Tips for Aging Well

by Seattle Soccer Mom

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while and then was inspired by Scarlett’s question of why people don’t plan for older folks who are likely to have sudden medical crises (my answer – living in denial (about my father) seems easier in the short run than actually dealing with it; also there do not appear to be any good options).

Here are my thoughts on what I plan to do as I get older – but I’d also greatly appreciate tips on dealing with aging parents who have little financial resources and have not done any planning.

  • Exercise so I can maintain mobility for as long as possible. My mother a) did not exercise and b) was quite heavy the combination of which made her final years when she was dealing with cancer even more difficult. And even before the cancer diagnosis she would complain about all the stairs in our house or if she had to walk a couple blocks or walk up hill. This was in her 60s. When she was understandably quite weak from cancer, the fire dept. had to be called a couple times to help lift her as she was too heavy for her caregivers to lift.
  • If I’m going to relocate, try to do so when I’m in my 60’s and still have the capacity to make friends and develop a social network. My father relocated to Seattle when he was 77. He has short term memory issues which makes connecting with people and making new friends difficult. He is quite lonely as I am his only social support. My MIL, on the other hand, has lived in Tacoma almost her entire left and has a great support network.
  • Aging in a city seems or in a small/mid-size town where you can walk everywhere seems much easier than in a rural area (or a suburban area that requires driving). The plus of my dad moving to Seattle from Palm Springs is that he can walk to the grocery story and the gym and then take Uber and/or bus/train to places outside of his walking zone.
  • If you relocate, consider how easy it is for family to visit. My mom relocated in her 50s to Northwest Arkansas – beautiful area (Ozarks) – but it required 2 plane rides followed by a 2 ½ hour drive for any of us to visit her. She had to drive to go anywhere. When she got sick with pneumonia she was stuck (we rotated flying out to stay with her but that wasn’t a practical long-term solution). This experience caused my mom to relocate outside of Sacramento – easy airport access for the rest of us.
  • Move out of our current house (not at all age friendly and not really possible to make it age friendly) into a more age friendly house in our 60’s. Don’t wait until we are 83 and need a walker to realize that our current house isn’t age friendly.
  • Try to be proactive in planning for my old age and not just wait for a crisis that forces my kids to deal with it (aka my father’s approach).

Fellow totebaggers – what tips do you have? And I’d greatly appreciate any that have to do with aging parents who are stuck in denial (and don’t have the assets to move into a retirement community). And/or lessons learned from working with your parents.

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154 thoughts on “Tips for Aging Well

  1. My “plans”:
    1. Similar to SSM – If possible, live close to and/or easy access for children to visit, participate in my care giving. (My parents initially thought about retiring to Spain, which would have been a nightmare to assist with care or relocate them in their 80s.)
    2. Maintain financial independence – which means trying to make appropriate decisions throughout retirement. Also, if possible, pay for those plane tickets when then need to come care give.
    3. We have a family history of macular degeneration – I need to get more organized and purge more to make living with greatly reduced site more doable. Also, I have already told my kids, when I hit the threshold for a program in our state for independent living for the elderly who are blind – to sign me up. It is a 9 mo residential program, but I will need and benefit from it.
    4. Exercise – Mobility is critical – I need to do more weight bearing exercise.
    5. Maintaining social activities and friendships – As my girls are leaving the nest, I am trying to build relationships so that my interactions are not as focused on the people I meet via my girls’ activities.
    6. Technology – More and more, you can remain independent if you keep up with and adopt technology – from Instacart to Uber to Alexa to FaceTime.

  2. First, SSM, I’m sorry you are dealing with issues with your father. It is just very tough.
    We are doing most of what SSM plans, in our late 50’s. Moving this spring to the city an hour from where we live, where the married DS is as settled as a 20 something can be. Sure, he might move, but the city has an interstate, a major hospital system, and an airport. Current home has none of those. We learned from MIL’s choice of retirement location that all of those things are critical and their absence makes it very difficult to support aging parents.

    From my mother, I learned that keeping up with technology is a huge help. Mom learned her last thing in about 1980, and her friends who used ipads, texting, etc. just led richer lives. We could have really benefited from a grocery delivery service, for instance, but they all are tech based, and she was unable/unwilling to learn any of that. She also was unwilling to admit that she couldn’t hear (of course, everyone mumbled!) and I have sworn to my kids I’m getting hearing aides whether I need them or not.

    I know the whole “walkable neighborhood” thing is sacred here, but I have yet to meet an old person who has lost the ability to drive who retains the ability to pull a granny cart full of groceries several blocks crossing at traffic lights, so I’m skeptical about how helpful public transit and walkable neighborhood would be. We passed on downtown and went for a suburb in making our choice for the next phase.

  3. “I have sworn to my kids I’m getting hearing aides whether I need them or not.”

    I might do that too! Seriously, when I get complaints about hearing or anything else I will get it checked, whether I think I need it or not.

    I agree with HFN about walkable neighborhoods. It doesn’t always fit the situation, and sometimes driving allows much more freedom for seniors. (f course, assuming they still retain driving skills.)

    Poor vision is also a concern of mine, and this story made me think about how money can help smooth over many of life’s problems.
    https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/luxturna-gene-therapy-blindness-cost-850-000-n834261

    So much to think about.

