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Old 06-04-2011, 05:37 PM   #21
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If that's how well those two did without modern technology, then imagine how much further we could get in this century with automatic billpay, Meals on Wheels, grocery delivery, and other Internet services. Look at in-home independent-living systems like iHealthHome (iHealthHome Program). You'd never have to leave the house until the ISP pulled the plug.
Interesting. But not being a very trusting sort, I'd be more comfortable with a more automated system that didn't depend on a trusted caregiver, whose interests might not exactly jibe with mine.
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Old 06-04-2011, 05:55 PM   #22
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Great Topic. I have been enjoying this forum while lurking over here in the corner and now it is time to join in.

What do we childless people do when we are in our 80's or 90's (still 20 plus years away) and not competent to handle our affairs? My father had my brother and me to take care of things for him for the last 4 years of his life. He was in skilled nursing care but we made sure the bills were paid, his worn out clothes replaced and his care was what it should be.
I think this is an important question.

I don't think that the issue is so much whether people who didn't have children will miss it or whatever. However, there are two issues that do come.

One is the issue you raise. I think of my mom. She is a widow and most of her siblings (and even old friends) have died off. She is 87 and still lives on her own and drives. She still has some a sibling she is close to (and another who rejected to family awhile back). But that sibling is now getting into her 80s as well.

The thing is that my mom still has me. She has a standing invitation to move in with us (250 miles away so she doesn't like the idea) and I will help her when she needs help. If I wasn't there and her sister couldn't help her she really would not have much of a support system.

And I could think I would be even worse off. My mom at least has nieces and nephews who could provide some limited help perhaps. But I was an only child. My DH is 7 years older than me so who knows what the future will bring. But I do have children who at least could be some help. It would be scary to me to 20 years from now have no immediately family.

The other issue is social isolation. Many people with no kids have lots of other family and friends. Others don't. And for those who are a part of a couple, it is extremely likely that one day only one person will be left. Children don't necessarily mean there is no social isolation but, on average, I'm sure it helps. And people may think that they have a lot of friends, but then like my mom often those friends start dying off as well.
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Old 06-04-2011, 06:44 PM   #23
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When my wife and I married in 1992, we just sort of assumed the "kid thing" would happen eventually. But years passed, it didn't happen, and at some point we decided we liked our life configuration just as it was. We realized we always wanted to be each other's #1 in life, and we worried that children could jeopardize that or give us reason to argue about stuff when we talked about child rearing. It was at that point when we realized it probably wasn't for us.

Will we at some point miss seeing grandkids grow up, or someone to help us as we grow old and perhaps ill? Maybe. But I refuse to live with regrets about what's done and instead try to concentrate on what lies ahead. As I said to my wife the other day on our 19th anniversary, "the best is yet to be."
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Old 06-04-2011, 09:06 PM   #24
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Interesting. But not being a very trusting sort, I'd be more comfortable with a more automated system that didn't depend on a trusted caregiver, whose interests might not exactly jibe with mine.
It'd be nice to have that choice, wouldn't it?

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When my wife and I married in 1992, we just sort of assumed the "kid thing" would happen eventually. But years passed, it didn't happen, and at some point we decided we liked our life configuration just as it was. We realized we always wanted to be each other's #1 in life, and we worried that children could jeopardize that or give us reason to argue about stuff when we talked about child rearing.
At some very late hour of the evening a few months after our fussy high-needs daughter was born (and was still not sleeping), my spouse and I had the "Wanna have another?" conversation.
Me: "Yeah, but what if #2 is just like #1?"
Spouse: "What if #2 is worse?"
Me: "Never mind. Good night!"

Funny thing back then. In order to qualify for the Navy's free vasectomy you had to have at least two kids or get a doctor's waiver. I brought our daughter to her pediatrician, asked him if he wanted another patient like that, and had my waiver in about five minutes.

Today we brag on our daughter all the time, and life looks pretty sweet in hindsight, but spouse and I know that we both deliberately dodged a bullet.

