Solo Wise Handbook

Welcome to the Solo Wise Handbook. I hope that you get great value in utilizing this handbook to gather the information you already know and illuminate what you need to uncover to reach a state of “fearlessness”! 

“Action is the antidote to despair”

Joan Baez

Add Your Heading Text Here

(My Pathway towards Autonomy, Independence, and Peace of Mind)

For many people, starting their Action Plan is the biggest challenge. Let’s take the bull by the horns and begin this process together.  Remember that the plan will change over time!

Contact Beverly Bernstein Joie, MS, CMC

Author, Solo Wise 

My Board of Directors

  1. Financial Foresight and Preparation

My Financial Planner is:______________________________________________________________________________

Contact Information:________________________________________________________________________________


I need to identify a Financial Planner to review my finances

       Who can I ask to help me find a Financial Planner?___________________________________________________


My Financial Planner will help me to: (Please modify this list if needed)

     ▢ Understand my financial status

     ▢ Discuss the money I have available for care

     ▢ Review my financial allocation in my portfolio to determine if it is appropriate

  • Review my beneficiaries of finances and property

       ▢ Review contracts for retirement communities

Who are my financial beneficiaries? ________________________________________________________________

What else do I need my Financial Planner to help me with?____________________________________________

What is my biggest concern about finances?

        Write down all concerns:_________________________________________________________________________


Do I have Long Term Care Insurance?


        Benefits of the Plan and how to trigger it:__________________________________________________________


Who can help me plan if I am concerned about my ability to finance my future needs?


What attributes am I seeking in my Financial Board of Director? ____________________________________________


My net worth is:_____________________________________________________________________________________

My income is:_______________________________________________________________________________________




  1. Legal Preparation

My attorney is:________________________________________________________________________________

Contact Information:___________________________________________________________________________

I need to select an attorney who is either an Elder Law Attorney or Estate Attorney

Who can I ask to make this referral if I don’t have one?______________________________________________

I have a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and Finances

    Date of Inception:___________________________________________________________________________


Name(s) of person or people who hold this position_________________________________________________

I have a Will and a Living Will:

   Date of Inception:____________________________________________________________________________

I will explore a Physician Order for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) and discuss it with my doctor

    I will speak to my doctor by___________________________________________________________________

My Attorney will help me to:   (Add to this list if appropriate)

    ▢ Make sure my affairs are in order

    ▢ Maintain contact information on my power(s) of attorney both financial and health

    ▢ Planner, friend(s) on my Board of Directors

    ▢ Be available to review contracts related to Retirement Communities

  • Discuss my beneficiaries for my estate including IRA’s, investments, property, jewelry, pets, etc.



What other questions do I have for my Attorney? ________________________________________________________


What is my biggest concern about legal issues related to my Estate?

   Write down all concerns:______________________________________________________________________



What attributes am I seeking in my Attorney?______________________________________________________






  • Care Decisions: Aging Life Care Partners – Professionals and/or Friends

One of the most important members of your Board of Directors will be the person or persons who will accompany you through the aging process. This role will be ongoing and resemble the role of a surrogate family member who has reviewed your Action Plan in detail and knows you on an ongoing basis. They will be at your beck and call whenever the need arises.

My Aging Life Care Partner(s) (ALCP) is/are:_____________________________________________________________

My Aging Life Care Partner must have the following attributes:_____________________________________________


Contact Information of my ALCP:______________________________________________________________________

I have reviewed my Action Plan with them on (date)______________________________________________________

I will meet with my ALCP on the following schedule:





       Whenever needed______________

My ALCP’s Role will be to: (To Be Designed by You – examples are below) 

       ▢  Coordinate meetings with other members of my Board of Directors

       ▢ Come to my side 24/7 in case of an emergency such as hospital admission

       ▢ Work in concert with others who are serving the same role

       ▢ Understand the financial implications of this role whether paid or gratis

       ▢ Hold copies of my power of attorney, Will, POLST, Advance Directives

       ▢ Have a clear understanding of what I want and don’t want in terms of care

       ▢ Has a full understanding of my health history and is aware of my health providers

       ▢ Has the capacity to work with others on my Board of Directors

       ▢ May or may not be my power of attorney of heath care and finances

       ▢ Is chronologically assumed to be capable of carrying on the role over time

My Ideas about the Role of my ALCP:___________________________________________________________________


Should I consider an Aging Life Care Professional, friends, or both?_________________________________________


  • Housing Plans

Determining where to live is a key component of your peace of mind. The Solo Aging at Home Check-List will help you establish your readiness to determine what to consider about remaining in your current home.