  4. From my observation – I feel that one should shift to non impact exercise as one ages. I know this puts me at odds with many posters but injuries can sideline you more as you age.
    Downsize to a senior friendly home with amenities nearby (as HFN has done).
    All my elders regarded going to weekly church services and seeing their friends and relatives there as a sort of goal. This kept them quite active and doing their grocery shopping, errands, cooking and cleaning. Socially they were in contact with relatives and friends. Now with technology they have adopted smart phones and email to help keep in touch.
    I think as you age/retire it’s good to have some frequent goals whether it’s going to church, playing relaxed tennis (I see senior ladies when I take DD to lessons) or calling friends and relatives on their birthdays or anniversaries (my Mom’s friend does this).

  5. I am hopeful that we will retire and stay in NY metro. I do want to sell our current home within ten years and be settled in an apartment for the next phase. Or a small townhouse with bedroom on first floor. I just want to make sure we’re settled with no snow or landscaping responsibilities and the ability to enter and live on one floor – if necessary. I doubt this will be in NYC because DH has no interest and we want at least two bedrooms so we have room for guests and/or help.

    This might change if DD moves to the other side of the country, but we would like to stay here if that works out. We also expect to have to care for elderly relatives during our own retirement based on life expectancy on both sides.

    I want to be a snowbird in Florida. I do not care if we own, but I would like to start to spend our winters there as soon as DH retires because I don’t like the cold, ice and everything that happens here between Dec and March.

    We are both aware that many of our plans depend on our health. We’re careful about diet, exercise and visiting doctors. We are dealing with the impact that someone else’s poor choices can make on other family down the road. The diseases that my FIL and step MIL are dealing with could have probably been avoided or caught earlier if they made different life choices were made when they were younger. I love them, but their fight to stay alive now is consuming all of us.

    We are trying not to burden DD with financial issues or any health related stuff that could have been avoided. For example, if step MIL wanted to smoke at least a pack everyday, and drink… get a freaking mammo or colonoscopy before 70. Don’t wait until you have cancer in several organs. Her daughter will not help so that leaves us and a few cousins to do everything. It’s so overwhelming, but so many of her health and financial decisions could have been different if she had just listened to reason 20 or 30 years ago.

  6. When I lived in Manhattan and Hoboken, I saw plenty of little old ladies with the grocery carts walking to the stores. They just walked really slowly. I think that at the extreme of poor health and age, both driving and walking may well be off the table. But there are a lot of conditions that keep people from driving but allow then to walk – medications, impaired vision, slowed reactions, for example. And in fact, for a lot of health conditions, having a reason to walk, even slowly, leads to better heatlh.

    Personally, I think the single best thing you can do to prepare for really old age is to a) have a younger and more fit spouse b) keep good relations with your kids and live close enough that they can help out. Obviously, these things often don’t work out in real life :-)

    Exercise is of course really important but I have also seen how that becomes difficult as well, even for people who are active. The problem starts when you develop some kind of health condition that is exacerbated by particular forms of exercise. Suddenly, you can’t do what you are used to doing, but you don’t know what you can and can’t do without causing problems. The doctors don’t know because that isn’t their area of expertise, and PTs don’t know because they don’t have the medical knowledge. I saw this happen to both my father and FIL – both men who had been extremely active. Once my father developed major back problems, he couldn’t figure out how to keep exercising without making his back worse, and he couldn’t find anyone who knew enough about both his particular back problem and exercise to help him. Same for FIL once he developed leg circulatory problems. He couldn’t walk without a lot of pain, and he couldn’t figure out what else he could do. He became more and more immobile and became very depressed.

  7. My mom is in her mid 70s and has done a few things to age well.

    She sold my childhood, three story home and bought a smaller ranch-style home in a senior community not far from her old neighborhood, her sisters and my brother. She has a basement (so some stairs), but her bedroom, bathroom, main room and kitchen are all on the same floor. The community takes care of snow, leaf raking, yard maintenance and the like.

    She got a dog. He adores her and keeps her active and from feeling lonely.

    She’s still active in her church and does volunteer activities from time to time. Most of her friends also attend that church, so it/they are a good part of her social life.

    She goes to a gym twice a week.

  8. Everyone says to move to a new house or apartment. And my house is definitely not senior friendly. But the woman who owned the house before us raised 3 kids in it, and lived there until she died, in her 80’s. She marked off her kids heights once a year on the wall near our basement stairs. The markings, with their names, are still there. I would never get rid of them. Our old beloved cat traipsed across wet concrete when we had to do emergency basement work, a week after my first kid was born. The pawprints are still in the concrete, weaving a trail all around the basement. Our upstairs bathroom is in the same bright, joyous colors that we chose when the kids were little, and which I still love. My kitchen and walk in pantry were designed for the way I like to cook and do things. How could I leave this house? I think that would make me sink into total depression.

    My MIL, at age 95, is still in her senior unfriendly house, with her kids photos and mementos everywhere. She says the same thing.

  9. MM,
    Not trying to offend, but the irrational attachment to a house that no longer works in old age has been a major headache for adult children in at least half a dozen families we know.

  10. Mooshi – My great grandmother lived with my grandparents for years. She basically spent most of her time in an upstairs bedroom but did come down stairs for some meals. She was fine up until about age 103, still mentally sharp. One day she lost her balance, fell down the stairs and broke her hip. She went into a nursing home and her mind went. She died at age 107. I wonder if she’d lived in a ranch style home how much longer she’d have retained her mental faculty and lived.

  11. the irrational attachment to a house that no longer works

    Not even irrational – the attachment itself can be totally rational, but should probably be accompanied by a recognition that it may not always work.

