When my grandparents retired, they moved en masse to Florida, taking the car, the dog, and their entire circle of friends to the same anonymous strip mall town outside Pompano Beach. They watched each other’s grandchildren grow and compared notes over neatly divided egg salad sandwiches. They went to each other’s funerals and witnessed their wills. When my maternal grandmother, widowed in her fifties, needed to buy a new car or fix a leaky faucet, it was my paternal grandfather who stepped into the role. “But how?” my children asked recently. “Why was he there?” Because he just was. Because they all lived in the same building and checked on each other every day. My generation… isn’t going to Pompano. We are not going to wrinkle; we are not going to dine at the early bird buffet; and we are certainly never going to stop having sex. But what, then, do we do?
In 2010, there were 21.8 million women in the United States over the age of sixty-five. Fifty-eight percent of them lived alone.
— Debora L. Spar, Wonder Women, p. 224