Dear Friends,

From the Tellez family to you and yours, best wishes for a healthy, safe and happy holiday! As you can see from the photo, my grandkids are growing fast and will be taller than me in no time! For now, I’m relishing the time to be with them and my sons and daughters-in-law. I am truly blessed to have them in my life.

At the same time, I am also aware that there are many people who are celebrating the holidays alone. A recent article by The New York Times noted that there are 26 million Americans 50 or older who live alone, nearly double the number in the year 2000. The age group comprising of baby boomers like me and Gen Xers makes up a bigger share of our population than at any time in our nation’s history. And not surprisingly, more than 60% of older adults living alone are women.

Living alone is not all bad. Indeed, many of us living alone are enjoying a time of independence from household chores/worries, are traveling more, and are spending our time and treasure doing the things we truly enjoy – from volunteering to exploring/mastering hobbies. The Times report that many older adults said they feel positively about their lives.

There is also research that people living alone tend to experience worse physical and mental health outcomes. They are generally lonelier compared with those who live with others. I certainly know of friends living alone whose physical health is deteriorating and would probably fare better NOT living alone.

I think aging is a continuum and a description of our well-being or our status will change and fluctuate over time. My sons are already making noises about my living alone and why I may need to change this as I age, and my physical health deteriorates. I accept that the future will hold interesting things for me – some good, some bad – and I will adjust accordingly. For now, I’m relishing this time in my life and am grateful for family, friends and colleagues who enrich my life beyond measure.

I will be traveling most of January, so I will not be writing you until February. Until then, you have my very best wishes for good health and happiness!