    I really think the most important things are community/relationships and health (let’s assume the $$ is there as planned). I see a ton of fit older women in our neighborhood – no relaxed tennis for them, they could kick my ass – and they are always doing yoga, walking, gathering for wine tastings at our little restaurant. I secretly stalk them and want to be them.

    Our current house would be great for aging in, as is our neighborhood, but I wish I could pick them both up and move them to a more vibrant town, like Chapel Hill, Jacksonville, or Charleston.

  12. Yeah, I realize that. But a lot of choices elders make can lead to big headaches for the kids. My grandparents choice to move to FL was a big headache for my parents. I have a friend whose mom won;t move to CA to be hear her, but also decided to move out of NY where all her friends and support systems are. So now she is in NC with no nearby friends or family, and has developed a number of health conditions so my friend now has to fly across the country every month or two, while holding down a FT job and raising two kids.

    Part of the problem for me is that I don’t see myself retiring until I hit a point where I really can’t work. By that point, maybe the house will be an issue, but hopefully the kids will have moved someplace nice and I can just go there.

  13. How could I leave this house?

    I don’t think you have to if you’re smart and flexible about it. For example, assuming your washer and dryer is in the basement and you can’t really manage a laundry basket down the stairs anymore, pretend you’re in Europe and get one of those combo washer dryers for the kitchen.

    Same with a stair lift. Don’t wait until you’ve fallen down the stairs and laid there until you nearly died of dehydration. Get it 6 months before that. Or the walk in shower or tub or whatever, Don’t burden you kids with constant worry because your too vain, cheap, proud, stubborn or whatever to do what you need to do.

  14. “Mooshi – My great grandmother lived with my grandparents for years. She basically spent most of her time in an upstairs bedroom but did come down stairs for some meals. ”
    My DH’s maternal grandmother also lived upstairs from his family when he was small. They were in a triple decker. My DH actually thinks the reason she lived so long was because she was living with his family. It kept her from being isolated.

  15. As much as I say I do not want to move locally if we stay here, I’m pretty certain we’ll have to unless we decide to change our traditional living room and dining room on the first floor into a master suite which might make the house unmarketable someday. It’s unlikely we’ll stay here much into retirement, probably doing something like HFN.

    At least I’m doing a lot of cardio and resistance work, mowing my own lawn (walking), still doing other yard maintenance. But outsourcing the leaf raking & mulching may be in the near future. Gotta keep moving. I’d like to get back onto my road bike this spring/summer and do that on weekends/some evenings vs going to the gym. I really enjoy that as a form of exercise. We’ll see.

  16. I think the demands of “driving” depend on where you live. My grandmother successfully drove 15 miles on rural Iowa roads to the doctor and grocery store until she died. It’s not like driving in urban areas- you have to remain on the flat, straight road and not run into other vehicles, including slow tractors. She couldn’t walk for blocks by her mid ’90’s and used a walker with a seat to rest on in her house.

    I assume I’ll either die of cancer or live independently until my grandchildren are college age, based on family history, so I think mostly about caring for DH. I would be open to living with a child if the spouse was amenable. When I’ve observed this, it’s not for decades like in Louise’s case but rather for a year or two of decline. My elderly neighbors with “unsuitable” houses experience a similar couple years of ill health typically between when their house becomes unsuitable and death, but I don’t feel a need to move at 70 when I’ll either get cancer or be in decent health till my late 80’s.

    I agree that self-driving cars, dial-a-bus and taxis/uber are good options for transportation. Public transportation might be fine on weekdays, but I might want to go places on Sundays, holidays and after 5 PM. When I visited Boston, there was no public transportation to where I needed to go after 6 PM so limited hours for public transportation doesn’t seem like a problem limited to the small cities I’ve lived in.

  17. Driving in the dark is one reason that my parents don’t get out as much in the winter. The other reason is leftover snow/ice from storms because the sidewalks, and parking lots are slippery and dangerous for them even after the sun returns.

    I know my mother is going to the movies today, dinner tomorrow and a bunch of other errands on Sat morning because she knows that she may not be able to walk outside for several days after the ice/snow combo descends on this area this weekend.

  18. Driving after dark is often the first thing to go – IME.

    I’m already there. I hate driving after dark – it is SO dark where we live. No street lights.

  19. and after 5 PM

    Depending on how long the roll-out of self driving takes I wouldn’t be surprised if night vision systems become more popular.

    Another case where money can solve a lot of your aging problems.

  20. One of the unstated reasons we moved to where we are is because of our parents. Since one set lives with us and one set lives nearby for half the year, it was important that the weather be such that most of the year they can walk and get out of the house.
    Well, the flip side, is my kids ! They like the weather here and while driving through college campuses they want to know the weather August to May.

  21. Considering this topic over lunch, I was thinking about what I would need to maintain the ability to continue boating and cruising by water. And the obvious answer is a deckhand, later a captain. Which got me thinking, and I know this sounds silly and fanciful, but maybe it’s not. Why don’t I just hire a full time body man from about age 75 or 80 for the rest of my life?

    The job would pay about $80k in today’s dollars, plus health insurance and retirement contributions. Mostly 40 hours a week, some travel required and paid. No special training or qualifications, but generally just a flexible, reasonably capable person, and the job duties would, sadly but inevitably, progress throughout my natural decline.

    So, let’s say I hire him at 75 when I really don’t need it and am perfectly capable of doing most everything for myself. Fine, but there will be a bunch of little projects around the house with which to keep busy. Nothing fancy, maybe some touch up painting here and there, clean out and organize the garage, etc.