You really know when your family is the right size. Or, in the case of multiple births, when you've overshot the mark...
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Old 06-05-2011, 12:20 AM   #25
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Thanks for the responses. Very insightful responses indeed which are all helpful. I only felt a bit concerned when I had to check myself into the hospital for surgery (as DH was not available and I did not want to impose on my friends). It was only then I started thinking my parents always had one of their children (if not all) with them in their surgeries. As one of the members raised above on the matter of 'last one standing', I always assume it would be DH as he has better genes than I do. I don't worry about that too much but I guess some sort of "my wishes on how to live my life when indisposed by age" has to be written out and either DH or one of my siblings will have the power of attorney.
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Old 06-05-2011, 06:36 AM   #26
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...has to be written out and either DH or one of my siblings will have the power of attorney.
And if you have neither?
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Old 06-05-2011, 09:25 AM   #27
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In worst case scenarios I have seen people who become incompetent to manage their own affairs (and lack any willing and able informal supports) get court appointed guardians, either a government agency or a private firm contracted to do so. Believe me, they are very closely monitored by the courts and everything that needs to be done for the person is done to keep them safe with compliance to the letter of the law. Some referrals come from the hospitals who cannot discharge the person safely back into the community after an admission. The hospitals hate to do this as it costs them money in legal fees so you know it is a dire case when the hospital petitions the court.
I cultivate my friendships with my handful of very close female friends and try to do favors for them when possible. They do the same for me. If I needed someone to take me for a medical test, it is no problem, and if I needed someone to stay with me short-term here at home for some reason, I would have a couple of volunteers at the ready. My two closest friends are listed on the HIPAA forms as emergency contacts at any doctors I visit and also at the local hospital (my son is the third and last resort ).
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Old 06-05-2011, 09:53 AM   #28
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I cannot begin to imagine how lousy and miserable my life would have been had I followed the so-called "life script" and had kids. I would lose all the things I so much treasure by being childfree, starting with my early retirement.
Tell us how you REALLY feel!!!
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Old 06-05-2011, 09:57 AM   #29
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A lot of good comments. I was not even thinking of the problems some have encountered with aging loved ones who became obstinate and did not want to move, quit driving, take medications, etc..


It goes without saying that we will need all of the usual legal documents like a will, POA, and living will. My concern is about who will execute my wishes and what controls can I put in place to see that I am not 'ripped off'.


My DW and I have been involved with our fathers and a brother-in-law as their lives ended and those experiences have shaped my current concerns. My father-in-law set up a trust with his local small town bank where he was known. By the end of his life the small bank had been gobbled up by a mega-bank who knew nothing about him. He had a new trust officer every 12 to 18 months and none of them seemed very knowledgeable or competent. Mega-bank started double dipping with investment fees until my bother in law and I both questioned them about it. They did not agree that they were doing anything wrong but the Trust did get a rebate of some fees from then on. My DW's father would have been paying the extra fees if we had not stepped in.


My single brother-in-law had a serious accident which left my DW in charge of his affairs for several years until his death. She handled them as he wished but there was no oversight of her actions. He also had a trust that she managed and distributed after his death. All of the assets went to schools and charities. None of the recipients ever asked for any kind of an accounting to verify that they really did get their share. I am not surprised that they did not question it and it would have been a pain for DW if they had. But again the question: How can we put controls in place to be sure our wishes are carried out.


My father also had a trust. My brother and I became the trustees upon his death. After my father's death FIDO needed paperwork to set up a new account and then make distributions according to the trustees. We had to get the Gold Star(?) stamp on the paper work so we headed down to MegaBank 2 where my brother had an account. The bank officer verified my brother's identity, told us about all the security precautions the bank had to take with the stamp, and then stamped the paperwork. She never checked my ID. My brother could have taken anyone in with him. Then he could have done anything he wanted with the trust assets.


Bottom line: What controls can we put in place to see that our wishes are carried out while we are alive and after we are gone especially in light of the fact that the people we choose may not be around to take on the responsibility.
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Old 06-05-2011, 10:07 AM   #30
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Then again, there of us who have "adult children", but must make plans for their future, along with ours - before and after we're gone.

Having "special needs" kids is an entire other subject - and I don't want to derail the thread.

However, those of you that have children (to look after your affairs), and those of you who have no children (but have looked to other alternative means to answer your needs in old age), count yourselves as "blessed" - or at least very lucky in life...

