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Thread: What are you doing to prepare for old age? Resiliency habits.

  1. #11
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teacher Terry View Post
    My grandparents on my dad’s side sat around doing nothing for 40 years and lived in there own until dying at 90.
    Yeah, then there's that "genetic lottery" aspect of it. My mom, 86 this year, has far outlived her (only) sister and both parents. And my dad, despite dying at 65, lived far longer than both of his brothers and his father (his mother got to her 80s). A friend of mine and his siblings moved their mother to assisted living two years ago, at the age of 101 (!). I tell him he needs to save up more for his retirement.
    Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome. - Booker T. Washington

  2. #12
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tybee View Post
    I have lots of longevity on both sides of my family, and what I have seen is that the cognitive decline seems to be an independent variable. I.e. my parents were early computer adapters, my mom used computers in her work very early on, was always up on engaging in her world and community and remaining technologically up to date, until cognitive issues came into her life, and the technology helped her for a long time to retain normal function, but after a while, she could not longer use it--but that was probably after the age of 85, that that stage set in. I don't think she in any way caused dementia by refusing to adapt to her environment; I think she adapted very skillfully until the dementia prevented her from functioning.

    As far as resiliency in old age, I think key is a positive attitude. So if you want to remain in your home to age, and they wanted that, make the adaptations you want to make early, and be prepared for the day to come when you can no longer function in your home, either physically or mentally.

    But be positive, take life on life's terms, and strike a balance between being aware of your physical and mental functioning and how your environment is changing.

    I think destressing and slowing down the emotional pace and insisting on being happy--I think those are the best markers of resiliency. Finding what you love and being true to it.

    I also think we in our 60's are looking for some magic prescriptive bullet that will lead us to a pleasant, wise, non-demented old age, and I don't think it exists.

    You take what you get, including what your brain is wired to do.

    Mom has remained very gracious about what must terrifying changes in her cognition and surroundings. So yeah, I guess I hope for that, the ability to retain my dignity and my positive attitude.
    there’s a lot of wisdom in this post.

    I have Alzheimer’s pretty rampant in my family so there’s nothing to make me think that I’ll be avoiding it other than Death by heart attack or stroke before then. Has nothing to do with our level of education or the activity of our mind, since a couple of my elderly relatives with dementia were college professors and etc. on that side of the family.

    I remember having an odd and interesting conversation about my dog with with Howard Nemerov, two time Poet Laureate of the United States and Pulitzer winner, in our neighborhood Park. He lived across the street.
    Just a couple years later I learned he died of Alzheimer’s related health issues and I thought of that conversation. So yeah there was an active mind, didn’t save him from dementia.

    But yes, remaining positive, being realistic about your mental and physical limitations but still being engaged in the world is important.

  3. #13
    Senior Member Teacher Terry's Avatar
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    Genetics is much more important than people want to admit. You may not live longer with a healthy lifestyle but you will live better.

  4. #14
    Senior Member Rosemary's Avatar
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    We have just moved MIL and her sister into a senior apartment. They have, for at least 25 years, talked about moving into a one-level home, and they never did anything about it. All "those places" were "too small" - their house has (literally) 100 years of stuff in it, basement crammed full of everything that's ever come into the house, and bags and boxes of old receipts, piles of mail and magazines cluttering the main floor, along with purchases of the past 12 years still in bags, long forgotten. The sister had a nearly fatal injury on the stairs last month, and we had to make a lot of decisions quickly and take a roadtrip during the pandemic. Their quality of life in the past 5 years at least, and their time going forward, would have been improved had they taken action, but they deny the facts of aging as if it were an Olympic sport.

    Observing them at our annual winter trip, at which time we had to initiate pest control for their house due to a mouse infestation, made me review two recent books on brain health and avoiding dementia and put together a summary for myself. Really, the recommendations are largely the same as cardiovascular health. When the time comes, DH and I will move to an appropriate location with less upkeep and no stairs. I will not leave my daughter with the situation which MIL has given to us.

  5. #15
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    We have done Step 1 in terms of downsizing into old age. If we were to stay here forever, I would add ramps to the house entrance, and also put in a walk-in shower with a bench and hand rails.

