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Do we really want to get old?
Old 05-09-2019, 02:37 PM   #1
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Do we really want to get old?

Spent the weekend visiting my FIL at a memory care facility.
The facility houses 50 patients. Its nice, clean and he is well taken care of.

Of the 3 days we were there, we were the only "kids" visiting. All the other patients were on their own in the secured building or in the care of personal aids.

They were former doctors, principals, retired military, business leaders, nurses, mothers, fathers.

If you think your kids will take care of you, I just saw 49 folks who would probably offer a contrarian view.

All the patients had stories that I am sure are now gone. I wondered as I watched them what they would tell us, if they could.

The one huge takeaway for us was we need to retire early as planned and get on with what we truly desire. I have seen what getting old looks like and I am having a hard time accepting that as my future.
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Old 05-09-2019, 02:52 PM   #2
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I'm with you COcheesehead. On a weekly basis, I am with older people who have severe dementia and I usually walk away saying - Time for me to retire before this happens to me, whether family visits or not.
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This is progress?
Old 05-09-2019, 02:54 PM   #3
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This is progress?

In my grandmother's generation, the "Old Folks' Homes" were depressing, but I don't remember people lasting there for years and years. The residents' other health problems typically took them out on the order of months, not years.

Now my own parents are in memory care. They've been there 2 years, although they have no idea how long. The place is considerably more comfortable, and the technology exists to keep them respirating and digesting almost indefinitely. Better food, better comfort today, but they know they're not in their own house any more, so I'm not sure they're any happier than they would have been in a 1970-era facility.
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Old 05-09-2019, 02:55 PM   #4
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We are with you too. Voluntary euthenasia comes to mine. Maybe we will move some place that allows it. But so far, so good, hopefully not for a while yet. I am not a member of our CC because every time I go there, it reminds me of what you stated in the OP., not quite but you know what I mean. I am 65 and feel like a kid when I go there.
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Old 05-09-2019, 02:59 PM   #5
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I saw same with DD years ago. I do not accept the conditions you describe above to be "living." I developed a contingency plan years ago to cease aging completely and permanently should conditions warrant said action. It doesn't involve a pistol or an exhaust pipe, but probably as efficient/effective.

Will I invoke that option someday? Only God and I know.
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Old 05-09-2019, 03:04 PM   #6
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my dad's last two years were pretty bad - he had spinal stenosis and had great difficulty getting around, and up/down off the toilet

thankfully he had LTC insurance
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Old 05-09-2019, 03:05 PM   #7
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When my ex-wife was dying of diabetes and a stroke, she ended up in a Medicaid nursing home. I went to visit her with DD and was literally shocked at the filthy and odorous conditions of the place. Tax dollars at work.

One thing that stuck with me forever was watching an old woman resident in an open lobby area leaving a message for her kids on the public phone. It went like this....."why don't you ever answer the phone or call me back?" You haven't visited me in over two years"......she was in tears making that call.
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Old 05-09-2019, 03:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by COcheesehead View Post
Spent the weekend visiting my FIL at a memory care facility.
The facility houses 50 patients. Its nice, clean and he is well taken care of.

Of the 3 days we were there, we were the only "kids" visiting. All the other patients were on their own in the secured building or in the care of personal aids.

The one huge takeaway for us was we need to retire early as planned and get on with what we truly desire. I have seen what getting old looks like and I am having a hard time accepting that as my future.
Growing old is not that fun as we have seen with our parents. Today my wife and I took my in-laws for an appointment with their dermatologist in Switzerland. The doctor and nurses commented that they were lucky to have kids that take care of them and even more shocked to learn that we fly over from Southern California to do so. We group their appointments over several days and we have seen so many frail elderly people alone by themselves waiting for their appointments. Many are mistreated by the medical system. Many are outliving their children and have nobody to turn to for support. The situation in senior homes is even worse and also the reason why my wife refuses to ever consider placing her parents in a senior home. We certainly don't want to end up in one. Who does? The best thing to do is stay fit an enjoy your early retirement by spending on what you enjoy doing the most.
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Old 05-09-2019, 03:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Do we really want to get old?
I can only speak for myself: so far it has been considerably better than the alternative.
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Old 05-09-2019, 03:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by COcheesehead View Post
Spent the weekend visiting my FIL at a memory care facility.
The facility houses 50 patients. Its nice, clean and he is well taken care of.

Of the 3 days we were there, we were the only "kids" visiting. All the other patients were on their own in the secured building or in the care of personal aids.

They were former doctors, principals, retired military, business leaders, nurses, mothers, fathers.

If you think your kids will take care of you, I just saw 49 folks who would probably offer a contrarian view.

All the patients had stories that I am sure are now gone. I wondered as I watched them what they would tell us, if they could.

