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There are several of us here in that boat. Childless. Estranged. Widow. Widower. I can send some traffic alone. I am certain others can too. This is the new reality.

to Segoline,
I, too, an an introvert. First I was able to find a very kind therapist, at low cost, who encouraged me to go out in the world, that when I thought people were judging - I have M.S.- it was faulty thinking. Then because I am technically challenged, I dared myself to join a computer club. Amazingly, everyone there was in their fifties,sixties,seventies and just as shy,nervous about skill as I was! It felt like such a blessing to be in a room full of mostly kind people who.just wanted to lesrn. I have kept going for 4 years now and I consider these people my good friends. I NEVER THOUGHT YOU COULD MAKE GOOD FRIENDS PAST A CERTAIN AGE, BUT BY GOLLY YOU CAN!
I JUST TELL THIS story TO give you Hope. I was notoriously shy and I am so grateful I took the step to walk into that room full of strangers the first time.

And heres A TERRIFIC QUOTE IF you fear judgment: "Some will love you. Some will hate you. And none of it will.have anything to do with you."
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I'm there, I am alone, no friends, except what I find online. Taking care of SO with dementia so he's not "there." I've been wanting to search for a room mate/help care giving with him till the end then a friend. Not just someone looking for a cheap room and gone. I had no kids but am a huge animal lover. I am very much into arts and crafts and gaming. I am bright and intelligent but time has given me fat and other troubles so finding something romantic that goes beyond a hug or a cuddle is not something I even want. I get so very lonely, I just want someone to watch a movie with sometimes-on TV-AT HOME-now that's a CHEAP date! :) but I am also, as my mother put it, "never boring.".

That whole go join a church or volunteer thing doesn't fly with me. I'm more spiritual than religious and though older the idea of sitting around reading an over read 2000 year old book that is all about preparing you for death when I want to live life, doesnt work for me, though I am sure it does for others. I DON'T WANT TO VOLUNTEER to do NUFN, isnt caregiving enough? My me time is ME TIME. So I am sure not going to make friends that way.

I have looked at some of those websites like silver nester or whatever it's called to no avail and I have looked in places like Craigslist just to scare myself. I know I do not want to be alone, or after all the care I gave to parents and now the SO, just be disposed off and tossed into so lost cost warehouse like nursing home when my time comes.

SO WHAT DO WE DO??
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RILEY2166’s commmet deserves to be put somewhere where we all can read it everyday, specially those of us who may have to age alone. Actually it is something that everyone should read, absorb and practice!

I pray that we all have a tiny bit of the courage and love for life that people like Riley have so that aging becomes just one more opportunity to learn, improve and make a difference in each other’s lives!
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I started this thread and don't want to hog it re ideas. But seriously, I can see myself as being so isolated because I am such an introvert. The church idea, I kinda have reservations about, because I can't really take proselytizing at this point in my life. But, I know it could be a tremendous outreach.
I struggle with these thoughts. Well, lol, obviously. Ideas? Thoughts?
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Those of you, like me, who are introverts, how do you manage or see being engaged with others, so as not to, isolate yourself?

