NEXT110 Looking Down The Road

Posted on : 29-11-2011 | By : Lynn | In : Heart Talks

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If I had given birth to children, I’m pretty sure that I would have felt like I was the first person who had ever experienced the unique feelings that come with the miracle of bringing life into the world even though there have been all kinds of women who have given birth for thousands of year.  I know that, for me in that situation, I would have felt that I was different from every other woman on the planet.

So why would I expect to feel any other way about other major steps in life such as helping family and friends figure out where they want to call home and how they want to live their lives til the end of their days?  Same goes as I look down the road for my future and contemplate where my husband and I would like to be (both figuratively and theoretically).  It’s amazing how steeped in denial we can be about life choices like this even with all the swirling articles, stories, documentaries, lectures, movies and so on out there to remind us.

Over the last year, I experienced helping a good friend walk through the process of realizing that her debilitating illness had taken her to a point that living in her home alone was no longer a safe option for her.  During her life, she had enjoyed knowing that she had above average intelligence, a good education and had experienced many examples of competencies and success both in the business world as well as her private life. So you can imagine how difficult it was for her to accept that she would have to move to a residential apartment and downsize considerably.  Oh by the way, she was a good twenty years younger than most people are when they have to make these kind of decisions.  Within a short time of moving to her apartment, her illness got progressively worse with frequent trips in and out of the hospital.  She tried to stay in her apartment and hired 24 hour home health care but that was sorely lacking from the inexperience of her helpers to the fact that one of them stole her narcotics.  About three months before she passed away her illness had taken such a turn for the worse that all the medical authorities predicted that it would be just a matter of time so she was received into the hospice center of her choice.  Within a week of being in the hospice center it became obvious that she had rallied so her family came together to help her make a choice of where to go to next.  A nursing home was chosen that was supposed to be “good” and “clean”.  My friend threw as much of a fit as she could about not liking it and wanting to move immediately but we were told that this kind of reaction was normal for someone who first enters nursing care and to just give her time to adjust.

What did I know? I’d never had to deal with this in my family and certainly not with any friends.  Luckily for my friend, her son heard her requests and helped her to find a much better facility for her to live out her days.  It still wasn’t the Taj Mahal of nursing care centers, but it was light years away from the first place that she landed. Oh, did I tell you that she went through a confusing time period there of not knowing how much money she had in her accounts and what she could afford to spend in the way of nursing care and accommodations?  That was enough to get me to pay attention to how we spend our money and what our retirement plan is all about!

Fast forward to this past week and one of my family members told us that they were looking down the road to where they wanted to call “home” for the final time.  Luckily for this family member they have a good pension as well as a family trust so they have been able to find a retirement and continuing care community with all kinds of choices for care that also does not feel like an “old people” place.  I think this may be how the one percent gets to live or at least have excellent choices available to them concerning whether they stay in their own home with help or move into a community with all kinds of bells and whistles.

As I look down the road for myself (even though I’ve got a good 20-25 years til I have to really make some concrete decisions) I realize that a.) I’m very grateful to have good help, b.) I’m very grateful to be married to whom I am married and for the choices we have made in our lives and c.) Although I appreciate lovely surroundings, pretty much if I live where I can enjoy the ocean and nature, I’ll be happy.  If I need it, I’m sure there will be health care workers who love seaside communities as much as me who can come visit my cabin.



Every once in awhile if I’m lucky, some of the wisdom and/or other people’s lessons make an impact on me and cause me to really consider what actions I want to take in my life instead of just floating along as a passive victim just taking what life dishes out.  I understand that I don’t have control over pretty much anyone or anything outside of myself; however, I can pay attention to how I’m feeling and thinking and take actions towards that which I believe so that I can live in concert with who I am.

I tell you what, if looking down the road now means that I might have to drive my twelve year old car just a wee bit longer so we can sock away some more money for a comfortable retirement I’m so on board with that now!  Sometimes delayed gratification is really the icing on the cake.

How about you? What do you see down your road?

DINK #174 Where And How Will You Live When You Get Older?

Posted on : 10-09-2010 | By : Lynn | In : Uncategorized

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My husband and I did not fool ourselves into thinking that any child of ours (if we had, had them) would have taken care of us in our old age. We knew better.  As it goes, we’re in very good health mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually but I can’t help but wonder how and in what way we will care for ourselves in our diamond years.  We do have a group of friends who we have travelled with extensively over the last decade and who we feel comfortable inviting over at the last minute to one of our homes and just hanging out, watching a sunset, or a movie or playing games.  This weekend we spent a good amount of time with each other and I realized that if my husband and I would ever live in a commune, these are the people we would want to share a big house with. Big being the operative word.

Seems to me that I have many friends who are either childless or have independent children that they would not want to saddle themselves to and more and more of us are talking about some kind of a commune living situation.  One of my coaching clients was working on a really great idea of a place last year. I hope she will continue to flush it out and make it happen.

Coming from the kind of stock that I do, I can’t picture us ever living in a nursing home even though our commune may become somewhat like that as we all age, there will still be the grooviness factor that you wouldn’t find in the usual kind of place.  As it is now with both my parents, my mom who is in her early 70’s and step-dad live on 10 acres out in the Big Bend country quite nicely by themselves. My dad, who is in his late 70’s lives in a three-story condo in Canada and plays tennis daily, is active in many organizations and travels all over the east coast in his sporty Cadillac.  Even my parents’ generation seems to be breaking the mold for where and how you will live when you get older.

So were the sixties just the training ground for what we will create for our future?  Sans the electric Kool-Aid and orgies, at least for any commune that I will be a part of!! But sharing music, meals, ideas, creativity, fun, and continual learning along with supporting and advocating for each other as life deems it necessary makes a whole lot of good sense to me.  Course, I realize that I couldn’t just do this kind of living with anybody.  I could with these particular friends because we share common values and feel comfortable with each other for extended periods of time along with basic things like everyone pitching in to create meals and cleaning up afterwards.

We’re still fairly young to be thinking about all of this yet, but as some of my older friends age I can see the importance of preparing for one’s future while it is still a choice.  I have one friend who recently moved into assisted living at a fairly young age (63) because of her declining health and it has been a very sobering thing to witness her going in and out of the hospital with pretty much no one really there for her as an advocate to take over the reigns when she is too weak to think about what her next best choice should be.  And she has two grown sons but both have their own families and careers and lives to think about.

Where and how will you live when you get older? What ideas do you have about this?