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A bad side effect of caregiving my parents has been that I am becoming more and more afraid of getting old. Watching what they have gone through has let me know I do not want to go through the same thing. It has made me hope that I check out of life before I get old.

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I am old. Seventy-seven is old by any standards, though I call myself a junior senior, and - it's not so bad. Yes, there are a few more aches and pains but I wouldn't go back for anything. Afraid? No and never have been of just plain old age. Many years ago I feared cancer and those kind of things, then decided that living in fear was robbing me of my healthy "nows", so I stopped and became grateful for "now" and still am. I believe in doing what you can to live a healthy lifestyle. Genetics count for about 33% of healthy longevity - the rest is lifestyle and, I think, some chance. My family is long lived on both sides so I planned my retirement accordingly and still have goals for myself that I want to meet. With sig other, I am starting to travel a bit again. I am still caregiving, at a distance. I fear mother (102) living a whole lot longer more than anything.
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It is probably harder with me, since I don't have family. I think of being alone, losing my mental faculties, then losing my physical faculties until I'm sitting alone in a pile of poop in a Medicaid NH bed. Shiver.
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I already feel old, in fact when I talk to my Dad every day on the telephone our conversations are around our aches and pains, and the weather. And talking to Mom is difficult because she is almost deaf. Where is my rocking chair and shawl?

I am to a point that if I get another life altering illness, I hope it takes me quickly. My dreams for a wonderful retirement, like what my parents had for 25 years, won't be a reality... I am too tired to enjoy anything anymore :(
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Watching my parents bitterly fight the aging process has been a huge wake up call for me. Their lack of acceptance comes as a bit of a shock because my grandparents had such a different attitude. Especially my paternal grandmother who lived to be 99 yrs. and treated every day as a gift. She had her share of age related troubles and was not adverse to a bit of complaining but she did not dwell on the negatives. I have decided to make her my role model :)

I'm not really afraid of getting older. I think I am afraid of dementia though. Yes dementia scares me.
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Well,

I am taking care of/dealing with my mom (89) and my husband(81). I am 64. I was afraid that by the time I can look up and breathe again, I will be too old to enjoy life. So, I am making sure that I build in "me time." Sounds like a cliche but I need enjoy life, too. This may be it!!!!!!!! So, one day at a time.
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I'm not afraid of getting old EXCEPT if my parents are still around! And it seems like they just won't die (did I just write that?). Its irrational because they in all probability will die within next 10 years, but I'm just jealous of them because when they were my age, they absolutely did NOT have to take care of their parents, like I have to take care of them. It seems like the prognosis for my own kids is better too--they all seem to be able to get good jobs and have already said they're going to folow their dreams wherever that will be (eg, they're not sticking around my city). So I just want to have some time for "me" at least 10 years before my husband retires and puts that cabash on my little sliver of "me" time. After he retires, I will be taking care of him a lot (I can imagine) so I feel like most of my life is all about taking care of every one else.
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Actually, it makes me want to retire earlier. Yes, it does frighten me.
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It would be nice if agingcare.com could learn from our posts and add some creative 'venues' for this group of caregivers (us... to help save our mentality and happiness as 'we' age). After all, there's a lot of us in this situation (and many more to come).
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Like Emjo I am "old" just turned 76 but I don't feel old, just frustrated at the things i can no longer do, but on the other hand it is a good excuse to give in when someone says "Veronica you should not be climbing on that ladder dear" Well I will if I want to but when they ask if I would like carry out I don't even hesitate. I certainly don't want to join senior clubs to make friends with others my own age. So I am on here with a lot of other old ladies but they all have life in them. I know I can't actually see you all but your spirits come through your words. I know I can talk to you. I don't want to join that group of nice old ladies that meets in the morning to swim then go out for breakfast or learn to play bridge but I do enjoy a good rummage sale or a trip to the thrift store. I wouldn't mind handing out with the Capt and watching him lay stone that kind of practical stuff is fascinating. I couldn't lift a rock now but its fun palying with pieces of tile and embellishing curb shopped furniture. frustrating when Ai find something too heavy to get into the car alone these days though. Yes Capt I do still have the heavy boots and snow pants from the horse farm. May never need them again but why get rid of them. And no the language would not bother me even if I don't use it myself - well not often. Forget the malls I would not last five minutes there. it's mail order for me. Of course I have many aches and pains but woe on the Dr who tells me it is age related and don't bother to come back. Just because they can't come up with a diagnosis does not mean there is not one and then it is up to me to decide if I want to follow their instructions. Do I want to die? Well not really. Am I afraid of dying - well I have looked it in the eye a couple of times and wasn't then. I am already old so nothing to fear there I am already living it. Do I like being taken care of and coddled of course I do but i've still got clawsa like the pre op nurse a couple of weeks ago who asked me in a snotty voice why I as not having a proceedure in the clinic just with sedation. I opened my mouth and said "Because I am a bloody minded old woman" No, old age is nothing to fear involuntary dependence may be so don't let anyone kill your spirit.
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Great question, JessieBelle. I have also been thinking about the future - quite a lot lately. I am 51, been taking care of mom since I was 45, 24/7/365 except when I'm at my full-time job. I raised my kids myself, they both have their professional degrees and are working and support themselves. I don't have any help from sibs with my mom. I've already told my kids that I don't want them taking care of me if I become unable to care for myself. It's too hard. I'm planning on setting up all my directives and looking into long term care insurance, just in case. I won't be able to retire anywhere near 67, so I'll just keep going until I can't anymore. No retirement for this old gal. All I can do is try to find some enjoyment and peace in each day. My youngest brother drank himself to death at the age of 39, 2 years ago. Now as I'm driving to work, with everyone rushing to jobs some of us detest, to earn a check to pay for stuff society says we need - makes me shake my head and wish I had figured this out when I was a young mom. I would've moved my kids to the country and learned to be self-sustaining. Perspective has really changed. What I fear is that I'll sit there like my mom does, day in and day out with nothing to do, no one visits me, and I'm just waiting - for what? None of us are guaranteed another day. Best to just try to find some peace and happiness in what IS today.
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