I/DW know...
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Old 06-05-2011, 10:43 AM   #31
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I cultivate my friendships with my handful of very close female friends and try to do favors for them when possible. They do the same for me. If I needed someone to take me for a medical test, it is no problem, and if I needed someone to stay with me short-term here at home for some reason, I would have a couple of volunteers at the ready. My two closest friends are listed on the HIPAA forms as emergency contacts at any doctors I visit and also at the local hospital (my son is the third and last resort ).
This is so important as we age . I have my SO but I also have several female friends that I can count on and they can count on me . I can always count on my daughter but she lives a distance from me .
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Old 06-05-2011, 10:58 AM   #32
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There are two sides to every coin. I know people who have kids that have been an absolute joy, and those for whom their offspring have been a trial, even in adulthood. I like to think that I would have done a reasonable job of parenting but who knows? I didn't make a decision not to be a father, but it didn't happen and although I occasionally wonder what it would have been like, the wondering doesn't last very long. I'm sure that parents occasionally muse as to what it would have been like for them had they not had children.

We only have one life to live and whatever we do, things work best if we look at life the way it is, forge ahead, and enjoy.
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Old 06-05-2011, 11:00 AM   #33
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This is so important as we age . I have my SO but I also have several female friends that I can count on and they can count on me. I can always count on my daughter but she lives a distance from me .
This is always more difficult for men, especially married men. If a married man loses his wife late in life, too often there goes his support system, other than children.

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Old 06-05-2011, 11:11 AM   #34
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This is always more difficult for men, especially married men. If a married man loses his wife late in life, too often there goes his support system, other than children.

Ha

Unless he lives in a 55 plus community . Then the neighbors usually rally around and help each other and if he's looking for female companionship he has his pick of many women bearing casseroles in search of male companionship.
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Old 06-05-2011, 11:23 AM   #35
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Unless he lives in a 55 plus community . Then the neighbors usually rally around and help each other and if he's looking for female companionship he has his pick of many women bearing casseroles in search of male companionship.
Good point, some churches also are this way I believe.

Ha
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Old 06-05-2011, 11:49 AM   #36
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Not sure what these women want the men for, since we have been told (in other threads) that women who are post-menopausal, lose their interest in sex! Maybe there could be some exceptions? Anyway, I can't see chasing some old codger around with a casserole, just so he can open jar lids that are too stiff for my hands

But this isn't helping the OP. To his question, I cannot offer a good answer. I don't know how one ensures that non-family will treat an infirm person honestly, intelligently, and compassionately. I have heard that wealthy families "retain" a law firm to look after their interests, but I suspect the "retainer" has to be very large, and the "history" with the firm rather long, to ensure quality.

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Unless he lives in a 55 plus community . Then the neighbors usually rally around and help each other and if he's looking for female companionship he has his pick of many women bearing casseroles in search of male companionship.
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Old 06-05-2011, 12:03 PM   #37
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Not sure what these women want the men for, since we have been told (in other threads) that women who are post-menopausal, lose their interest in sex!

Amethyst
Companionship with someone of the opposite sex perhaps? Even at my age (late 40's) companionship is the much more important reward of having a close female friend.
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Old 06-05-2011, 12:18 PM   #38
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Not sure what these women want the men for, since we have been told (in other threads) that women who are post-menopausal, lose their interest in sex!
As the Brian Jack zydeco song goes, believe none of what you hear, and half of what you see. So unless you have been naughty with some older couples, you'll just have to wait and see for yourself I suppose. Et toi!

"People always talk about what they heard, unless you see it for yourself don't believe a word.."

Ha
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Old 06-05-2011, 12:23 PM   #39
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I must google that song...what a wonderful line!

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As the Brian jack zydeco song goes, believe none of what you hear, and half of what you see.

Ha
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Old 06-05-2011, 12:28 PM   #40
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I must google that song...what a wonderful line!
The name is None of What You Hear, by Brian Jack and the Zydeco Gamblers. I bought the CD from the band, at a great zydeco festival in Sparks Nevada in 2001. This song really brought down the house, because the rumors were of course flying that weekend! I haven't been able to find it online so that I could link it.

Hey, here is a short sample from this very CD.

Give Me Some Room None of What You Hear by Brian Jack @ ARTISTdirect.com

Ha
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