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Let me tell you my story, I am 88 years old and I have a husband who is 98. We have been married and in love for 70 years.


We had a “Camelot” the entire married life. Both of us are Holocaust survivors and living in the great USA was a dream come true.


HOWEVER! The dream has ended. My dear husband is old. Not seriously sick, but the parts are worn out. Can’t walk anymore, can’t talk anymore, can’t hear anymore, can’t eat anymore and of course some memories issues. Since we are so old, most of our friends are dead and the younger ones do not want to do anything with us.


Nice picture so far? We have children, grandchildren, great grandchildren but they all live at some distance and have their own lives.


I am young! I take care of how I dress, how I smell but sometimes the loneliness gets to me. I hate to complain for I know what a pain it is for the receiver. It hurts me tremendously that I can’t visit my little ones and that the family I created and raised is not with me. Yes, I also get depressed, but I seeked medical help and in spite of that it is so so hard. No one to talk to, no one to visit, no one calls, no one comes.


Life is incredibly difficult when one is old, have understanding , pity, and perhaps you who is in all you mental powers can find a solution to make the late years of your parents better. A little gift, a little surprise, a little visit from a loved one.


But to argue, complain, fight?


Ignore their complaints, lie to them, try to understand.


Compassion! Kindness! Love...

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I am 85 and my family doesn't live close. I call them, I volunteer my time to have companionship. When my family calls I try not to burden them with "organ recitals". I belong to a support group and I call people who have missed meetings because I think they might feel like no one cares. It is hard when you are old, no two ways about it.

As I also have mentioned before, I volunteer with the local Sheriff's Department. There are so many things we can do. Things that may seem small but are so important. One of my girlfriends volunteers at the local hospital holding premature babies who are in withdrawals from drugs.
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Cedarlove Nov 17, 2019
What a wonderful, positive response.
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Fatalist,

I found your posting to be so touching. You have just as much of a right to express your feelings as any caregiver does. You are a lovely caregiver to your husband. I’m sure he loves you very much.

I appreciate hearing your insight on aging. I really do.

Your life story is truly inspirational. Congratulations on your long and loving marriage. Both of you are survivors and I thank God for that. It is wonderful that you were blessed with a beautiful family. I’m sorry none of them live near you.

I would be happy to listen to any feelings that you wish to express. I am sorry that you are experiencing loneliness. Isolation is awful. It’s understandable that you get depressed.

We can never have too many friends so I would welcome your online friendship. Feel free to private message me whenever you wish to chat about anything on your mind.

I wish you peace and joy in your remaining years. You certainly deserve it.

I do think about getting older. I turned 64 last month. My husband is 65. We have been married 41 years and he is the love of my life. We have two daughters.

Please share anything you’d like to. I’m sure we could all learn from your wisdom.

Take care and many, many hugs. God bless you and your beloved husband.
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ArtistDaughter Nov 17, 2019
My sentiments exactly.
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i think " friendship " is a term thats tossed around a lot but in fact a rarity .
i just lost a friendship of about 15 years because i just couldnt keep making excuses for her pitiful job performance . too much compromise -- too much giving -- too little receiving .

the woman wouldnt even reply to an email unless there was a hundred dollar bill being offered for about 50 bucks worth of household help . i was buying a friend and it began to cause me to lose respect for myself .

i s'pose the kicker was when i gifted her 450 bucks worth of loose change to help her out and later on that week she lost her sht because i gave someone else a gallon jar of morel mushrooms some of which she had found . the gifted mushrooms were going to an elderly grandmother who was absolutely ecstatic at such a windfall . this is noteworthy ; several times i gave the friend my find of mushrooms to take home because there wasnt an abundance for two people .

i dont need that crap . as far as a spouse ? i had one -- she was a serial cheater . i also dont need that crap .
sons ? the one i was closest to was shot and killed 3 years ago . the other has his own life 130 miles away .

so its just me and the squirrels and the deer . i try to refrain from chatting up the deer because they need to distrust humans in order to survive .
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gdaughter Nov 17, 2019
It's okay to talk to the deer...they are wiser than people realize and will still survive. They need all the love they can get...though in my area all the mayors and council people would be happy if they all died because of a handful of garden club ladies and complainers. You could plant some seeds of crops they like to eat! Hostas, tomatoes, bulbs...Squirrels to. Not making fun, and really sorry for your losses....
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While it might seem discouraging or downright depressing reading these posts, you have to realize this is a lifeline for most of us. It's where we can safely vent so we don't take it on our parents or families. Would you go to the hospital to find a traveling or mountain climbing companion? Would you go to an AA meeting looking for a friend to attend drink-of-the-month club? We come here to vent. We might feel this way for 10 minutes. We might feel this way for 10 days. We might have felt this way for our entire lifetime. We're all different.

