Don't want to get old.

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Do you ever feel like you'd rather just die than get old after dealing with all the issues you see you on this support group and trying to deal with your elderly parent and or inlaws?

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I am 65 ..............growing older every day lol. I worry that by the time my MIL and mom are gone...................I'll be too old to enjoy my remaining days. I feel like I'm losing my last good years anchored here at my post with them.
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I always use to wonder which would be worst, to have the body or the mind go first. Both my parents did it right - clean living with no alcohol, drugs or cigarettes. Both were incredibly fit and active. The still took 20 mile bike rides and skied - downhill and cross country well into their 70s. Daddy did volunteer work for the Forest Service as a guide at Multnomah Falls, Timberline Lodge etc. until he was 83. Shortly before his death the newspaper did an article on him calling him "one of the top ten climbers of his generation" - mountains! My mom had so many activities going on she was out of the house everyday - painting classes, Audubon society, book clubs, church - she became a Grand Master bridge player at 82, which I understand to be quite a feat. They had a wide circle of friends dating back to their college days that they socialized with often. By socializing I mean day long hikes picking wild mushrooms and identifying birds and wild flowers. Heck, my parents met on a mountain climb of Three Finger Jack while in college. Then they hit their 80's. Dad had CHF diagnosed in his late 70s but it didn't get a grip on him until he was weakened by a prostate issue and UTI. That hit at 83 and one hour before his 85 birthday he was gone. The time in between was spent getting weaker day by day until he could barely breath and was suffering greatly. Up until about a month before his death his mind was sharp but he was made miserable by the self he had deteriorated into. Mom physically had a few issues - partial knee replacement, hip replacement and a surgery for a bulging disk - but she never really was sick, if you know what I mean. In 3 months mom will be 89 and for the most part she still isn't sick - nothing I'd bet that the majority of people her age don't deal with. But her mind is on its way out and she to is a stranger to herself as well. So after years of wondering which way to die would be worst, I am no closer to an answer.
My brother says he would like to do himself in before it comes down to either option. The problem he says - is that by the time your there you're to senile or sick to go through with it.
"Getting old isn't for sissies". - Bette Davis
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So true, Kimber.
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I think we see so much that is awful with our aging parents because they were unprepared - financially, emotionally, practically - anything - totally unprepared. Most of the generation before them did not live as long or with so many diseases such as Alzheimer's. We are all in the front line of learning how to handle our/our loved ones living so long with chronic physical or mental diseases. Most of my grandparents died 60's or 70's with heart attacks or pneumonia or something like that. No one lived for 15 years after a stroke for example. Plus, I think our generation of caregivers is one of the first where family is so scattered - complicating matters. My grandmother aged in place with 4 children in the same town.

I'm hoping that I and my generation can learn from all of this, as I believe humans tend to do. I'm trying to exercise and take care of my health. I'm trying to save a lot more for my retirement. I have invested in long term health insurance. and I'm planning not to burden my only son with my care but look at senior living and paid help when I get to that point. I'm lucky that I have a good 30 years yet to save, to learn, and to plan.

as angry as I get with my elders for lack of financial planning and assuming that we should take care of their houses so they can remain independent - I do feel sorry for them because they had no idea this is what their old age would look like. And I try to remember that when I help them navigate a web site or deal with yet more forms to fill in. They got surprised by complexity and new territory and I try to help them as I can without feeling responsible for doing it all. This web site has been a blessing!
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I hope to age as well as i can, and i think thats the best i can do. What upsets me now is how all of this has really squashed me wanting to start my own family.
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On both sides of my family, most people die in their 40s, 50s and 60s. I used to think that was awful. On the other hand, the minority of my relatives who make it past 70 (my mother included) show marked decline in early 70s and rapid deterioration with each passing year. Only 2 people in my entire bloodline made it to 80: mom's uncle and mom's aunt (bro & sis of my maternal grandmother, who died at 66). Great-uncle died last year at 80, wheelchair-bound after a decade of disappearing into Alzheimer's. Great aunt is 84 and quite the exception. Sharp as a tack, but stopped driving and walks with cane. Has some issues with hip, heart and blood sugar, and they are all well-managed. I have no damn idea what I'm in for. I've never been one to glorify old age (heck, I never saw old age in my family til I was in my 40s). Now that I've seen old age in my family, you can f***ing have it. No more "what a shame" about the ones who left this earth early. That gang was spared a lot. And so wete their adult offspring (whether they see it that way or not). For what it's worth, my 84-year-old great-aunt is the best-educated, most "engaged," least neurotic and most happily-married person amongst her sibs....and non-smoker/non-drinker. I'd like to think that's the key, cuz I share a lot of those traits. But I also know that wishful thinking is not scientific evidence. I take care of my body and mind, I make every effort to find joy and satisfaction in the present, and the rest is in fate's hands. Since the age of 22, I've faithfully contributed to my 401K.....and always with the wry thought that I have a greater-than-average chance of never experiencing the benefit.
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Often when observing someone with a disability, be it blindness, deafness, loss of mobility, whatever, you will hear people say "I would rather be dead". I think an acute illness with catastrophic changes like a stroke would be very hard to take, but we are wonderfully adaptable creatures. The insidious changes of old age, even the mental decline are often much more troubling to us than it appears to be to those suffering from it.
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Misslauri, I know what you're talking about. After going through dementia and poor physical health with my father and mother, I dread getting old. I don't want to be dead, but I don't want to live like they did.
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I think it depends on if the body goes or if the mind goes. If my mind goes first, let me transition as early as possible.

If it my body that doesn't cooperate but my mind is still sharp as a tack, I have no qualms on using a rolling walker to help me get around.... and I will be first at the door to Assisted Living/Nursing Home at my own suggestion :)
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