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I think many of us are here because our parents DIDN'T plan very well, so I wonder how many of you have thought carefully about what you want in your older years / end of life? I just shared this link on a few threads, but wanted to post about it specifically because it is thought provoking to say the least:


https://getpocket.com/explore/item/why-i-hope-to-die-at-75


I have conflicting feelings about some of what the author discusses, but I also have serious heartburn about the emotional and financial burdens that the "silver tsunami" poses for us and our kids, who will also be challenged to deal with aging infrastructure, climate change and serious income inequality.


How does the article land for folks? Has your elder care journey shifted your thinking and plans for what you want to experience in your own elder years? How many of you have taken the approach of this author and decided to allow only palliative care beyond a certain point?


Thanks for sharing your thoughts,



Jane

Still trying to figure out the *how*. Financial planning's sooo not my strong suit. But no, we're not going to crash in on our son. We're working on it a bit (ya think?) late at age 62, but we're working on it.

I've also given some thought as to the *when*. For me, deciding on an arbitrary age is a non-starter. Physical condition, certain diagnoses, and/or imminent full-blown dementia would be the deciding factors.

There's also the concept of opting for palliative care only, after a certain vague point.
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We have invested some of our money. Husband inherited fro Mom and Uncle and immediately invested it. I had to cash in a pension so IRA there. We had bonds that were over 30 yrs old, invested them. Letting it sit and collect interest. Our house is paid off. Plan on setting up our POAs. Important papers are all in one place for the girls. Cleaning out.
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As I said last time. My plan is eco tourism. Which is something I used to do and will get back to as this phase ends. Sooner or later, I won't be able to grip a rope tight enough, hold my breath long enough or be able to stand the hypothermia from swimming with dolphins in the arctic long enough. Problem solved. Hopefully those dolphins won't try to keep me afloat.
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MountainMoose Mar 6, 2019
Reminds me of a dear friend. He told us about a rare condition that he picked up around the world. Once it "kicks in" there's no cure or treatment. He said once it happens, he will head into the desert.
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Interesting article. It seems he is saying we keep extending life of elderly folks due to our medicine being very good. But it that life is not always good. We can save, but what ifs the quality of life going to be like?

I have read Being Mortal which was recommended here. I found the book really interesting too being on the same idea, we can prolong life but at what costs to the individual.
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janeinspain Mar 6, 2019
I loved Being Mortal! The key questions he recommends are a bit like this author's process for deciding the tradeoffs he is willing to make.
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In the interests of balance and fairness, I supposed I'd better actually read the article.

I think this is perhaps the key sentence: "And I retain the right to change my mind and offer a vigorous and reasoned defense of living as long as possible."

Well. Quite. Best wait and see, I think.
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Yes SnoopyLove (I meant this as a reply to you), or as Countrymouse's Aunt put it "fall peacefully off the twig." #goals

:)
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Call me an old cynic if you like, but let's check in and see how he feels when he is seventy-five, eh? Assuming he gets that far, of course.

My aunt, musing in her late seventies, thought she would like to get to ninety and then drop peacefully off the twig. She developed breast cancer at 84. It wasn't all that peaceful.

Roger Daltry, he of "Talking 'Bout My Generation," is going strong at 74. I hope he's not too wretched about being alive still. Perhaps he changed his mind about what constitutes old.

There are sensible things that everybody should give thought to and, ideally, guidelines they should pencil in for those who might need to act for them. But actual plans? If you want to make God laugh, make a plan...
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janeinspain Mar 6, 2019
LOL, I rather think of you as a realist Countrymouse, an exceedingly wise and compassionate one :) I noted that there was no talk of a wife or partner, so I did wonder what would happen with his plans if he eventually found a lover. Someone to travel with other than his nephews (enjoyable though they may be). Though as SnoopyLove points out he is already refusing certain interventions. Who knows.

I love this phrase: "drop peacefully off the twig." Isn't that the dream for any good bird? Mid-song please.

Jane
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I think trying to pin point an age to die is nonsense personally. A lot people will talk like that but when the time comes not too many want to sign off. I'm thinking
of all the old rockers now in their seventies that are ferociously clinging to life when they used to ridicule people who were middle aged.