Perhaps the reason we can and do show compassion, kindness and love to our aging parents is because we can come here and vent to our hearts content and know that we're among friends and not judged.

I think a social forum would be a great resource for you, one with more upbeat interaction. You could come here when caring for hubby gets you down and then go there to talk about movies, books, and laugh. A good joke goes a long way! How about it forum folks - anyone have any suggestions for Fatalist?
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Helping77 Nov 17, 2019
Not exactly trying to sound rude (to the lady who started this thread) but I was wondering what the heck her point was. I'm sorry but I read the first few bits (especially about her husband) and I'm thinking great I'd trade places with you if you're whining so much since that's all I get from my grandma (whining, telling me how disrespectful I am (because I'm part of the millennials... I'm nothing like the people she describes but the way she talks I wouldn't know) treats me 20 years younger than I am (I'm close to 30) and other stuff. Anyway I agree with you... kinda reminds me of my grandma whining about how depressing EVERYTHING is when she chooses to watch the news everyday all morning.
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It's difficult to be old, it's difficult to be retired and trying to take care of very elderly parents who have tons of issues, it's all difficult. Life, in fact, is difficult.

We all have stories, and there are sides to each. We are privy here to only one side of the story, in most cases, so we are only able to respond to that side which we are told.

When parents and grandparents are loving and easygoing, the visits tend to be easier and more frequent for the children and the grandchildren. When parents and grandparents are complaining and bitter, the visits tend to be tougher and less frequent for the children and the grandchildren. True story, huh?

Personally, I feel that I've made my parents' lives better by helping get them get placed in a beautiful Assisted Living community where they had plenty of activities to enjoy, plenty of people to interact with so they weren't lonely, and lots of daily events to participate in that kept them vibrant & living longer lives than they would have had they lived by themselves. Of course, bringing them gifts and chocolates and beautiful clothing with jewelry was, and still is, something I choose to do for my mother on an ongoing basis. Their grandchildren visit when they're able, which was more frequent when their grandfather was alive, because he was a real pleasure to be around. Their grandmother, not so much. Yet they still visit, but not enough, to hear her tell it.

To hear them tell it, she complains constantly while they're there, telling them they haven't stayed long enough before they've even left. They find it stressful to visit, but that's their side of the story.

So, we all need to show compassion, kindness and love to one another in life, you're right about that. It's not a one way street where one party does all the taking and the other party does all the giving. Both sides must contribute in order to have a mutually enjoyable relationship.

I wish you all the best that life has to offer and I thank you for sharing your story.
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What you have stated is so very powerful, truth, Seems this world is for the healthy and the youthful. Life changes drastically as one ages. You go from having little ones hanging on to your legs to being forced to accept just how quickly our children forget us and the tremendous sacrifices that were made for them, all the artsy, crafty things we did forgotten. The gifts. Sewed, knitted, crocheted homemade cards, special meals cooked etc....

Our kids get busy with their lives without realizing how important grandparents and extend family are for little ones. Our kids refuse to think about the fact they’re the next generation in line to face the very same situation. People need love from birth to death. Without it ones health deteriorates. The elderly have to put great effort out to find new friends as old friends have passed on. Those friends will be younger then they are. So one has to plan an activity both will enjoy and both are capable of still doing. We tend to make excuses for this utterly selfish behavior on our kids because we are afraid the crumbs they offer us will then be taken away altogether. My Mother along with her controllable mental issues has lived with me for 20 years. Not one other family member contributes or cares about her well being. I’ve raised 12 kids along the way. Spent thousands of dollars correcting mistakes they made along the way that easily could have been avoided. The money spent definitely cut into my retirement savings. I’m certain they’ve never even given that a thought. I love them all. A lot of effort was put into their education. I was forever pushing them to do well in school. Helping them succeed. They all have jobs that pay way above the USA average annual income. They are great parents. But their father has a terminal illness they pretty much choose to use the out of sight out of mind plan. I’ve been a caregiver since before my first child was born. There are natural givers in life but far more takers. Sadly no one sees themselves as they truly are. It’s easy to explain away ones actions. No one wants to be guilted. I was bitter about all this in the beginning but I’ve now accepted it. I try to take the high road as when I die and my kids go through my things they will only find love and positive things. I’ve shared this simply because it’s my truth and I’m certain others can relate.
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Invisible Nov 17, 2019
Your post is particularly interesting. I still say sometimes you need to hit people over the head before they hear what you are saying. Especially your children. Come right out and tell your kids they need to participate in their father's care and you are concerned about having enough to live on in retirement.

