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Aging Alone

Never ever expecting to be 67 and retired, here I am.  When I left my last full-time job I also moved to a new location: Waco, TX.  The decision weighed many factors, but the primary one was affordability and climate.  Reliving my nightmares of cold, icy and snowy winters, it was time to get out of southern Delaware.  I also wanted to live somewhere where I could afford my own place to live, rather than have to suffer a roommate situation as I had.  And much to my dismay, I was also forced to consider the accessibility of medical care, which had been sparse in my previous location.  Waco seemed to fit most of my requirements and off I went.  A year later and I’m still here.

 

The majority of articles I have read about aging always seem to make one basic assumption:  The person getting older is or has been married and has a family.  I am none of the above.  I have always been single and have no children.  There are siblings, but they are geographically distant and I don’t really feel the desire to live near where they live.  Friends are elsewhere, mostly in locations where I used to live 20+ years ago, but can’t afford to now.  There is an early episode of the TV series Cheers where Diane walks into the bar and laments “I’m old and alone in Boston!”  My lament is that I’m old and alone in Waco.

 

I don’t make friends easily.  The idea of me seeking out a local senior center sends shivers up my back.  First of all, I’m not accepting of the fact that I am as old as a am.  Secondly, I have no interest hanging around with a bunch of old people talking about how wonderful their grandchildren are.  I live in an apartment complex for seniors, but I really don’t know my neighbors.  I don’t share the religious beliefs of most Texans and have no religious affiliation.  I haven’t yet found an association for the Orthodox Sarcastic Cynic.

 

I really do appreciate the attention and information that is provided to caregivers of the elderly.  What disturbs me is that there isn’t any attention toward those who are getting older and have always been self-sufficient and defiantly independent.  This has me very worried.  For example, there have been some medical tests or treatments that were recommended that I am unable to do.  Because they involve the use of anesthetic, I am unable to drive myself.  End of discussion.  One involved going to another city 20 miles away eliminating most options.  When questioning the medical providers about transport, they are clueless; always assuming that a patient has a willing individual to drive and care for them afterward.  I’m looking at the possibility of back and neck surgery and the recovery process scares me more than the actual surgery.  I’ll have to go to a post-surgical rehab facility because I won’t be able to care for myself and after that, will I be able to navigate the 16 stairs to my apartment and drive myself to take care of my needs?  These are very scary questions because I’m on my own.

 

As large as the Baby Boomer generation is, I can’t believe that I’m the only one in this situation.  What I would like to see is more discussion about those of us who are aging alone. 

Contributor

I’ve been looking for a retirement community for the last couple of years.  Both of my daughters live in the LA area in Calif.  so whenever I’ve made a visit I call various retirement homes and have received info via email.  Unfortunately, I haven’t found a match, because they are to expensive or residents are much older and no longer active.

 

 After my husband passed away 19 years ago, I moved from CA. to a historic town in VA. where I had friends whom my husband & I knew.  The first 6 years I worked at various educational institutions which occupied my time and where I made friends.  

 

However, now I want to move back to CA to be close to family again. Currently, I live in a 55+over gated community where there are only 41 homes, but no recreational activities, club house, gym, etc.  In CA I’ve been looking for a combined independent/assisted living community.  The further out of the LA area the community are less expensive which means away from family.  Money is the big factor for not moving and I don’t want to be dependent on family if I deplete my funds.  If I stay in VA I can maintain my current life style but with no family around.

  In the last several years people have passed away in my community and weren’t found for several days because of no friends/family.  This has been very upsetting and another factor for wanting to move to be close to family.  So I can understand the issues many of you are dealing with.  There doesn’t seem to be any organizations involved with single, senior issues (dependent/independent residents, medical, transportation, funding, legal).  There are some federal/state/city assistance, but are very limited.  

 

So I would like to hear from anyone who might have some ideas or solutions to offer.  Garden Gal

Regular Contributor

I don't have ideas.I'm sorry.

I've found out that the places Id like to live, in a rather artsy community, liberal, are way too expensive. Boston, Chicago, the farther out the circles go in Chicago it gets more expensive.

I wish my daughter would move with her boyfriend to Duluth, MN, where he is -- but only if she wants to. I love Duluth, as long as I have a garage I don't care about snow. I grew up in Chicago and we got wicked winters..

And thre's Lake Superior--I love it.

When I lived in Chicago, I loved ake Michgan.I miss diversity.

Someone I knew had a guided meditation and she envisioned  the house and exactly where she is  now -- Ireland. I'd love to live in Ireland myself, but can't claim one Irish relative. She also had money and seveal friend s went with her.

, --it's way too dry and just so vey very nice where I am -- can't expain it. I'd like to ove to a more intersting community.