    In the meantime, we’re getting to know each other, he learns how to handle the lines on a boat, do some basic maintenance there, then he’s learning more and more about navigation, piloting, docking.

    If DW and I go on a cruise, he handles all the luggage and getting us to and from the terminal. He (and his spouse, if applicable and desired) get their own stateroom nearby. They assist us during port calls, or, if we’re too tired, we tell them to go have a good time.

    As necessary, he’s a driver, errand runner, doctor’s appointment scheduler and accompanier. As the years go on, he becomes the caretaker of the house, captain of the boat, personal valet, basic chef. Eventually, he’s a home health aide if necessary.

    Is there any reason not to do this? The $$ math works out fine, really.

    Disney World is chock full of 50-year-old male employees from Ohio and Pennsylvania –nametags — who seem generally capable in this regard and obviously eager to work, for a lot less in that case then I’m offering.

    When I was in college, I did a summer trip sailing to Bermuda, and we stayed there for a week. When Ross Perot found out we were in town, he entertained us for a day and a half. Obviously, he’s a billionaire, and so he had at least a small entourage most of the time. But there was one guy who seemed to accompany him pretty much constantly. When we were out on one of his speedboats, Ross had us up to 94 mph zipping across the Bay, and he’s laughing maniacally. When he started to take the turns a little too sharply, this guy ever-so-subtly reached from behind and pulled back on the throttles, where Ross didn’t even realize it because he was also carrying on a very animated conversation. And the guy glanced at me and half rolled his eyes to say “he gets a little crazy at times.

  22. “I’m already there. I hate driving after dark – it is SO dark where we live. No street lights.”

    Wouldn’t the new headlights help this out? They are brighter and cover a wider swath than traditional lights. (And are awesome for everyone but an oncoming driver..)

    Again, the closer we get to autonomous driving, the less this will be an issue.

    I worry about my mom not being able to read as she ages… I’m not as concerned as he has embraced her kindle. I find her navigating the ipad with ease as well. I will have to watch though for non-digital things – like medicine bottles or labels on food items. The last thing I need is for her to accidentally ingest something she’s allergic to.

  23. They’ve also come out with laser headlights that are much brighter but don’t blind oncoming drivers:

  24. MM sounds a lot like my dad, and her description of her house and memories so hits home. My dad put so much blood, sweat, and tears into my childhood home that it is filled with personal pride and memories (including my growth notches and now include his grandchildren’s growth notches). He now hires out almost everything, but there is still a lot of burden that my brother and I have endured with them still living in that house. Additionally, it is very hard on my mom to do stairs, so she mostly only goes back up the stairs at night. They are thinking about remodeling to make the living room a bedroom, but then the burden will eventually fall on my brother and I when we have to sell a house that has a very unique layout.

    One has to think about the limitations that your spouse may have, as well as the burden that keeping a home because of memories becomes on your children.

  25. Milo – that’s not a bad idea. Would you have the funds to sustain this employment for possibly 25 years (assuming live to 100)? Also, I would expect you’d have to find someone who’s willing to devote the 25 years to you, or be willing to train their replacement.

    This type of companionship could be very useful for a widowed spouse.

  26. If you don’t want to watch the whole thing go to 1:45 and it shows how it adapts the beam around oncoming cars to avoid blinding oncoming drivers.

  27. I am still not convinced that fully self driving cars are going to be a thing anytime soon. I think a lot of the technology will be used to enhance cars that are driven by humans. I also would not be surprised if a hybrid mass transit system based on semi-routed driverless vehicles arises in some more built up areas. Something kind of like an electric bus system, but with individual cars moving along the route. But I don’t see self driving cars, with no human input, barreling down the BQE anytime soon.

  28. Why don’t I just hire a full time body man from about age 75 or 80 for the rest of my life?

    It’s a great idea. You’d just have to make sure you have L or NoB (they do trusts and estates I think) make sure you’re set up so he or she can’t steal all of your money.

  29. Rhode – Yeah, the money would be there. $80k is probably higher than it needs to be, but I imagine it buys a lot of loyalty and some job satisfaction and willingness to learn and adapt to changing requirements.

    “Body man” is mostly a political term:
    https://hbr.org/2015/07/obamas-former-body-man-on-being-the-ultimate-assistant

    But you see it in a few other contexts. Like the show “The Blacklist,” where Dembe is referred to as Reddington’s body man, and is always at his side.

  30. Rhett – I agree. I’d want ironclad papers to keep everything separate. You don’t want employees trying to swindle you and you don’t want your family trying to oust a faithful employee because they are afraid of losing their share.

  31. 1. Aging in place – You can live in our house and only NEED to go upstairs to change the air filter, but have everything else you need downstairs. Likely the biggest issue would be master bath remodel to make more accessible for someone who needs a walker. Not at all doable for a wheelchair. Laundry would need a minor change, but at that point I would see more frequent housekeeping help needed and would shift those duties that direction. Cost-wise, we really don’t need 2200 square feet going forward. We are doing a lot of remodeling now – floors last year to hard surface and next up is the kitchen to make it more usable. Both changes facilitate aging in place and increase resale value from what was there before. I could easily stay here 20 years, unless I have a major health issue. SO is the greater uncertainty.