Is there a formula, maybe through your church, or something. Where you have set something up? I am and have not been involved with my former church, in many years, as my beliefs have changed. But if there is ever a needed ministry, this is it.
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One thing which is difficult if you are an introvert, is not letting yourself become isolated.
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When my husband (4 yrs younger than I) was diagnosed with vascular dementia, I made the decision to move from Atlanta where we had lived for 24 years and which I loved, back to Memphis where both of us had family (second marriage for us both). I chose an independent living community, and although my husband insisted we didn't belong there, it was very handy when I wanted to travel--I could be sure he would get fed and his sister and sons were there in case of emergency. He had a major stroke--fortunately I was there--and they got the ambulance, etc. We had already decided against a gastric feeding tube years before, and as he couldn't swallow he died within 3 weeks. However, I stayed in the independent community for another three years because I had made friends there, and there were lots of activities. I then moved out because they kept raising the fees, and chose a high rise apartment that caters to seniors, although there are a number of younger people here. We also have activities, although not nearly so many--I actually miss the Independent Living facility! I have two children here in town, a 56 year old unmarried daughter who is an RN who works nights and spends the rest of her spare time caring for her father, who has dementia and has been in a nursing home for 3 years now. I'm worried about her health as she is gaining weight and definitely getting burned out. My son has a wife with hip dysplasia and daughters 21 and 13 who need to finish their educations. I worry a lot about dementia, as I carry an apoE4 gene, but I am 81 and still fully mobile, I think because I exercise at the YMCA 3-4 times a week. And good luck, although I do forget a lot of stuff. I have two LTC policies and a pretty good income from my own two pensions and one from my husband. I don't need drugs for blood pressure, but I have been taking a statin for 25 years and decided to stop when my latest prescription expires. I'd much rather have heart attack or stroke than have to spend 10 years in a nursing home or memory care unit. However, I am good with independent or even assisted living facilities if I am no longer mobile and my mind is sharp. I just think my poor daughter has suffered enough!
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I like the Golden Girls arrangement idea. My friends and I have been talking about "the old feminists' home" for decades, without making any real plans. The time is now to make those plans realistically. I know my biological family members will not take care of me, although I believe my stepdaughter and her family will offer (and would probably do it!). I totally agree that even if you have children, that doesn't mean they will take care of you in any way. I used to want to live in a rural, secluded, quite environment, but now I am afraid to be very far away from medical health care providers and resources. We need to form a group to do the research and planning for living arrangements that allow for old, single or not, friends to live together, while maintaining some private space, with all the support resources we need (cleaning, yard work, shopping, transportation, home maintenance, etc.), and without causing bankruptcy and impoverishment. We probably don't want to admit, but I think we are there now. Our ages range from 67 to 75, and we all have some type of medical or physical challenge. Anyway, this is a very good discussion here, and thanks to the one who started it.
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Thank you Segoline for starting this discussion; it is so interesting.
Riley 2166: you are an inspiration and I dearly hope that I will be able to follow your lifestyle.
I am 70 years old and had to place my husband (80 yrs) with Alzheimer's in a home at the end of 2017, as he had become quite aggressive and I feared for my life. As long as he sees my kids only, he is very happy and tells them how much he loves to live in the home. If he sees me, he becomes difficult and manipulative again (which used to be a problem in the past) and wants to come home because as he says "there is nothing wrong with me". So I've been told by the nurses to not visit and pick up telephone calls and it works both ways: he is happier and I suffer less from anxiety.
So in one year time, I've sold my house in town and bought a small bungalow on the outskirts of the city - closer to the kids but still close enough to my friends in the town.
I have told my kids that if I ever no longer want or can cook and clean, that I want to move into an Independent Living facility - I don't want to be a burden to them and feel that nurses are in a much better position to take care of the elderly than their own children. I hardly have any savings, but with the proceeds from my bungalow that I'd sell and my pension, I could afford the just under $4,000/month for a one bedroom apartment in the facility where my husband is now staying, which is a great facility with excellent care.
And in the meantime I keep active with my two dogs, three birds and two small aquariums. Love to walk the dogs, visit with friends, do line dancing, bird watching, hiking, camping (yes, I bought myself a small trailer last year that I had to learn to pull and park [last one needs more practice]).
Luckily my three wonderful kids support everything I do and want to do.
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This is my reality as well...even worse.. aging alone while caring for your aging parents...I'm starting to think they will outlive me at this point.

I am currently almost 60 and living in a house alone and am considering moving to possibly some over 55 apartments in the next 5 years or so... If I retire from my job eventually and my parents pass away.. there is no reason for me to stay in this area.. so I might research some good areas for older people to live. They need living areas for older people.. that are still more active and with it.

My parents stayed in independent living senior apartments and it was not very active at all..and most were in there 80's to 90's and seemed to live there right before needing assisted living... even though the age was for over 62 and over.. the average age was probably in the 80's. I can't imagine living I in such a place in my 60's..
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Riley2166 - You are an inspiration. Thanks for sharing your story.