The other thing this reminded me of is the continuum of life that children need to experience. The need to see mom/dad caring for their parents so they understand their responsibilities as you age. They need to see that aging is a part of life and it doesn't mean the person is any less a valued and respected member of the family. They need role models for every age to learn how to cope when they get there. They need not to fear aging.
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Fatalist - you sound like an incredible person who has led a fascinating and productive life. It is sad that your husband is so weakened that he can no longer be a true partner to you. Are your children aware of that? Are you sure they're not thinking that you and your husband are humming along just fine taking care of yourselves and each other, whatever health issues may erupt?

One thing you should bear in mind is that almost all of us who post here are actually taking care of our elderly parents. And most of us do have sympathy for our parents' needs and problems. As you no doubt understand from reading here, taking care of a parent can be extremely stressful. It involves a lot of sacrifice, and our parents sometimes make the situation more difficult for us by making unreasonable demands, refusing to cooperate with our efforts to help them, being verbally abusive, or having insufficient regard for our own needs, preferences, goals, plans, etc.

I have complained on this forum as much as anyone and more than most, but I would never have left my mother to her own devices when I knew she needed help. We butted heads almost until the day she died, but that wasn't the whole relationship or even the biggest part of it.

You're in a difficult position. You're sad an lonely and limited in what you can do, but you're not in the kind of crisis situation that would get your family's attention. I suspect they may not understand how much you need them. I think everyone has been ticking along the same paths for so long that people don't realize that things have changed for you and your husband. I hope that you will reach out to them, and reach out to others too. After the lives you and your husband have lived, you deserve a loving and well-supported old age.
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You have a sweet attitude and have had a long and fascinating life, which I hope you have documented for your family.


At age 63, my family doesn't call, come to visit me. I have been shocked at how the "we're so busy' line gets used. 5 kids, I don't even speak with my son anymore, he is angry over something and has cut ties. When I think of all I sacrificed for this man--the endless giving and he decides at ago 40 he wants nothing to do with me--well, it's a knife in the heart.

You've had the love of a good man. Do you know how many of us would just die for an "I love you" from our husbands, who are so busy with whatever, they just ignore us?

I just finished chemo and hope to find I am clear, but I also made the decision a few weeks back that when/if the cancer returns, I am not doing a single thing to treat it. If my family doesn't care for/about me when I am desperately ill---I don't need them either.

I've chosen to remember the days when the kids were small and sweet and loved their mama. I can't change any of them, and I won't go "poor pititful me" (you're NOT doing that, BTW) on them.

It sounds like you have been blessed with a wonderful life--we all have ups downs and sidewises--you have a unique story to tell. I hope you tell it.

We complain about difficult parents b/c we can do that here----and no place else. I doubt you'd get a single 'complaint' from your family. You sound absolutely remarkable.
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Riverdale Nov 15, 2019
I am so sorry for your latest abandonment by a family member. You have been through so much. I hope your grandchildren treat you well. Your DH and mother obviously have their strange ways. You deserve better. I am sorry your son has now been added to this negative family picture. Your posts here are always helpful and insightful. Wishing you better days.
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I happen to agree with you - it is very hard being older in our society now, whereas family’s used to live nearby and all muck in - now they are scattered and living their lives of stress and work...
Suggestions of local organisations to visit or join are easier said than done - unless have someone with you at least initially.
So many live alone, or with a spouse that needs a lot of care, so feel alone with decision making and companionship.
shops used to be a way of doing the necessary whilst having a chat with staff and other people - but staff contracts and turnover now means there are few that stay long or have the time to chat it seems,
i still remember taking dad to his local store the last time - not one person working there had the time or grace to even say hello to him - not often I do but had tears in my eyes looking at my dad trying to speak to staff who just walked away without even a smile.
When my aunt shortly followed by uncle died. I was so used to visiting them several times a week in their respective nursing homes that I kept forgetting and turning up. Rather than just turn round and go home - I went in and chatted to residents I knew didn’t get visits. Learnt about them and took little gifts. I make sure I have time to chat for a few minutes with anyone my age group upwards if necessary when shopping as I’m all too aware I may be the only person they have a conversation with that day. I smile - as much as possible - it’s surprising how many people don’t - yet a smile is free and infectious.
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Life as an elderly person is all about adjusting to "loss" - loss of health, loss of hearing/vision, loss of abilities, loss of stamina, loss of friends, loss of independence.

It's always been this way - and will continue to be like this until science finds a way to stop the aging process.

Developing strategies to adapt to those losses is the secret to coping with them. Waiting around for others to fill our "emotional void" is never an effective strategy.
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lealonnie1 Nov 17, 2019
Well said Dragonflower. While I have absolutely no problem calling my mother and doing whatever she needs me to do for her, I can't be expected to be her entertainment and neither can my children.
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