    2. Live-in Help for Milo – Mrs. Milo might also need help and you/she might not want a male assisting her. A friend of mine and her husband had “free” rent and utilities, and half cost of food in college because they were the “household” help for an elderly woman. My friend did the grocery shopping, made dinner every night for all of them, and light housework (heavy housework was done weekly by a maid service) and her husband did the yard work and minor repairs. They also drove her in her car to church, doctor’s appointments, etc. that she worked around their class schedule. The husband also had a part-time job for cash and because he had less work around the “house”. It was a good deal for all of them. I could see doing a small remodel and adding a wet bar (small sink, microwave, mini fridge) upstairs to allow some one to rent or have free rent for household help and have a bit more privacy,

    3. Car headlights – Some of the new ones when they are coming at you are almost blinding!

  32. Austin – That’s a good point, too. My body man could be a body woman. Like Huma Abedin.

    Or, I could have a body man when it’s appropriate, and more traditional home heath aide when the time comes.

    The first job *could* be open to my kids, if one or more were willing and available. It could even be shared as two part-time jobs. It would really have to be clear that the pay is truly separate and independent of what all of them would ultimately inherit. And the key is that they would really have to treat it like a job, not helping your Dad out for some extra money. Like when we want to go on a Viking Cruise down the Danube, that’s a work travel requirement, not a possible vacation suggestion from Grandpa.

  33. Re the aging in place…DH and I tried to design our house so that we could stay here forever. We have the first floor master suite, walk in shower, hard floors. All those things were REALLY nice when I broke my leg a few years ago. We will need to figure out some way to get into the house since there are steps to the first floor, but that is a doable issue that could be dealt with in a non ugly way when we finish the landscaping.

    I think driverless cars will be here fairly soon. Autosteer technology has been a thing on tractors for quite a while. It doesn’t seem like a huge reprograming/engineering issue to move over to passenger cars. I think the big issue will be legal.

  34. I love the idea of a body man. My 90 year old grandmother could really use someone like that.

  35. I have to say, I have learned a ton from everyone here about this. It seems the takeaway is to continue to push yourself beyond what’s comfortable. Need to do that in the gym to keep the body healthy; need to do that socially to maintain friendships and a healthy mindset; need to do that with skills and new ideas to keep the mind and attitude healthy. I’ve seen enough of settling slowly into rigidity and boredom, which is one of my worst fears; and yet I see that tendency within myself as well, so clearly I need to fight it.

    I am in Mooshi’s camp. Deciding to leave this house will be the hardest thing I have to deal with, other than the loss of a loved one. So my plan is to use money to solve our problems. ;-) The area here is perfect; once the new grocery store opens up, I will be able to get everything I need for daily life by walking a few blocks, and I can supplement that with periodic Ubers to doctors and places that are too far away to walk comfortably. And my house is reasonably set up to move to the first floor if I need to — we converted a downstairs full bath into a half bath to add my Costco closet and a coat closet, but I could easily convert that back and add one of those roll-in showers; and the two front rooms make it very easy to convert one of them into a bedroom — and all of that could go back to normal very easily. Hmm, guess I’d need a lift to get up/down the outdoor steps, but I assume that is also easily removeable.

    The biggest issue is just going to be the upkeep, which gets really expensive when you have to outsource it all. Which, of course, circles right back to using money to solve my problems. ;-) I guess if I wanted to, I could re-convert the entire house back into a two-flat and rent out the top to help pay for it all. ;-) Or if not that, at least there’d be plenty of room upstairs for a caregiver a la Milo’s.

    Of course, everything is changeable; if one of us ends up needing special care or treatment, or the kids move across the country, or whatever. But for now, I think my plan is ok — just have to remember to be flexible and open-minded when the time comes!

  36. “My 90 year old grandmother could really use someone like that.”

    For my wedding weekend, my mom hired one (using that term very loosely) for my 90-year-old grandfather so she could enjoy the whole time and not be worried about taking care of them. He took care of them completely for the three days. Met them at their hotel, drove them to the three events, was available as an arm to lean on getting in and out of the car, helped them find seats and their table, made sure they had a drink, that their food was OK for them, helped him to the bathroom, eagerly talked and laughed and danced with other guests. My grandparents loved him.

    But somehow, to have someone in their house, was like totally admitting defeat. Loss of independence and all that. Which is kind of a shame, when you think about it.

  37. Fascinating about the headlights. Next car I get, I should test drive it at night! That never even occurred to me. Agree with LfB, can learn a lot here.

    But somehow, to have someone in their house, was like totally admitting defeat. Loss of independence and all that. Which is kind of a shame, when you think about it

    Yes, when the truth is that it really leads to more independence. Another factor for my grandmother is spending the money. She is the most frugal person you have ever met. The money is there, but she won’t spend it.

  38. Milo,

    You’ve raised some good points. It really is surprising you idea isn’t more popular. Or maybe it is but you just don’t notice it. If you see a seemingly middle class person helping an elderly person at the doctor or on a plane or whatever you think they are one of their children.

  39. Next car I get, I should test drive it at night! That never even occurred to me

    IIHS has recently moved to include headlight performance when rating vehicle safety. As a result automakers have recently started to really improve headlight performance.

  40. The discussion of a “man” (or woman) made me remember taking my grandmother to doctors after her cancer diagnosis. I must have been in college and on break, but I was able to do this for a time. I had to fill out the forms for her, and needed to ask some key information (which was also slightly embarrassing for everyone). While I addressed her as “grandma” a lot, apparently not in front of the doctor. He wouldn’t talk to her with me in the room. She had to assure him that I was there to hear better for her and take notes. Of course in perfect old lady sarcasm, she said “She just filled out all my forms. She knows more about my medical history than you do right now.”