The one huge takeaway for us was we need to retire early as planned and get on with what we truly desire. I have seen what getting old looks like and I am having a hard time accepting that as my future.
Yep. Carpe Diem. I saw my mother in a nursing home. She died there at 91 years. Her final 6 years were awful. She was slowly losing her memory. Not a pretty picture. I visited her almost every day, but many there never had visitors. I Always wanted to live until 100, but not so sure now
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Old 05-09-2019, 03:15 PM   #11
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I have seen what getting old looks like and I am having a hard time accepting that as my future.
Yes, that is the sad end of the continuum.

But we can also look at the other end, as recently posted here:
Longevity diet
Quote:
[The 105-year-old] Wooten still lives by herself, sends homemade birthday cards and loves to text on her iPhone. She roared through the roaring '20s, learned to drive on a model T and has lived in Del City since 1950.
We will all fall somewhere in between, but none of us knows where. One day at a time.
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Old 05-09-2019, 03:15 PM   #12
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Things are not as strict now, but back when my mom needed care if you needed more than the lightest assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) the state required you to go to a nursing home.

So Mom was in nursing homes, bed-ridden, most of the last decade of her life, unresponsive, total care.

I saw her almost every day, but noticed (as did the OP) even on weekends very few residents had visitors.

What kept my mom alive once bedridden was the repeated application of increasingly more powerful antibiotics.

So my health care POA is now very restrictive...i.e. in the event of dementia or other terminal illness, no antibiotics, period (oral, IV, etc.)
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Old 05-09-2019, 03:25 PM   #13
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A good friend of mine got early Alzheimer’s and spent a year and a half in a home. When her cancer came back I didn’t treat it and thankfully she died. The home was a hour away and we went every week and stayed all afternoon. Yes many never got visits.
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Old 05-09-2019, 03:54 PM   #14
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It’s upsetting to see elders whose families don’t visit. I truly thought it was an honor and privilege to visit every single day for hours and help care for my parents in their last months, even if it was just sitting holding their hand, gently rubbing lotion onto their dry skin, giving them a sip of water or a few ice chips. I miss them so much.
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Old 05-09-2019, 04:23 PM   #15
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It's sometimes said that old age is a place that everyone wants to get to but where no one wants to be. That's certainly been the case for my elderly relatives over the years. Some fared slightly better than others, staying pretty healthy and active into their mid-to-late 80s, but not a single one had lives much worth living in their final few years. They all ended up in nursing homes, bedridden and incapacitated by stroke or dementia, unable to do anything meaningful or even communicate a coherent thought. It was very sad to see. Makes me wonder why we all so desperately long to live into our late 80s, or 90s, or even to 100. I think we all have this fantasy vision of ourselves staying fairly healthy and surrounded by our loved ones up till the end, but the reality is far more grim and depressing in most cases.

But, honestly, what's the alternative? If I had been my great-grandfather, for example, who died at 93 but was totally incapacitated by a stroke at 91 and "lived" in a nursing home bed and wheelchair for his final years... would I have wanted to (or had the courage to) end it all via assisted suicide? I honestly don't know. I think for most of us, the survival instinct is so profound and deep, we're willing to endure almost any amount of suffering just to see if, maybe tomorrow, our condition might improve or might somehow be miraculously cured.
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Old 05-09-2019, 04:35 PM   #16
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One of my favorite things to say when leaving the company of a jerk:

“May you never grow old”
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Old 05-09-2019, 04:44 PM   #17
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One observation is that visiting someone in a memory care unit can be like deja vu. The patients don't remember you the next time, or 10 minutes later. Many are on so many drugs to control behaviour that they not aware of place or time or suroundings. They are fed, dressed, drugged, bathed, and bedded. Not a life I want to live.

My goal is to die scuba diving on some amazing reef!
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Old 05-09-2019, 05:01 PM   #18
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.....

But, honestly, what's the alternative? If I had been my great-grandfather, for example, who died at 93 but was totally incapacitated by a stroke at 91 and "lived" in a nursing home bed and wheelchair for his final years... would I have wanted to (or had the courage to) end it all via assisted suicide? I honestly don't know. I think for most of us, the survival instinct is so profound and deep, we're willing to endure almost any amount of suffering just to see if, maybe tomorrow, our condition might improve or might somehow be miraculously cured.
Yes, I've seen where a person is adamant they don't want heroic efforts to save them, and don't want to be a vegetable in the bed.. etc..

Then, when on the table dying, they are begging the doc to save them.. The doc said most people are like that in the end, but she followed the DNR instructions.

survival is a strong instinct.
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Old 05-09-2019, 05:02 PM   #19
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I remember a comedian making a joke about smoking. It went something like he didn’t care that it took 10 years off your life because “think about it, which years are those”. He may have a point. Live well now.
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Old 05-09-2019, 05:03 PM   #20
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these scenaria scare much more than the idea of the eternal dirt nap.
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