People can be productive into extremes of old age and that should be the goal.
Just sitting around being kept alive by essentially artificial means is no fun, but many will choose to live like this if they are able. I think this will increasingly become a moot point though as health care costs will continue to rise and we will
not have the same benefits as our parents, nor will our own children have the same
income or flexibility as we have had. I think euthanasia will increasingly become the norm and will eventually replace nursing homes as the most common end of life scenario. Not sure this is necessarily an improvement but what we have now
is also hugely problematic.

I think the only option is to get into the best shape that we possibly can and also to be realistic about our abilities. I'm very perplexed at seniors who insist upon keeping big homes with a great deal of upkeep. That seems terribly selfish to me. I've already thought about how to go about getting into a cooperative community that is mixed age and budgeting for in home care down the road if need be. I know that if I was in a great deal of pain, I would gladly opt for euthanasia.

The real scary factor of course is to have a truly debilitating disease or dementia
/Alzheimers and be unable to communicate. Having a plan for that type of scenario seems necessary but boy that seems hard to figure out and put into place.
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janeinspain Mar 6, 2019
YES! I believe maintaining good health is key, ideally with access to medical care if you need it but staying out of the habitual orbit of it, which can seem to suck people in and suck money out in a downward spiral. I'm always interested in learning the tricks and personal habits of elders I meet who are medication-free and active. And I'm with you on the downsizing, for the personal freedom from the upkeep and also the societal sharing of resources. There is a coop community starting in my city and I am looking into it. My kids are still at home but I already see the appeal of lightening the load down the road. Cheers!
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I read part of the article, but not to the end.

Dad just turned 90, Mum will be 85 in 2 months. both have most their marbles. Mum is in remarkable health, takes no medication, lives life to the fullest. Dad had a massive stroke 4 years ago and is still here through hard work and determination.

If either of them had opted out at age 75, they would not know my brother's three children, would not have traveled internationally on multiple trips each.

They would not have continued to volunteer in their communities.

Now we live in Canada where MAD is allowed. My god mother has decided to put her affairs in order and is looking to plan her death. She is 85 and has lived a good life. She now lives in assisted living and is dealing with several health conditions.

If Mum were diagnosed with cancer or some other disease, I know she would look at MAD too.

Both my grandmothers lived to be 82 in relative good health. They never were in care, nor dependant on their kids for care. My great grandmother lived to be 92, but was in a nursing home for the last 3 years of her life. I know my mother does not want to need care. So far no one in my family has had dementia.

In my ex's family, all three of his mother;s brothers died within 1 year of their 70th birthday. Yet his Dad is 84 and his dad's brother is 82 and in good health.

So to answer, what are my plans? My sil is a physcian and is my health care proxy. I will not move in with my kids and have written letters for each of them telling them that I do not want that. They are only in the early 20's and the letters are for later in life, especially if I get dementia or become demanding. The letter also states that my house can be sold if it is no longer safe or appropriate for my needs.

In the meantime, I am putting in a basement suite that has level access. I will rent it out for income, but can move into it if needed down the road. Luckily my house is only 5 min from the hospital and my doctor's office. There is a grocery store that delivers, a pharmacy that delivers etc.

Luckily I am in Canada, and although there can be significant wait lists for assisted living, there are publicly funded spots that will take my CPP and OAP. The same applies to nursing homes should it be needed.

I am at the very tail end of the baby boomer generation, so most likely there will be lots of space available as the older baby boomers die off.

Otherwise, I plan to work until at least age 70, which will allow me to maximize my CPP and contribute more funds to my retirement savings.
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janeinspain Mar 6, 2019
Good plans! And great that your parents have been able to live such long, full lives. Does your mom follow any particular dietary or exercise regime? Did she work outside the home and until what age? Medication-free at 85 is impressive and rare I think!
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Thanks for the link to that article, which I had heard about but not read.

I find myself both disagreeing with it in general for religious reasons, and totally agreeing with it for myself in particular. I like how the author has made concrete plans to utilize only palliative care after age 75, and even at the time of the essay, when he was age 57, was declining knowing his PSA and planning no more colonoscopies after age 65. No more flu shots after 75, and etc.

I've been noticing how deaths in the 65-75 range just seem to be jumping out to me as being in a sweet spot, especially if they are sudden. A friend of my father's very suddenly passed away at age 77 last month, collapsing at the grocery store. After dying in one's sleep, that seems like a perfect way to go to me.
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