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How long do you expect to be active and healthy?
Old 09-10-2012, 09:02 AM   #1
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How long do you expect to be active and healthy?

Reading comments in another thread about social security benefits got me thinking about this topic...

The reality is that most of us will not live to be 90, or even 85 (I recall the average life expectancy is about 80). Also, the reality is that most older people start having health problems for years before they die, which limits their mobility and ability to be active or even self sufficient...very few people die at the age of 90 while mountain climbing! For example, you may live to be 85, but you may be confined to your home for the last 5 years by illness, or dementia.

So that leads me to my question...how long do you plan on having an active and independent life? In your experience, how long did your family members or friends live while still being active and independent? If the average life expectancy is 80, I'm sure the average active life expectancy is less than that.
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Old 09-10-2012, 09:24 AM   #2
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And I'm not clear on the value in trying to draw a line as related to WR. If anything, our lives may well be more costly in the last few years of life.
I am not trying to draw a line as related to WR, although I do see them as related in my mind. I understand that health issues can be costly, but I don't want this thread to become a debate about health care costs or nursing home costs.

I want to keep this thread focused on the simple question of how long you expect to remain active and healthy. You can define those terms any way you wish. I define them as being able to safely leave the house and drive and travel without assistance, and still having the desire and energy to leave the house and do things without assistance.
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Old 09-10-2012, 09:29 AM   #3
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But, the reality is that most of us will not live to be 90, or even 85 (I recall the average life expectancy is about 80).
Have to be careful with statistics like this... although the average life expectancy may be 75-80 years for a newborn. The older you get the more that extends because you've already made it past a sum of potential demises that pull those averages down.

At birth, odds are you'll live to 78. If however you've made it to 65, suddenly your life expectancy is almost 84. There is no magical clock in us that stops on average around 78. Instead it has a lot more to do with health.

I would guess if one took care of themselves and avoided the lottery of accidents and diseases out there then the average human was engineered to live to about 90 with today's medicine/technology... anything beyond that and you probably have genetics to thank.

According to the 2008 figures at the US Census Bureau:
Age now - Age Expected (male/female combined)
0 - 78.0
20 - 78.9
30 - 79.4
40 - 80.0
50 - 81.0
60 - 82.6
65 - 83.7
70 - 85
75 - 86.7
80 - 88.8
85 - 91.5
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Old 09-10-2012, 09:35 AM   #4
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EvrClrx311, your point is well taken, and I agree. If I live to be 60, there is a 50/50 chance that I will live to be 83, and that is a bit more than my life expectancy at birth.
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Old 09-10-2012, 09:39 AM   #5
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Well, having an active and independent life not an on/off, black or white sort of thing. One's activity level and health gradually decline, at least in my family.

For my planning purposes, I am thinking that I will not actually desire any assistance until I am well into my 80's. By age 90, should I live that long, I may begin to actually need a little assistance each day, and my mobility will be lessened although I will still be able to get around. By age 95 any health and mobility problems will have accelerated. These hypothetical ages are based on what I have seen for other family members. I have no idea how old I may live to be but this is my planning framework.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JustCurious View Post
I want to keep this thread focused on the simple question of how long you expect to remain active and healthy. You can define those terms any way you wish. I define them as being able to safely leave the house and drive and travel without assistance, and still having the desire and energy to leave the house and do things without assistance.
Based on what I have seen in my family, I would say about age 88-90. One can still be active and work out at the gym, go for walks with a friend, and so on, long after one may not feel up to driving or traveling alone.
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Old 09-10-2012, 09:45 AM   #6
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I know that elderly assistance is not cheap. If you want to save more, or have a lower WR because of that, then by all means, do so. If you want to start a thread that discusses the costs of elderly care, then by all means, do so.

But, in this thread, I am asking a simple question to get information, and I would like to stay focused on that question. Thanks.
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Old 09-10-2012, 09:57 AM   #7
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I ski with a guy who is 90. He's been a bit less active the last couple of years, but was out most every day up to 87 or 88. He also golfs and walks 4-6 miles many days. I have hopes to match him, but not realistically. There are others in their 80s I still see skiing and golfing around here. I can definitely see staying active in my 80s.

I'm not sure how much "planning" is involved here. I'll stay active until I'm not. If arthritis kicks in like it has for my mom, I guess I'll have to slow way down whenever that happens. If/when it does, I'll probably move to a more accessible spot than a 3 level house on a mountain side, but I don't see any reason to really worry about it until that time starts to approach.
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Old 09-10-2012, 10:01 AM   #8
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As we age we have little control over how healthy we are. One of the problems with living longer is that you are more likely to have health problems as you age. As far as staying active, a lot depends on how healthy you are.

I am almost 74, most of the health issues that I have started when I was in my 20's & 30's (I have picked up a few more over the years. I walk for exercise and I am about to start bike riding. My mother lived to be 89 and she had siblings that lived into their 90's so hopefully I still have some good years ahead of me.
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Old 09-10-2012, 10:08 AM   #9
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We have several relatives on both sides who remained very active well into their 80's. DW has an uncle who is 92 and still goes out dancing every week, and now has a girlfriend 2 years after his wife of 61 years died.

In 2009 we visited the UK when her mother died after several years of disability, but her father was still incredibly fit at 84, and one day shortly after the funeral we went on a 5 mile walk with him in the Peak District of Derbyshire. He continued to go outdoor and indoor bowling, playing on a team for about 6 months after that, then had a fall, was diagnosed with advanced lymphoma and died within 6 weeks. Like the uncle above, he also still drove a car.

