my guest Carol Marak was working in technology she returned home to be a caregiver for her parents. And she got a wake-up call. Who, she wondered, would help to care for her when she grew older? The struggles Carol’s parents faced were warning signs of what she could expect. Divorced and childless, Carol lived alone in a suburb. Caregiving for her parents required a massive effort involving three siblings and numerous professionals. That care could someday be needed for her—only she would not have family nearby to step up to the challenge.
Carol’s book Solo and Smart teaches people how to assess, discover, and plan—to gain control over how they want to live in the years ahead – not only how to age well but how to live well—by shaping the future they want rather than reacting to it.
Carol Marak joins us from Dallas.
Carol Marak is an Author, Speaker, Founder of the Elder Orphan Facebook Group, and former family caregiver. Her book, Solo and Smart, A Guided Roadmap for a Supportive and Secure Future is based on Carol’s own plan as a single senior facing aging alone. It was her caregiving experience that revealed what’s needed when looking ahead. Carol is a native Texan and lives alone in a highly active high rise in a Dallas urban area.
Carol has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, PBS, NPR, AARP, US News & World Report, the American Society on Aging, local newspapers throughout the U.S. and radio shows.
For More on Carol Marak
Solo and Smart, A Guided Roadmap for a Supportive and Secure Future on Amazon
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With the Freedom to Retire, Where Will You Plant Your New Tree? – Don Ezra
Retirement Planning Includes Getting Good at Getting Older – Rabbi Laura Geller
On Lessons From Caregiving
“My mother lived with several chronic illnesses and so their needs were very demanding. They really expected us to help them out because they did that for their parents. My parents were farmers and we lived in a rural community. So we just helped each other out as a family. And we were a very large family. However, once we started moving off going to college, that put a real dent in how we could share in those responsibilities. We tried to hire help, but they just wouldn’t have of it. So my sisters and I really ended up pitching in as best we could. And quite frankly, we did a pretty good job taking care of them. And my parents were very lucky to have three loving daughters. Unfortunately many of us don’t have that. =. So, once they both passed, I was out on a walk one day and I was thinking about my parents. I was missing them. I was crying. And then I started reflecting back on that experience of elder care and the demands of growing older and what that means, what that looks like. And then all of a sudden I just stopped and I thought, Oh my gosh, what am I going to do? I’m single. I have no children here. I am. I’m close to 55 years old, what will I do? And Joe, I tell you I was walking and it just stopped me in my tracks. I thought, Holy Moly, what am I gonna do? because it’s, it’s filled with so many complexities growing older. So that was my wake up call. And it was more than a wake up call. It was really more like a slap in the face. It’s like, get your act together. So that’s where it all started for me.”
On Her Core Message
“The core message from my book is to change your mindset from problem solving to possibility thinking- and then find a strategy that helps you evaluate the future risks that you potentially face, which will equip you with knowledge, power, and control.”
About Retirement Wisdom
Schedule a call to see if a 1-on-1 program or a small group Designing Your New Life program can give you an edge in your next chapter.
Visit retirementwisdom.com for tools and resources to help you retire smarter.
About Your Host
Joe Casey is an executive coach who also helps people design their next life after their primary career. He created his own next chapter after a twenty-six-year career at Merrill Lynch, where he was Senior Vice President and Head of HR for Global Markets & Investment Banking.
Today, in addition to his work with clients, Joe hosts The Retirement Wisdom Podcast, which thanks to his guests and listeners, ranks in the top 1.5 % globally in popularity by Listen Notes. Business Insider has recognized him as one of 23 innovative coaches who are making a difference.
He’s the author of Win the Retirement Game: How to Outsmart the 9 Forces Trying to Steal Your Joy coming this summer.
Intro and Outro voiceovers by Ross Huguet.