    So ya, like Rhett said, we may automatically assume a relationship.

    But if that person becomes an attendant, like i was for my gram at the doctor’s, the employer should make sure he has all the forms filled out that gives the “man” rights to be in the room with the employer.

  41. Rhett – I was wondering that, too.

    Personally, I wouldn’t introduce him as my body man. :) I would just say he’s a close family friend.

    It’s not necessarily all that much more expensive than full-service fancy assisted living.

  42. I have heard from both my parents and in laws of some seniors in the home country driving their kids or families nuts. My mother’s cousin was a doctor who wanted to maintain her independence. She had a chauffeur when she got too old to drive herself but one day she decided to get behind the wheel herself in the absence of her chauffeur and got into a bad accident. She hasn’t completely recovered. Her daughter is also a doctor and so is her son in law. They now have moved her to the nursing home that they run. This was a very active woman just addicted to driving herself.

  43. It’s a bit reassuring to hear others are bothered by night driving. This issue has recently started to stress me out. It’s good to hear about new and coming technology. Paradoxically, I find the rear view mirror “night vision” mode that turns on automatically on my car to be more distracting than helpful. I’ve thought of getting one of those seen on TV glare reduction gizmos, either glasses or the sun visor attachment.

    I also like the idea of a body man, or something of that sort.

    I don’t have a strong emotional attachment to my house such that I would resist moving out. My kids, otoh, love this house and say they want to “keep it in the family”. Unrealistic, although I know another local family that is planning on doing that with the third generation. Actually, that’s pretty common around here.

  44. On headlights – our new Subbie “winks” when the car takes a curve. It’s the headlights shifting to keep the road lit, but when we come around the corner of our street, our next door neighbor’s house goes from lit up to dark. Very creepy the first time we saw it.

  45. “It’s not necessarily all that much more expensive than full-service fancy assisted living.”

    That’s exactly what I was thinking.

  46. This was a very active woman just addicted to driving herself.

    I can totally sympathize with her. I could see myself as the blind Al Pacino in this scene with my body man:

  47. “Unrealistic, although I know another local family that is planning on doing that with the third generation. Actually, that’s pretty common around here.”

    Had we stayed in NJ, I think the plan was to sell my grandparents’ house to DH and I at the family discount. And would have bought us a house bigger than the one we have now… sadly with only 1/3 of the land though.

    In retrospect, we made the right decision. The people who owned the vacant lot next door, sold it to a developer and built a very large house on the small property (it required some variance because the lot isn’t standard). The street is WAY too crowded now. I would be miserable.

  48. Agree with those who question the usefulness of “walkability” for seniors who can no longer drive. Especially in urban and suburban areas with lots of impatient drivers, pedestrians who have limited vision and depth perception, hearing issues, and reaction time/mobility challenges are at risk of being mowed down by younger drivers glued to their phones. And if the seniors are also glued to their phones, even worse. Interesting that 8 of the 10 most dangerous metro areas for pedestrians are in….Florida.

    https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/01/10/509206453/walking-in-america-remains-dangerous-especially-in-florida

    Overall, one takeaway from my own experience and accompanying our aging parents is the importance of accepting all of the much smaller losses that begin as early as 40 (reading glasses anyone?). There is so much emphasis in our media and culture on the outlier old folks who are competing in Ironman competitions at 75, and admiration for the stubborn geezer who insists on cutting his own grass at 90, but that ignores the reality that we’re not going to be able to do everything at age 60 or 80 that we could do at 35. I thought I was a “young” grandparent at 55, but wow was that a wake-up call that I’m not as strong or flexible as I was when my own kids were babies. And no, I can’t spend hours working in the yard without taking breaks and switching activities, or drive the car on long trips without stopping every couple of hours to stretch the legs. And those are just little things. I have to learn to be OK with those things if I hope to be able gracefully to accept, when the time comes, that I can no longer drive or live on my own.

  49. “It really is surprising you idea isn’t more popular.”

    It’s a nice idea, but probably very hard to find the right person, especially if you’re envisioning a years-long relationship. It can actually be quite exhausting to be at the beck and call of someone else (especially an older, cranky person), for 40 hours a week. And realistically, your body (wo)man would have to live in so that you would have 24/7 help.

  50. And having had a nanny for many years when the kids were young, it’s not a picnic to manage household help. *sigh* :)

  51. but probably very hard to find the right person

    For $10/hr yes for $100/hr no. I don’t think it would be that hard if you’re willing to pay Milo’s $80k plus benefits.

  52. We installed a Ring doorbell that we bought in December and I think it would be another useful tool for elders. It is big brother-ish, but it would be great if we could watch my inlaws go in/out of their home. There is one step and they have a lot of problems with this step, AND we would also be able to monitor their movements in/out of the house. I know they don’t want to give up control, but I was thinking how amazing this would have been when we had a full time babysitters.

    It is funny when all of the kids at hebrew school start yelling my name wheel they are supposed to be doing something else. I sort of regret giving access to DD, but she wants to keep it for now.

  53. I agree with Rhett.

    I also disagree that they need to be there 24/7. Even when you’re at the point of needing some help getting in and out of the shower (and that’s usually pretty late in the game), you don’t need that coverage 24/7.

    Our cleaning lady can’t handle a boat (I presume) but I actually think she’d be thrilled to take the job right now in all other regards. We’ve known her for 10 years, I think she’d be good at it.

