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Late and End of Life for Single Aros

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The title sounds a bit ominous but it is something I was thinking of lately. Perhaps some older members can pitch in on this.

 

I worry often that since I am aromantic and not particularly wanting of a permanent or live-in partner, when my parents inevitably pass and my good friends become attached I will not have anyone I can consider an emergency contact or who can help me when I am in need. As well, I do not intend on having children whom I can rely upon in any capacity.

This issue is likely also something non-aro singles (who do not have children) face.

 

I am wondering how one might go about choosing emergency contacts or people they can rely on at a later age, apart from marriage or partnership or children. Alternatively, are there ways to live as a single without such close people (i.e., through community programs or the like)? What are your ideas (or strategies, if you have encountered and solved this issue yourself)?

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Due to where I was previously working and other places where my family are working there was much interaction with older frail or dying people. The issues you speak about are quite common so most regions would have certain resources available, though it would greatly vary from place to place as generally it is something local and personal rather than a national programme. All the information I have is for specific regional areas of Australia so for peace of mind you should investigate locally to yourself. 

 

For general examples, you could have your neighbour as an emergency contact, or a godchild if you end up being a godmother/father to any of your friends kids, or even someone you have a friendly connection with like an accountant or gardener. Always with their permission first of course. If you truly want to live like a hermit in an anonymous apartment block and know no one you might have a problem as I think emergency contact advocates are appointed for victims of crimes only. 

 

For more critical things like power of attorney it can be bypassed in some cases by having a life plan registered with a healthcare service, many aged care services have some sort of option to write something up so that if you have a stroke or something they have your wishes written out. I believe that at any point you can go to your local hospital and fill out a 'do not resuscitate' form to be added to your file. It just takes planning ahead and knowing what you want. 

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This sort of scenario is not exclusive to single or aromantic people by a long shot, as evident by the apparent "loneliness epidemic" amongst the elderly including some of the plentiful baby-boomers. I find it hard to believe that aromantic lifestyles have much to do with this since only a tiny percentage of the elderly were never in a relationship let alone are aromantic. With perma-single people however they're a little more likely to end this way but remember not all are actually "lonely" and some willingly choose this path.

 

Losing friends, peers and family when you're much older is inevitable and it's perhaps only those who already have large and extended families or constantly put in effort to make new friends (regardless of age) that leave life surrounded by their people. Those like me however are already feeling "alone" because we're surrounded by people who make us feel alone. Now that's the problem.

 

In my case I have a few decades at least to worry about it but that's my problem and I couldn't care less at this point. At least people would stop expecting so much from me by then and maybe, just maybe, treat me with more respect....or at least leave me the hell alone. If I need help, I'll get professional help.

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I actually wonder if this might be one way alloromantics would benefit from the concept of queerplatonic relationships, in that the lonely elderly might be happier if moving in with and having a committed relationship with a friend was encouraged.  

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I don't think this issue is specific to aromanticism there's a lot of way you can have people close to you in your life that aren't your partner. I think you could still have friends when you're old even younger one. I know a lot of young people could see you as their grandmother of substitution. There's a lot of young people being close friends with older one because they see them like their grandmas that can tell them stories about the past and make them cookies or even being really energetic for their age. I'm personnally really terrified of old people but a lot aren't they find them sweet and cute like children (I'm scared of children too so I don't get it either). My mom (who's 47) is really close to an elderly woman that take dance classes with her for example. I'm pretty sure if this woman asked her she would be really glad to be her emergency contact even if she doesn't know her that much. 

If you stay nice and respectful I'm sure you'll find people to help you when the time comes x).

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Thank you all for your great responses! This issue definitely isn't something specific to aromantics, but I guess that sometimes I get bogged down by my label and start believing the "forever alone" stereotypes. Thank you for the encouragement and reminders that this isn't true. :)

Friends and acquaintances and even godchildren or caretakers are a great resource that I always seem to forget about. Our relationships are more plentiful than I give us credit for. And emergency contacts don't have to be reserved for very very close people, and I have more power in determining what happens in those cases than I thought I did, it seems, so that is helpful.

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Aww I'm glad you feel better now. And don't worry about the forever alone stereotype I think it's more of a danger for alloromantics actually because if they lose their partners and don't have some at the ends of time that probably would make them bitter at people and at life. They'll be sad or depressed about it and could reject other people that would want to approach them just to be friends. 

 

I know for a fact dying alone and by that it means dying single not alone in the sense you're afraid of is a huge fear of alloromanticsm. Last time my mom (who is married) freaked out when my dad said he wanted to be incinerated instead of burried. She said there was no point anymore in being burried if it wasn't to be next to his tomb. So you see their forever alone type of fear is kind of the next level. 

 

You don't have that, yeah you won't be in a relationship but you'll be cool and happy about instead of being depressed and feel like you're not worth anything because you're not with someone. That'll make you way more cheerful and able to focus on other forms of relationship like friendship easily. 

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That is a very good point! Losing a life partner is losing family. Singles may naturally form a network of support so if they lose someone important they can have others to lean on. I think that married people can still have that (especially poly people), but you may be right in that some would lose that important relationship and not be able to fill that hole.

We're not so different after all, which is nice to know. We can all support each other.

