Embracing Solitude: The Soloist's Guide to a Fulfilling Retirement

Retirement Planning   |   By HumanGood

older man gardening outside

In the United States, 27% of people over the age of 60 live alone. While some are alone not by choice, many relish their solitude. Solo aging puts you in the driver’s seat, giving you full control over the direction of your life. It also poses some challenges. You won’t have anyone else to help financially, so thoughtful planning is key.

Humans are social creatures (even those among us who prefer lots of alone time), and social connections are among the most important predictors of well-being. Soloists need to balance the quiet solitude of a peaceful retirement with the need to connect with others. This can be challenging — especially for those who prefer not to spend a lot of time planning social events. But a Life Plan Community can make a quiet, reflective life enriched with just enough social connection a reality. 


Finding Community in Solitude 

We are each unique beings with a complex and ever-shifting set of needs. For some people, plenty of alone time is vital to recharging. Others have hobbies that demand a lot of commitment and leave little time for big parties and social connections. 

But no one wants to be fully and completely alone. Relationships are so integral to the human experience that, without them, our health can languish. Research consistently shows that a variety of connections are a key predictor of well-being. One of the longest-running studies on adult health, The Harvard Study of Adult Development, found that our relationships are more important to our health than any other single factor. 

Life Plan Communities make it easy to connect with others on your own terms. With plenty of events and enticing amenities, it’s easy to meet new people.

“What I value most are the close friendships we have made. We have so much respect for one another and know that we can rely on our neighbors to help if needed,” Rod, who lives in the Hillside community with his wife, Leila, said. “This is the nature of how a community works.”

Learn about what life is really like at a Life Plan Community by hearing from  real residents. >> 


Building the Retirement That Suits You 

A quiet retirement can mean lots of different things. For some, it’s a chance to focus on solo activities, such as gardening, painting or reading. For others, it’s about slowing down the pace of a busy life to finally enjoy some quiet relaxation — and to literally stop and smell the roses. 

For Vivian, a resident of Regents Point, writing was vital to a good retirement. “I had to write,” she said. “Writing was my therapy.” 

Now, every day, she has a beautiful and inspiring home that’s picture-perfect for writing. 

A Life Plan Community offers a vast range of amenities and options that can adapt to your needs, including as those needs change. Many residents love the peace of mind that comes from knowing they can live alone without feeling lonely and that help is readily available if they ever need it.

As you map out your retirement, it can help to ask yourself a few illuminating questions to ensure your retirement will live up to your dreams: 

  • What are my three most important goals for retirement? 

  • What does my ideal level of socialization look like? 

  • What are my biggest sources of stress, and how might the right living environment mitigate these stressors? 

  • Do I have anxieties about solo aging? What can I do to reduce those fears? 

  • What amenities and activities are most important to me? 

  • When I picture my ideal lifestyle and living arrangement, what do I see? 


Creating Your Own Sanctuary 

Forget about retirement communities that offer a handful of structured activities based on myths about aging. No two people seeking a quiet retirement are exactly alike, and in Life Plan Communities, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all retirement. Residents can build their own sanctuary as they define it. 

For Danny, a resident of Westminster Gardens, the parklike setting was the initial draw. He gazed out the window to see verdant green space and lush trees. 

“I was captivated,” he said. “I thought this could be a good place for a big-city boy to learn about planting crops or raising chickens and bees.”

Maybe you’re like Danny and relish access to lots of green space. Or perhaps you prefer to spend your time in your personal library and occasionally meet with your book club. Many residents view their home as a personal sanctuary that’s part work of art and part cozy launching pad for their dreams. 

Life Plan Communities offer a variety of living options, amenities and home sizes, so you can choose the perfect home for you. Safe and walkable communities make it easy to get out and enjoy the world, and these communities come with tons of amenities, such as delicious food, pools and fitness centers, and thoughtful design.

Nourishing, healthy meals can reduce stress and give you back more of your time to focus on whatever you love most. And a maintenance-free lifestyle means no more long to-do lists filled with tasks you would rather avoid. 


Balancing Social Connections and Personal Space 

One of the biggest struggles of solo aging is balancing the need for social connections and personal space. Let’s face it: Building relationships takes time and effort, especially if you’re committed to nurturing the kind of nourishing, meaningful relationships that make life truly worth living. 

The primary benefit of a Life Plan Community is that it removes the work of nurturing connections. Friendship is readily accessible just outside of your door whenever you want to seek it out. 

The Terraces of Boise has freed Tom and Mary to focus on their beloved dog and myriad hobbies while still nurturing lifelong connections. 

“There is always something going on here, which we absolutely love,” Tom said. “Every day is different; sometimes, we sit in the bistro and talk with other residents — who always have a good story to share — or attend social hour. Or there are times when we just want a quiet moment alone. We both love to read or tend to our vegetable garden.”

You, too, can create connections that feel nourishing rather than exhausting while still enjoying lots of privacy and quiet in a space that feels uniquely yours. A rich array of activities, welcoming spaces and special events of virtually every variety make it possible. 


What Is Life Really Like in Life Plan Communities? 

Solo aging can be whatever you want, and it can change as your needs shift. No matter who you are or what you’re into, you can build a beautiful life at a Life Plan Community. And you may connect with other people who share your loves — including your love of solitude. 

Eager to learn more? Want to see what everyday life is really like for residents? Check out our new guide, “‘Just Who Lives in Those Places?’ A Look Inside Our Residents’ Lives.

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