My maternal grandmother was very fit into her her early 80's. a keen walker, and after she outlived her 2nd husband she emigrated to Australia to join her youngest daughter, joined a local over 60's club, met and married a younger man who unfortunately died a few months before we got to visit her. She stayed active until an aneurism burst while she was on the phone to my aunt and she was dead when the ambulance arrived.

We also have several relatives including my mother and MIL who were disabled and fairly inactive for a few years before they died.

At our local YMCA we are part of the "fitlinxx" program which means that the machines we use automatically log the weights we lift, assigning points, the classes we take also assign points when we log in, plus you can manually log other exercise using stations at the Y or over the internet.

Most of the men who score higher than me in the program are in the 70 - 90 age range, and I can believe it, because we always see them there, a sort of geriatric group of gym rats, and often we'll have a coffee and chat with some of them.

Being optimistic folks, DW and I expect to stay active into our 80's, but who knows what will happen.

That turned out to be a much longer post than I intended, pity that typing doesn't count as exercise.
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Old 09-10-2012, 10:17 AM   #10
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And I'm not clear on the value in trying to draw a line as related to WR. If anything, our lives may well be more costly in the last few years of life.

WR = Washington Redskins? Wide Receiver? World Record? Wedding Ring? Women's Rights?

I bet I'll be surprised......
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:58 PM   #11
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WR = Washington Redskins? Wide Receiver? World Record? Wedding Ring? Women's Rights?

I bet I'll be surprised......
Withdrawal Rate. Not too exciting.
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:06 PM   #12
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I'm doing what I can (exercise and diet) to stay active until I die. But sh** happens and there isn't much we can do about that.
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:07 PM   #13
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My mom is mid 80's and active enough, though slowing down substantially. The males in my family only seem to make it to early 70's. I'm hoping to extend that. My dad had Alzheimers, and his mom probably did, so that's just plain frightening. I'm hoping to be active into my mid 70's and live into my 80's. I'm planning for at least 92, which is apparently my life expectancy if I don't take up smoking and continue exercising, and essentially indefinately after that in all but the worst market cases.
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:35 PM   #14
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I know a few women who remained pretty active and independent into their 90's. But I would say that for most people in my family, things generally started going downhill when they reached their 70s. Based on family history, I'll be lucky to make it to my 80's in good health.
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Old 09-10-2012, 02:04 PM   #15
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Who knows? That is why I'm taking about 5.5% now while in my 60's and can be active with my family. I won't take SS until 70 and will have other items coming in about then so feel fairly confident that taking a bit more now in WR will turn out OK. I'm pretty sure that I won't need too much when I'm 90+ and content to sit in my chair and read.
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Old 09-10-2012, 02:12 PM   #16
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I'm planning to start slowing down at 83.
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Old 09-10-2012, 02:12 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by JustCurious View Post
So that leads me to my question...how long do you plan on having an active and independent life? In your experience, how long did your family members or friends live while still being active and independent? If the average life expectancy is 80, I'm sure the average active life expectancy is less than that.
In my case I'm thinking 65 ...a little over ten years from now.

My paternal grandmother died at the age of 77 (from cancer), my maternal grandmother died when she was 71 (diabetes). My momma passed away last year at the age of 73 (Alzheimer's).

The men in my family have done much better.

So....to be on the safe side, my financial plan will (should) work until I am 88 years old.
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Old 09-10-2012, 04:21 PM   #18
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For the visually enabled, I just happen to have fun a chart (or two) of life expectancy predictions for men and women.

Where are you ?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Life Expectancy.jpg (18.5 KB, 32 views)
File Type: png Probability_of_living1.png (4.9 KB, 26 views)
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Old 09-10-2012, 04:48 PM   #19
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Getting older doesn't have to mean slowing down. My step-mom is in her mid-80's and still teaches nursing. Her brother is over 90 and and still does rounds at the hospital (a doctor)... and flies private planes.

They may not move as fast - but they are super sharp, and still able to get around.

My dad (and step mom) had plans for a round the world trip (my dad's 3rd or 4th since retiring) when he passed away. So he was living live large till the very end. Unfortunately, he died before age 80.

Genetically, I guess I'm pre-disposed to die before age 80... that's the case for 3 of 4 grandparents and both my parents. But one grandmother lived to age 91. She lived independently till less than a year before she passed.

I have to plan for a lifespan more like her - even though the odds are against it.

My husband's family is long lived. My mother-in law is in her mid/late 80's and still active. Still walks too/from the store for groceries. Still takes care of the house and my father in law (who's in a wheel chair). He's 89 and not active/mobile. But no signs he'll die any time soon. His older brother is 92, still does handyman work, super active, outlived his wife, outlived the girlfriend that followed. I assume my husband will be the same.
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Old 09-10-2012, 04:48 PM   #20
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I have always wondered what percentage of the population who are in their 80's have a high quality of life (obviously the majority aren't even around to survey). We all seem to rely on anecdotal evidence citing the one or two old people who still are going strong we know. I only know one, my neighbor who is 83 and does everything a 50 year old does, and no hearing aides to boot. But most in my family either didn't make it to 80 or was quickly heading to the nursing home because the mind failed.
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