In a previous column I talked about two issues I hope our next president will address: The student loan crisis and prison reform that helps ex-offenders find work.

I’d like to add a third and equally important financial issue: Single seniors who face a financial future without caregivers.

Last week, I wrote about a report on single, childless seniors who may one day need long term care. They need someone they can trust to help them manage their care and their money.

So for last week’s Color of Money Question of the Week I asked two questions: If you’re a single senior are you concerned about not having anyone who can help you if you eventually need care? Do you have a long-term care plan?

Ann from North Carolina wrote, “I am an almost 70 year old life-time single. No kids. My plan is to move to a continuing care center in a nearby city. I have been on their wait list for 16 years. They are pricey, but lovely. I have deliberately lived way below my means for 20 years so I can fund the care I may need if I am fortunate enough to live sufficiently long to need it.”

One reader, like so many others, is concerned about her caregiving options. She wrote, “I am 65, married and have no children. We have long-term care insurance and long-term care medical directives on file with our physician. My younger brother is a secondary decision maker on the medical directive, but has his own health issues. There are two children from my husband’s first marriage. One does not live in the US. The other is an individual with disabilities for whom we are struggling to find a permanent situation. I do not know what we will do about money management. Neither one of us has a niece or nephew to whom we can turn. I have three nieces who will be responsible for two sets of parents and probably two childless aunts. Friends? They are our age and will struggle at the same time that we will. I see what is happening with my own mother, now 87. We will be okay as long as we are both alive and well. But, when it is only one of us? I worry about this a lot.”

Deborah Knowles of Laytonsville, Md.: “The world of the aging single senior looks quite dystopian when we consider all the warnings about things that can and probably will befall any one of us, and that we need to plan for! Yet as our time on earth runs out and our ability to make new memories and to ‘seize the day’ decreases, that time becomes more and more precious and feels like a most endangered resource. So, I don’t have anything but vague plans at this point, because quite honestly it seems overwhelming to try to cover everything that can go wrong as life goes on.”

Debby Abrams of Cincinnati: Single, child-less, living alone and 67. It sucks not having anyone you trust, who will remain healthy and young enough, to help care for you. It’s scary to have to rely on an impersonal organization. So my plan is to try to remain as independent, and in my home, for as long as possible. But I realize I don’t have a whole lot of control over that — other than eating right, exercising, keeping active, etc.”

Color of Money Question of the Week
I’d still like to hear from you if you’re a single senior. What’s your long term care plan? Send your comments to Please include your name, city and state. In the subject line please put “Single Seniors.”

Chat cancelled
I’m away but join me next week. In the meantime if you missed the chat last week here’s the transcript. My guests were answering questions about money and college students.
Color of Money Live: Financial sense for college students

Financial news you can use
Retirement columnist Rodney Brooks’ Monday newsletter this week:

Readers may write to Michelle Singletary at The Washington Post, 1301 K St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, or Personal responses may not be possible, and comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer’s name, unless otherwise requested. To read previous Color of Money columns, go to