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Regular Contributor

Here I go butting in with advice that is probably not as good as those more experienced but someone needs to offer an alternative. Housing in CA isn't any more expensive trhan anywhere else if you know where to look. I had been looking near the CA/NV border in Henderson Nevada 1) be ause it has affordab le housing and 2) it is so cheap to vacation in Los Vegas (20 miles from  Henderson ) I decided I could even pay for my fam ily to come out.

The most exp[ensive part of moving out west is moving your possessions. I rented a pod so I could load it at my leisure and be able to make ceratin if I wanted or neededit. It not then I can either give it away or get an auction house to help me downsize. Oddly enough I found the furniture I loved started to feel like anchors and will move personal effects, my pets and documents/pictures and little else. But filled to the brim the pod will cost a few thousand dollars and will store it while I lease until I find where I wish to buy. I am now looking at the Oregon coast but with no family there my destination is fluid. My biggest nightmare is the pets. I heard there is a service that will drive a rented RV, you and your pets to wherever you want to go (and tow a vehicle) but I haven't found them yet.

Bottom line - it sounds like you are desparate to be with family as soon as possible. If you were on a sinking ship or a burning house you could decide what matters quickly. Do that now and then get help getting rid of the rest. Live is too short to settle if you can have what you want. Just be careful to find reliable people, friends, agencies to help. 

Let me know what you decide and be aware you can use me for research for downsizing, transportation, housing... anytime you wish. I am hop[ing to get there in a few months if my health will hold up. Maybe we can meet there at some time.

Gold Conversationalist

VAGardeningGal....you might want to explore other options. California is extremely expensive.....we moved to Florida. Why not visit your family when you can afford it...or better yet - let them visit you? I'll send you a private message and hope we can discuss this further. Hope to hear from you soon.
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Regular Contributor

There are many attractive things about FL -- but I'm a Blue State Liberal, and I don't think I'd be too welcome -- or fit in.

I'm from Chicago and and grew up on Chicago politics, so I've never learned and never will to keep my shut at a comment.

Newbie

Aging alone is considered as one of the issues surrounding Americans today. A lot of these people grow old and alone because they chose to be single, wait too long before they get married, and half of the marriages end in divorce. We need to address this issue as early as possible to ensure that we’ll be physically, emotionally and financially ready in the future.

 

To help address this issue, I made a roundup of strategies for growing old and alone that work. I featured articles that can help old people aging alone to plan for their future, which include topics like advantages of aging alone, tips on how to thrive as an elder orphan, facts about senior isolation, aging in place and planning for possible long term care needs. You can read the article here: http://www.altcp.org/strategies-growing-old-alone/.

 

Just because you’re single, you should live a miserable life. Plan and make the necessary steps to make your future bright and comfortable even if you’re alone.

Newbie

Hello there, 

 

My father uncle had the same kind of problem few years ago, and in the end, he decided to go and live in retirement village near the city. He has a decent amoun of social activites, he live on the river side, but he can drive himself to the city, and go to those places where he is volounteer, and has a lot of friends there.

 

You can probbably try to find something simmilar in Waco.

Regular Contributor

I am in the same situation. I couldn't have an upper endoscopy because I had no transportation. They won't accept a commercial solution. I had to have major dental surgery and did it just with novacaine because I had to drive myself.

IThere is no AARP in my county to offer advise and the local senior center seems to only care about events. I am trying to move but am looking into companies like CARE.com for help until I do and then maybe even whereever I move to.

I will let you know if I find any solutions.

Regular Contributor

I had a dental implant done and stayed in a hotel next door to the office. The nursing staff took me there in a wheelchair. Am in the same situation. Before I get too feeble, I plan to place myself in a setting. But abhor the idea of nursing homes.
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Newbie

Have you looked at any of the Assisted Living facilities in your location?  They allow independence and also have benefits such as providing transportation to and from doctors, etc. 

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Social Butterfly

Hello, justok!

 

I do have adult children, but consider myself single and don't intrude on my kiddos' families (or should I say try not to).

 

I live in a senior community but don't know my two nearest neighbors except first name and to say hello when pulling into my garage after work or volunteer activity.

 

There are so many volunteer activities; have you checked into that (I found Volunteer-Waco, that might give you some ideas)?

 

Maybe VOA (especially Meals on Wheels kitchen or delivery, which includes disabled young people), Habitat for Humanity, Red Cross, public schools; any volunteer opportunities always attract me and I've made many friends I chat and talk and IM with.

 

I don't mind living alone; in fact would not be able to do this aging thing any other way as I don't much "like" people, and am so set in my habits, so it works for me.

 

You should rethink this perhaps. Appreciate the freedom you have to live your life in the moment!

 

Feel free to DM; we can chat; maybe you can put Vegas on your 3-day weekend list and we can enjoy everything we locals enjoy "off the Strip".

 

Best to you!

 

#VegasStrong

 


#VegasStrong
Phil Harris, actor and showman, to John Fogerty of CCR: “If I’d known I’d live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.”
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