    She was telling us about one couple whom she’s worked for over many years. When the wife was getting near the end with terminal cancer, she paid her a fairly large amount of money in exchange for the promise that she’ll continue cleaning for the husband, and make sure the bed always has clean sheets. She was afraid that he might get too cheap or stubborn after she’s gone, but if the service was already paid for, he would have to let her continue.

  54. The royal protection officer assigned to Prince Philip was also uninjured.

    Poor guy. I can only imagine them in the palace break room drawing lots to see who gets stuck being driven around the the Duke.

  55. “I have yet to meet an old person who has lost the ability to drive who retains the ability to pull a granny cart full of groceries several blocks crossing at traffic lights”
    Go to Germany. Those little old ladies hauling their grocery carts up the subway stairs (when there is an elevator available) are tough as nails. The generation who lived through the war is mostly dying out, but I think they set the standard for the baby boomers who are approaching retirement now (the Baby Boom in Germany is younger than in America–had to rebuild before they could settle down & have kids).

    As a young woman in my Berlin apartment, I was very conscious of the old woman who had lived across the landing from me, alone, until a couple months after I moved in when she moved to an old folks home, of her own volition, very much in control of which of her belongings went where, and not upset about it. Whenever I thought something was too hard (even later, when I was single, working, dissertating mother to a newborn), I thought about her and those women with their carts. They figured out what needed to be done and how to do it, and did it.

    Then again, the efficiency next door to me was occupied by an even older woman. Her kids brought her groceries. I think she cooked herself, but I can’t remember ever seeing her descend the 2 flights of stairs to the street. She must’ve done it once in a while, because they took her to doctors’ offices. She had probably been tough at one point, but she was old and she died and they had to clean out the apartment, which, given its size, took a very long time. The other efficiency on our floor was abandoned; employees chucked everything in an afternoon, painted the next day, and that was about it.

    Lauren, ground floor in the city? Not for me, thanks! But a building with an elevator would make sense.

    Louise, I absolutely agree with you on low or no impact exercise. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that biking, swimming, weight lifting and yoga are just more fun to me than the dreaded run, or even stairclimber or what have you. But it’s important to do it.

    On moving to a place that’s easier to get around in, or moving to a new city in young old age, idk. My parents have had a place in Florida since their mid-/late 60s, and made friends. Their home there is all on one level, with a guest wing that can be closed off. There are tons of service workers there. The cold up North is seriously hard for them. But yet, as they consider old old age, they really can’t see doing it in Florida, no matter how many homes and geriatric care centers and the like there are there. The home they made over 30 years with the 3 of us is just home to them. Rhett, I wish I could convince them to make those kinds of changes to the Ohio house. But they think doing any of them would disrupt the floorplan (like anyone buying a house today wants to do laundry in an unfinished basement when bedrooms are on the second floor!) Idk what the objection to a stairlift is, but when she brings laundry upstairs, my mother sets the basket on a step, crawls on her hands to get her feet on the step below the basket, moves it, crawls…. She won’t let me take it from her either! Besides aging bodies, there are also aging minds to consider. My dad knows where the dishes and pantry are. His toothbrush has been stored in the same cabinet for 45 years. He knows exactly how to pull into and out of the drive/garage. If they move now, those things will all be gone, and he will be even more dependent.

    Milo, don’t offer your kids that job, and don’t set the starting salary, when there are minimal duties, at $80k, The person who’s there the first few years will want a raise beyond CoL when the duties increase, might quit if they don’t get it, and might quit anyway. The older you are, the more you’ll have to pay. And I believe Louise has told about “household help” robbing their decrepit employers.

    LfB, if one of you needs special care, I think you could find it in your current town. Of course, you have to know that you need it early enough to increase your health insurance & the like.

  56. For my own old age, I mostly hope to be near, and on good terms with, my son and his family. But then there is this idea have a younger and more fit spouse That one I can get to work on now! ;)

  57. Thanks for all the great observations and comments!

    One other observation from a friend of mine. Her parents are in their 80’s. About 6 years ago her mom started experiencing Alzheimer’s. It’s progressively been getting worse and her father was (and is) her caregiver. After quite a bit a cajoling from the kids, the parents finally moved into what sounds like a very nice assisted living facility this past Fall. My friend said it’s been a life-changer for her father because now he has so many more social interactions and connections. Her mom is now sleeping quite a bit (12 hours+) – so he can go to the onsite gym while she’s still asleep – something he couldn’t do when they lived in their house. He now has a circle of friends who are dealing with similar challenges. And when eating dinner in the dining hall, everyone understands if some sort of issue comes up. My friend said her dad looks years younger.

    So my takeaway is to also be proactive about at least thinking of moving into assisted living rather than having to be dragged kicking and screaming into it. This assumes you can find and can afford a good one. And lots of people will never need them. But dementia runs on DH’s side of the family – and I think if you’re the caregiver (like my friend’s father), it can gradually become more and more isolating.

    And I could use all the technology changes around night driving to happen ASAP. It’s definitely becoming an issue for me especially when it’s rainy as well as dark.

    On walkability – my father no longer drives but he can walk the 5 blocks to the grocery store and the gym. He lives alone so he’s not buy a ton of groceries and he goes to the store twice a week. Which in his case is an added bonus as it adds some social interaction into his day. And I think the walking is also good in terms of helping him maintain mobility. Also Seattle is much more pedestrian friendly than Palm Springs was. So many people are walking (at least in his neighborhood) that cars expect it. Whereas cars rarely anticipated pedestrians in Palm Springs (at least that was my sense when I went running).