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Alas, we all die alone, even in a crowded room. As a life long single for 63 years I can honestly say all you can do is prepare yourself for the last trip in advance. I have pre-paid my own funeral. The ashes are someone else' problem, I will not care then. No matter how many friends and relations you have, they also have lives to lead and you will always be low down on their list of priorities. This true for even the closest of family and friends. Only if you live in the same house or a home with others will you be noticed when you die.

This is very depressing, but a simple fact of life. Not just or Aces and Aros, but for all humans whether sexual or asexual.

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Good to hear from someone who has lived it. I didn't even realize you can pre-pay your own funeral and arrange these sorts of things, but now that you've said it I'm only slapping my forehead going, "Duh!" Sometimes a simple statement will knock away my embarrasing naïveté, so thank you for that.

 

I think that your death may be low on the list of people's current priorities, and I definitely agree that other people have lives to lead as well and stresses to cope with. However, I have seen people come together at a moment's notice to grieve and celebrate a passed loved one's life. When it comes down to it, I've found that people will notice. Realism is healthy and there is for sure a depressing quality to knowing that people may not appreciate you while you're alive and only re-prioritize when something major happens, but I don't believe we die alone. Our connections make efforts to ease our passing, even if they don't do it explicitly. Being a friend, calling for a quick chat, and the little things that make life life are not helping plan and pay for end of life care and funerals, sure, but they probably help when we take that stuff on. Hope that made sense, I may be rambling again. A person is responsible so long as they're motivated to be. People motivate people pretty well, I find, so we tend not to live and die alone.

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While imho having children dramatically changes your outlook on these issues, IDK why romance even matters. You have a 50% chance to outlive your partner, after all.

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As an alternative to your thread, I think I could turn the tables. As people get older their world starts to turn outward. Friends reappear from the past after years with just a couple of long term friends. Just a couple of years ago I had 27 friends, some since school in the 60s. Now they are dying one by one, so much so that I have had to buy a black tie especially for these funerals.

My friends number 23 now and my mother, who is 85 is not very steady on her feet, but is still a feisty soul. 

I may end up out living them all, except my mother, she'll out live Cher.

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I think a lot of these issues apply to anyone who lives alone, for whatever reason.  Though aros do have some specific issues involving their friendships disappearing as their allo friends get married and start ignoring all other interpersonal relationships.  I'm in my 30s and most of my friends from college can't even be bothered to respond to texts or emails or Facebook messages any more, and I long ago gave up on ever trying to hang out with them, since most of them are too busy shuttling their children around and/or working 60+ hours a week.  Gender dynamics change as you get older, too.  Older men who have never married usually face a greater threat of isolation, since they are often seen as untrustworthy or dangerous (there's a twisted logic where observers assume that they must have never married because they are untrustworthy or unstable, otherwise they would have married, because clearly nobody would CHOOSE not to get married).  Older single women are often seen as vulnerable, and while this can draw predators, it also draws people willing to help, and it's easier for adult women to make friends, at least in the US.

 

As for issues regarding living alone, I started considering this in my early 20s when I first lived alone.  I fell off my bicycle one day and injured my knee, and during the night while I slept, the bruising became much worse.  When I got out of bed the next morning, the moment I put weight on that leg, the pain was utterly blinding.  I quickly found myself flat on the floor, and as I was wracked with searing pain, I noticed that my heart was racing and my skin was clammy and I felt freezing cold, and I thought I was going into shock.  I realized nobody would come looking for me for days or weeks.  My college friends had all graduated and moved away and hadn't bothered to stay in touch, and I'd made it very clear to my family that I was not interested in chatting with them every day the way they wanted me to.  Luckily, I didn't go into shock, and I was able to crawl to my phone and call an acquaintance I hadn't spoken to in months to come get me and take me to an urgent care facility.

 

But after that, I really thought for a while about how to handle this kind of thing.  I think it can be good to establish relationships with people who are willing to check on you if they don't hear from you, but also respect your privacy and need for solitude.  Ideally this person would be someone who also lives alone and you could reciprocate those actions.  I've met a number of divorced women in their 50s and 60s who often check on each other and help each other when issues arise.  Of course, all this requires establishing relationships with people who live near you who are willing to actually devote at least a little time to interacting with you regularly, which I've found to be damn near impossible in this suburban wasteland.

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On 22/03/2018 at 2:15 PM, Eklinaar said:

I fell off my bicycle one day and injured my knee, and during the night while I slept, the bruising became much worse.  When I got out of bed the next morning, the moment I put weight on that leg, the pain was utterly blinding.  I quickly found myself flat on the floor, and as I was wracked with searing pain, I noticed that my heart was racing and my skin was clammy and I felt freezing cold, and I thought I was going into shock.  I realized nobody would come looking for me for days or weeks. 

That is like one of my serious nightmares. This sort of (in my case very likely) possible event and my habit of going a bit mental when living alone means I will probably always be living with someone. Though last year or the year before I read a great heart-warming (to me at least) article about a lady in her late 60s who lives with 2 or 3 housemates/logers in a fancy part of Sydney. She becomes friends with most of her housemates, so there is always going to be a safety net of people around, plus with the people moving in and out her friend network grows. I guess as she gets older she will have to be more vigilant about not being taken advantage of, as I know a case of a lady befriending an older man just to get all his money and stuff (luckily the Will managed to be changed back before he got too infirm that she could have contested it)

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I too deal with this lonely problem because even though I want to have kids some day, one day they’re gunna grow up and leave the house and start their own lives but like everyone is saying it all boils down to dying alone whether you’re aromantic or not 

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