My aunt who just celebrated her 85th birthday is still very active. She takes classes, goes swimming, drives, goes to lunch with friends, etc. and still very mentally sharp. I hope to be like her.
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I will be 86 and lost my husband 27 years ago to cancer. I have absolutely no living family and about three or four friends who are still with it but they are far away. To make things worse, due to an old spinal injury in my younger years, ten years ago I was so bad, I no longer could walk - so in a simple sense I am completely alone except for my dear pussy cat. Against everything in me that rebelled to the extremes, I had no choice but to go into assisted living. I like the area, the building and the staff but hate the environment as most of the people here are old and feeble and have dementia. In seven years I met only four ladies with whom I could hold a highly interesting and intelligent conversation. As a result, I realized I AM ALONE. So I made up my mind first - NEVER TO BE 'OLD' even though chronologically I am. I still work at two jobs I love (50 years and l4 years); I took six years of online college courses and am presently finishing the last two of a six year computer course; I read about two books a week; take care of l00% of my own affairs; go out to eat by myself (I love to drive and do very well); have lots of different hobbies from being an artist to music to sewing to swimming, etc. I constantly on a daily basis strive to learn at least one new thing that day. I am always looking for "with it" people with whom I can share things but in a place like this that is nearly impossible - but I keep trying. My life is very full with things I love to do and being with my kitty. So I may be aging in the calendar sense but I refuse to give in to the constant pain and my situation of not being able to walk. I will never allow myself to be old and this is what keeps me going day after day - even if I am totally alone. If you are aging and alone, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE ALONE.......be very active, keep learning, keep doing things you always loved to do. Do NOT, and I repeat - do NOT do what most aging people do: eat, sh*t, sleep, watch t.v. - You will live in HELL.
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It is a good sign that your are thinking of the future, now.

This is an excellent thread and may be helpful to some.

I have young children and I do not plan on being a burden to them. I want each to inherit their share of an inheritance, equally.

I have planned for this.
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I, too, have considered the Golden Girls answer to aging alone. I am in my mid-60's and have good friends in the area who are single and in their 60's and 70's. I have a 14-acre horse farm. I have thought that if my husband passes first and I am alone, I could let my friends move into small mobile homes on the property, giving us a senior community. We could be close for each other without getting on each other's nerves. It would also give us space to have our own pets, which may or may not get along. But one of those friends asked if I really want to be in a position to have to take care of someone at a time that I may need help taking care of myself. This is a rural community, about a thirty-minute drive to the closest town, so it might not be possible--or might be extra-expensive--to get caregiving help here. Any ideas about this?
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This is a new reality. Thanks to modern medical science, we are outliving our health and money. And it's not fair to rob health and money from our children so we can live on.

Reading what many elderly go through in their final years even decades before they pass on and the destruction they cause on the way just gives me the chill.

What can we do? Living and aging alone sound so terribly depressing.

For me, the best I can do is to stay active and keep healthy, and save for my old age, and hope for a quick and least painful exit before I run out of health and money.

Good luck to us all.
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I hear you freqflyer. This is a very interesting and relevant topic for this forum. Although 24hr care for a month at $20K sounds pretty steep for someone over 65y with no job, no matter how rich they are. By my calculation as a home care administrator, it should cost no more than $10K for someone who is not qualified for Medicaid and is paying out of pocket for homecare. With that being said, I totally agree with you on the cat co-habitation issue, as funny as that might sound. At that age, personalities become more of a challenge to adjust since we are pretty much set in our ways by then. With Medicare coverage being barebone as far as aging in place goes, more Millennials
are wising up to the idea of securing Long Term Care policies early in preparation for either retirement or unforeseen contingencies.
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I'm in the same boat. So I am concentrating on taking the best care of me that I can, starting with losing the extra weight and eating healthier.

I read an article, probably here at Aging Care, that states that dementia is NOT a normal part of aging. And I intend to prove them right.
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Interesting.
Great topic. I'm a caregiver and I just received a client with close no ties to family or friends and I'm starting to create a plan of care and wondering how to set things in place to protect the client.
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This is such a great topic. Thank you for posting. I have often wondered the same thing. Thanks to everyone else for posting their great ideas, because I haven't had any and I don't want to end up like my mom.
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Take care of yourself and keep your body strong. Health is much more important than wealth. Also work and/or stay engaged in the world! Keep up with technology, otherwise, the world will pass you by and you won't be able to function in it. I have no brothers/sisters, no children. I am happily married but I know the odds are high I may end up alone at some point. I plan to do all I can to remain independent in older age.
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This is one sugestiin. Ideally if you can find 2 other friends to live together, all of you could have a relatively stress filled life. If you have a home, consider a roommate for any spare room. Think of the Golden girls TV show. Search for friends by participating in your senior center.