    But if I'm to outlive DH and if I'm in my late 70s or 80s with no cognitive decline, I would consider moving into an apartment in Burlington or the surrounding area. The winters are way too cold and isolating up here. They do have a nice senior living apartment just a mile or so from my house, but if I were to go that route, I'd just stay here in my house.

    I agree that an active mind is an independent variable for Alzheimer's. So, it's good to stay intellectually challenged, but it's no guarantee you'll avoid cognitive decline.

    I feel the odds are good for me to live a relatively healthy, long life. I have no chronic illness, I believe in a positive attitude, and my family members who didn't kill themselves with lifestyle choices lived a long, healthy life. If I wind up with dementia, I trust my kids will find a place for me. I don't expect it to be an expensive place as I won't have much money, but I'm not worried about that. As long as I'm not a burden for them.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

  6. #16
    Senior Member beckyliz's Avatar
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    Rosemary, I read or heard (can't remember, lol) the other day a physician saying, "What is good for the heart is good for the head." So, I think you're right - good cardiovascular habits help our brain stay healthy. Exercise helps get oxygen to our brains, for example.
    "Do not accumulate for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal. But accumulate for yourselves treasure in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, your heart is also." Jesus

  7. #17
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Taking responsibility for one's life at all stages is my goal. When DH passed on, I evaluated my options and chose my present one-floor home. It is easily maintained, I enjoy the garden and the space. It can be converted to wheelchair access with ease.
    Interestingly, a condo came up for sale in my neighbourhood. I had looked at them 7 years ago and felt really claustrophobic. I drove by the unit last week and the same feeling returned. Yes, there is lawn and winter maintenance for a reasonable condo fee $289/mth but to be that close to so many people would be so stressful for me. A 10'x10' wooden deck looking out at a collection of similar decks is not my cup of tea. I love my garden space with trees, the choice of rooms and openness which has kept me sane during this lockdown period.
    To each their own!
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

  8. #18
    Senior Member larknm's Avatar
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    I like Razz'z "Taking responsibility for one's lfie at all stages." A few years ago DH and I moved into a 600 sf house all on one level and built a cabin in the mountains, 240 sf living space. We both have COPD and heart disease, but learned how to take care of them from a clinic at the local hospital, so now with Covid, have gotten an air purifier, a treadmill and a bike that also exercises your uppoer body, now that the hospital exercise room is closed. I take supplements from a chiropractor/kinesiologist/nutritionist and also have a homeopathic nurse practitioner who is good at end-of-life care. I work toward our state passing a medically assisted dying law, I've downsized to where I think someone could clean out my stuff in half a day. We have a good vacuum cleaner and twice a week we vac and mop with soap from Bioshield. We wash clothes with soap nuts, which are anbibacterial. We have a dog and a parrot. When our dog dies, we have a deal with a woman who has a local hospice and end-of-life care sanctuary for old dogs, horses, and poultry, that we can foster one of her dogs, so if we die before the dog or can no longer maange the care, s/he has the sanctuary to return to. We take our dog (and bird in good weather) for an hour or so romp in the forest every morning. The big thing we need more of is savings for nursing care at home or home maintenance care if we can't do it anymore. But we make strides on that, just not enough if we get debilitated soon--I am 78 and DH is 76. I work at not being a grouch, thinking of Lady Bird Johnson's answer when someone asked her what we can give other people, "Good memories."
    I think deep in our hearts we know that our comforts, our conveniences are at the expense of other people. Grace Lee Boggs

  9. #19
    Senior Member Geila's Avatar
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    I would say for me it would be acceptance. Not a giving up, but a recognition of what the future holds and an understanding of what that will mean. The seasons change, each with their own gifts and deaths. That will mean enjoying the gifts as much as I can, and accepting the hardships as best as I can. Or as gracefully as I can. Yeah, maybe grace is what I will aspire to.

  10. #20
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    One of my garden club lady friends, mid 70’s I would guess, is announcing to all that she has looked into assisted living as her children wanted her to, but she will be staying in her current house because she is happiest there. The house and property large. Requiring upkeep. Out in the bookies.And her husband has said he is having a hard time keeping it all up.

    ooooookay, then. This will not end well.

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