According to the prevailing cultural narratives, single people in later life have two big things going against them: They are single and they are old. Now focus on the older single women and you have the trifecta: They are single, they are old, and they are women! If conventional wisdom got its way, they would be doing terribly. But guess what? They are not. There are real challenges, for women and men, to aging in an ageist and singlist society. Considering what they are up against, it is remarkable how well older single people are doing.

Here are some writings about single people in later life, starting with what we know from research and continuing on to the stories meant to scare us about living single when you are old. Then there is a section on the actual challenges, as opposed to the exaggerated or made-up ones. Happy reading!


Older single people are faring better than most people expected: The evidence

Lifelong Singles in Later Life: Stereotype-Defying Findings

No partner, no worries

If you are single, will you grow old alone? Results from 6 nations

Women who stayed single, no kids, in their 70s: How are they doing?

In later life, people who stayed single do better than the divorced or widowed

Single life gets even better with age


How single people live when they get older

Aging on your own: 5 things you may not know

The huge mental health advantage of 21st century seniors

How are older Americans living – and how do they want to live?

Older people living alone: What’s the one way men do better than women?

Know your seniors — especially the single ones! (demographic profile, including finances and living alone)


Scare stories about people who live alone in later life: What’s that about?

Elder orphans: A real problem or a new way to scare singles?

The stunning appeal of a story about a man who died alone

Who gets spooked by stories of older people dying alone?

A contrarian’s view of dying alone: Guest post by ‘Think Again’

My fear  is that I won’t die alone!

Dying alone is not a character flaw: Ann Neumann’s brilliant article in The Baffler

Loneliness is bad, but have we gone over the edge with our scare stories?

Single people aren’t to blame for the supposed epidemic of loneliness, and neither are people who live alone


Beyond stories meant to scare singles: The real challenges of living single in later life

Older singles, will you get to live alone if you want to? Maybe not, if Social Security gets cut

Nearing retirement and nearly broke: Economic discrimination against singles adds up

What happens when you are single, living alone, and incapacitated for months?

How the medical establishment can make things needlessly difficult for single people


Other discussions of single life when we are not so young anymore

Kay, Kate, and the single ladies: Different experiences of single life across the generations

Single after 40 and single again: Discussion with psychotherapist Wendy Wasson

Longevity lessons from the oldest person in the world

Single, No Children: Who Is Your Family?

Chapter 11 in Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After

Chapter 7 in How We Live Now: Redefining Home and Family in the 21st Century







Single, No Children: Who Is Your Family?


How We Live Now: Redefining Home and Family in the 21st Century

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