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I'm afraid

Saturday, June 09, 2012

I've been spending an undue amount of time worrying about growing old. My Sparkfriend, Rextine1, makes it look pretty good. However, closer to home there is my mother-in-law and the parents of some of my friends.

A few years ago the dear lady started to exhibit faulty thinking. She was convinced that her house was frequently being broken into. She had homeless people hiding out in the basement (crawl space, actually). She was calling the police often enough that late one night an officer called us and said that something had to be done about this situation. So, the extended family started staying nights with her. Now this was spread out over several children and grandchildren, but it still became "too much." The primary burden fell to WH's sister. She started pressing to have her move into "assisted living." It took a while to convince Mom to go along with this. We finally played along with her fears and assured her that she would be safer there.

Frankly, the sister, primary care giver, thought that she wouldn't last a year. Unfortunately, physically, she's fairly healthy. After about a year, it became evident that there were not enough assets to keep her there any longer. So she was moved back into her home and the family started rotating nights with her. It only took two weeks to decide that this was NOT going to work, so another placement was found for her.

So when I'm forgetful, fail to understand something, or misinterpret information, I start seeing myself being on this road to dementia. Unlike Mom, we only have one child and so far no grandchildren. Providing care for me is a burden I would not want to lay on my daughter (or anyone else for that matter.)

So we have thought about moving back to the small town where I grew up with the assumption that the community folks look out after each other. But the problem I have with that is I haven't only moved a long way away physically, I've moved even further intellectually, politically, and morally.

I'll probably offend someone here, but these are the views that would get me in trouble. I support universal healthcare. (OMG, I'm a socialist!) I believe a woman ought to have the right to choose to have an abortion. I hate guns. I think we ought to take "under God" out of the pledge of allegiance. One nation, indivisible, seems like a worthy goal to me. I oppose the death penalty. I support "civil unions" for gays. I think we need protection, as a society against corporate greed and corruption. The environment needs greater consideration than mining, forestry, ranching, and big business. Call me a tree hugger.

I'm 61. I need to think about how the retirement years are going to look. Right now, I'd like to think that the status quo will continue forever.

It's enough to drive me to a cookie binge. That would fix everything, I'm sure.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I agree with all of your opinions, but I don't think just getting away from a small town will keep you from finding a lot of people who disagree - they're everywhere. Also, being 61 isn't a magic age to worry about old age - I did when I was four or five, again in my teenage years, and for a while in my 40's. Now it's too late to worry - just keep thinking you're good for another 20 years (for sure), and probably a lot more. Some people don't make it, but then they don't have to worry any more.

    I have worked out that in the limit, if one of us winds up in a nursing home we can go for 8 to 11 years before medicare steps in and starts eating up the value of the house because we don't have long term care insurance, and in the end there will be an end. Until then, enjoy the ride.
    2171 days ago
    Having a cookie will not fix the world but once and while it is worth a try. emoticon emoticon
    2172 days ago
  • SAMI199
    2172 days ago
    I'm with you on the health care issues entirely, not to mention the other social issues you mention.

    My grandmother had Alzheimer's. I sometimes worry about this, but have mostly chosen to actively fight against it by keeping both my mind and my body active, getting enough fish oil, etc. Once, when I was worried about being forgetful (and I am very disorganized) I asked my doctor about it. She told me that losing or forgetting my keys was not a sign of a deteriorating mind, just a preoccupied mind. If I didn't know what keys are for, then that would be a warning sign. I like this way of looking at it.

    My mother, like so many older people, got quite paranoid toward the end. It was both sad and frustrating to deal with. My father, who was physically active all of his life had a sharp mind right up the the end.

    We baby boomers will likely not have the kind of health care options that our parents had. We will likely need to rely on our own resources more. I will not have financial resources worth speaking of once I retire, so what I will have to rely on are my physical resources. What can we do? We can approach aging by being strong physically and mentally. Keep learning new things, learning languages is one of the recommended brain enhancers. Make friends with people younger than yourself so your own youthful energy can be kept lively. Play sudoku. Eat well. Keep bones strong. Keep a positive attitude.

    In the end, we cannot predict the future; only make assumptions. The best thing we can do is to live each day richly, be good to ourselves, and love the people we share our lives with. Prepare for the future - Yes! Worry about it? Not so much.

    2173 days ago
  • COCHESE321
    Two years ago I quit my career in order to take care of my parents. I have no retirement and relatively no savings. I am 60 years old and wondering what will happen after Dad goes and I have to support myself again.

    But this will take care of itself. There was no doubt in my soul that I did the right thing in leaving my career. So it will work out.

    I, too, believe in universal health care. I lived in Canada too long to not. I believe in equal marriage rights for everyone. I, in short, am an aging hippie.

    Things will work out for you. One way or another. I am reminded of Desiderata:

    And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

    Naive? Probably. But that's me.

    2173 days ago
    You have not given up on yourself. You now know you are the only one that can make it happen for you.

    You have the power to succeed or fail.

    You have chosen to succeed.

    Few baby steps complete a long journey

    Writing is progress!!!

    Janet- emoticon
    2173 days ago
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