My parents and aunt set up house for 20 years. The pressure goes on the last one standing but they made their wills to include each other.

As we age, if someone has no next of kin, once hospitalized, the state will usually appoint a conservator and/or guardian for you
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My sister and her husband never wanted to have kids. They are celebrating their 45th anniversary this year. They purchased long term care policies many years ago. They just sold their ranch and will be moving to a small home in town. My BIL has terminal cancer and will likely pass away this year. He has done everything possible to make sure my sister will be ok after he passes away.
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There's also the estranged, by choice. My mother and sister haven't spoken in 25 years -- not because of sister but my mother's choice. And it's a ridiculous reason for their estrangement. My mother never liked me -- a child knows these things -- but because I live 75 miles away, and she made me POA of everything in 2012, I've been responsible for her placement into first a MC facility, and now long term care. Sometimes I wish I weren't POA. I have religiously visited her on weekends every weekend since she left her home. She is nasty, accusatory and bitter about the life she had -- one that anyone would be thrilled to have had. The diagnosis was advanced dementia. No, it's my mother as long as I can remember -- it's the reason why my sister stays away and I've never been close to her. Two weeks ago she said some of the most hurtful things to me. Her primary nurse told me not to come back, she said it doesn't matter to my mother if I show up or not, so better for me if I don't make the trip every week. She's right. I've been dancing around an 86 year old woman who would rather be by herself than receive visits by her daughter. So that's what she going to get -- time alone. Thanks for letting me vent in probably not the most appropriate question venue.
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I have been pushing DH to do the sideways move--to a rambler with a basement apartment where the G kids can live while they go to college, and at some point, where caregivers could live. (we're in a split entry and I just got out of a walking cast---what a horrible 6 weeks!!) And I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT want to live with my kids.

I know I will be a fairly young widow. My DH's health has been such a trial--and he will probably not live to 80. Women in my family live to 100. (Ugh)

I plan to make this move in the next 2 years and then be open to the possibility of AL if my needs become greater than I can handle with caregivers.

I am blessed to have 5 kids and 14 grandkids, so I am hardly "alone" but in the end, I see, with mother, she IS essentially alone. She's cut so many people out of her life--and brother runs a tight ship. Not everyone has "access" to her.

Just b/c you have kids does not mean you're going to get great care.

ON a funny note, one Sunday I was cooking dinner in the kitchen and the g-kids were playing cards and I'd hop into the game as cooking permitted. My grown kids are all in the LR discussing "what will we do with mom when she gets, y'know"...and I hollered in to them that that very woman was currently whipping up dinner for 14 people. Felt it was a skosh too soon to be deciding what NH I'd go to.
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My SILs mother lives in an independent living in NC. The last I heard the cost was 2k a month. This includes her meals and a bus for appointments and outings. Her SS and pension pay for this. The sale of her house gives her extra money to cover other things.

Having no children doesn't mean that if you had them they would be any good. My SIL is her Mom's POA TG because if it was her sister or brother Mom would have no money. Sister thought she was entitled to some of the proceeds from the sale of her Moms house.
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Per month? My gosh. The housing arrangement models are going to have to change, I think.

Layering 'as needed' home care services is good, but that can add up too.

It is so costly to age.
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Segoline, thanks for starting this thread. I wonder how many people tried to do a Golden Girl senior way of life, and how did it work?

My plan is when my house starts to get too big, the stairs too steep, and the yard keeps doubling in size every year, I have my eyes set on moving to Independent Living. A community where there are 3 tiers of care as we get older, or if we need more help.

Expensive, yep. I had saved big time thinking I would have a wonderful fun filled retirement. Well, six years of helping my very elderly parents [90+], who did have a fun filled exciting retirement before they needed extra help wore me out. I tossed out that bucket list. And now will use that savings to eventually move into senior living.... [sigh].

I never in my life knew how expensive it was to age. My Dad was paying $5k per month for a 2 bedroom apartment in Independent Living, while my Mom was paying $12k per month for long-term-care facility. Later Dad moved to Memory Care and that was $6k to $7k per month. I do like the idea of weekly housekeeping, linen service, and someone else doing the daily cooking !!

Dad tried to stay at home, but 3 shifts of caregivers [he was a fall risk] was costing him $20k per month, yes per month.

I like the Golden Girl approach, but would all our cats get along :P
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