The Solo Aging at Home Check-List:

  • Can my home be adapted safely and cost-efficiently should I develop a disability?
  • Do I have a support system and network of resources to help me age in my current home?
  • Can I afford at-home care?
  • Do I have a no step entry?
  • Do I have a one floor living design and/or a bathroom and bedroom on the first floor?
  • Are my hallways extra wide?
  • Do I have electric outlets and switches that can be accessed from a wheelchair?
  • Do I have lever style handles on doors and faucets?
  • Do I have a means for transportation if I am unable to drive?
  • Do I have a shower with grab bars rather than a bathtub?
  • Can I afford to remain in my current home and provide for the other services and modifications I may need in the future?

I have investigated the modifications needed to my home and have learned the following about the cost:

The cost to modify my home is approximately: ____________________________

The Village Movement is a non-profit member organization that includes comprehensive support and social involvement to help seniors remain in their homes.

Is my home within a village program community? ____________

House Sharing

This option allows seniors to safely share their home with another individual. 

I have researched this option via agencies within my geographic area and learned the following:

A Continuing Care Retirement Community:

I have explored CCRC’s and a Life Care Plan option.  Yes___      No_____

I have visited the following communities:


When Aging in Place Doesn’t Work

How will I know when you can no longer remain in your home? _________________________________________________________________________________________

Moving to a supportive care community

When does a move to an assisted care community make sense?

What have you learned about assisted care?

  What does assisted living care cost in your area?

  How will I judge the quality of an assisted care community?

  How will I know if I require an assisted living community vs. a nursing home?

  What are the criteria for a move to a nursing home in my state?


  What qualifies me for a nursing home?


  How do you judge nursing home quality?

Discovering Other Moving Options:

Will a move to a warmer climate make sense for me?

I have considered a move to be closer to family. If this is a possible option for you, what are my thoughts about it?


Moving Abroad and the Steps I Have Taken:

  • I have checked into local government taxes
  • I have rented in the region in different areas of the country
  • I have participated in online chat rooms for expats
  • I have considered the costs of visiting the United States and possible home sickness
  • I am comfortable with speaking English in a country with a different language. I am open to learning a new language.
  • I have researched age-related immigration laws and understand them.
  • I have newspapers and other local publications on my country of interest.
  • I have explored online sites with reports from expats related to life in my potential adopted country.
  • I am aware of the health care system and the criteria to benefit from it. 
  • I have a plan to tie up my life in the USA before I move.
  • Emotional Readiness

I have inoculated myself from loneliness by doing the following:

Who can I call when I’m feeling down?

What organizations do I belong to?

I belong to a religious institution and I participate in the following activities:


I have a psychotherapist/counselor. That person is:

I have a support group.  Who participates in my support group?


I have tried Telehealth.  Yes____      No_______

I believe that I have outlets for my emotional concerns, and I do the following:



       Mind/Body Strategies for Solo Pioneers

I exercise ________________times a week.

I participate in Mindfulness Meditation           Yes_____       No______

I drink about _____________ quarts of water each day? Two quarts are ideal. 

I have received the following immunizations:

Covid____   (How many?)





My diet consists of:

Fruits and vegetables_______

Plant based_________


Red meat______


Oils (what type of oil?)________

Are you on a specific diet regimen? _______    If so, what type of diet?_______________

How many hours of sleep to you get in an average night______________

If you are single, have you considered dating?_________________

My concerns about dating are:


Do you actively protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s)? _______________

Do you feel comfortable about avoiding scamming schemes?  _________

Do you engage in activities that bring you joy? If so, what are they?__________________

Have you implemented end-of-life planning?

Does your Board of Directors understand your end-of-life plan and have they been instructed how to carry it out?