  58. I started it, and I think I remember you mentioning what happens. But I *really* need to write a quick presentation for next week. :( I’ll have to read later.

    This is a boat that’s suitable for an older couple and their manservant. It simply looks the part:

    https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/2003/krogen-express-52–3479135/?refSource=browse listing

    Maybe the arrangement buys you a few more summers to do trips like this:

    http://www.bluewaterweb.com/t-down-e-circle-route-passage-planner.aspx

    Go all the way up Lake Champlain through New York / Vermont, run the length of the St. Lawrence Seaway out to the bay, ’round all of New Brunswick, down the coast of Maine and New England…God what a trip.

  59. Scarlett, I agree, and I wouldn’t have known how important this pre pay plan was until a few weeks ago. My inlaws typically go back and forth from Sloan with one of us or a cousin. Sometimes, this isn’t possible and we arranged for car service or Uber. A couple of weeks ago, we spent a day with my inlaws, and then left the hospital because her treatment was over. We walked to the subway to catch our train, but we left them waiting near the main entrance for their Uber. We don’t know how or why, but my FIL made them take the Long Island Railroad instead of Uber. We can’t even figure out the logistics of how they pulled this off because they can barely walk, and it is A LOT of walking/escalators from the sidewalk near Penn Station to the train tracks. The cousins had a long talk with my FIL and explained why he can never do this again, but he said that he made them take the train because he didn’t want to spend the money. I was really surprised because he isn’t usually like this about money. They don’t have a lot, but they definitely have enough money to pay for the transportation. Plus, the drug company reimburses some of the costs since it is a trial.

  60. My family ran into a problem with having paid help. We had an assistant for my grandma in the last two years of her life. She was great with her and my family paid her well, treating her like family. Grandma got along with her great and really appreciated the companionship. She spent between 50-60 hours a week with my grandma. However, after about a year my grandma’s dementia really kicked in and she started being extremely rude to her assistant, to the point that my parents were getting calls from the assistant in tears. My parents kept upping her pay, giving her bonuses to stay on. It was very stressful for my parents, even though they weren’t involved in the day to day care.

  61. Here’s your starter pack: There are also options like Oceania’s Around the World Voyage, which is a 180-day cruise happening annually from January to July.

  62. Lemon, excellent point! I know one elderly man who had to go into a nursing home basically because he sexually harassed every home health aid, with “jokes” and possibly touches, that he would’ve gotten away with in the 50s. They all left angry, many in tears. It was really hard for his daughters to deal with.

  63. However, after about a year my grandma’s dementia really kicked in and she started being extremely rude to her assistant, to the point that my parents were getting calls from the assistant in tears.

    But to be fair to Milo’s plan, when someone’s dementia has gotten to the point that they’re having these kids of personality changes, they really should be in a memory care unit, not at home with help. What Milo is really describing is a Brady Bunch Alice. Or Alex, as the case may be. A general housekeeper/helper. And when our needs go beyond that, then it’s probably time to move to a different living arrangement.

  64. “Another factor for my grandmother is spending the money. She is the most frugal person you have ever met. The money is there, but she won’t spend it.”

    Clearly you have never met my mother. ;-) Although the big shock of her advancing age is the sudden willingness to hire people to do stuff. I think my stepdad’s Parkinson’s helped break that dam, as hiring stuff out was the only way she could keep him from doing things that weren’t safe for him to do any longer. But much to my surprise, she has kept those folks and even expanded her outsourcing. Yay for her.

    The thing with driving is reaction time. My Granny should not have been driving for the past couple of years, even though she could walk just fine and her brain was in perfect shape; as cautious as she was, if someone ran out in front of her, she just wouldn’t have had the reaction time to avoid hitting them. She finally realized that she’d never forgive herself if she killed a kid and voluntarily handed over the keys. [And of *course* Florida is the least-safe place for pedestrians — it was built around the car, not pedestrians, and it is populated by a bunch of old people who shouldn’t be driving!]

    I just realized that my Granny does have someone like Milo’s body man — I think she’s officially a home health aide, but she basically takes care of old people for something like $20-25/hr. Before my Granny, she was a full-time helper for a very old man; now she is coming over @4 hrs/day to check in, do housecleaning and chores, make sure Granny gets lunch and that dinner is ready to go, helps her run errands or go to appointments, or whatever.

  65. “Overall, one takeaway from my own experience and accompanying our aging parents is the importance of accepting all of the much smaller losses that begin as early as 40 (reading glasses anyone?). There is so much emphasis in our media and culture on the outlier old folks who are competing in Ironman competitions at 75, and admiration for the stubborn geezer who insists on cutting his own grass at 90, but that ignores the reality that we’re not going to be able to do everything at age 60 or 80 that we could do at 35.”

    ITA. I love appreciating the old folks who can still do all that stuff. At the same time, doesn’t that focus almost validate the youth-focused obsession of our culture? To me, it says “look, these people are fantastic because they are still able to hang on to at least one Youth thing!” It still focuses on what you’ve lost (not to mention implying that those who don’t achieve all that Youthey stuff are a bunch of lazy slackers), instead of giving any value to the experience/wisdom/etc. that comes with age.

  66. My MIL has internet-connected security cameras in her house that BIL has access to. He usually calls her in the morning when she gets up and turns on her kitchen light. I think access to security cameras in your house is a great idea and am glad my MIL (who is still in good health and mentally sharp) is willing to share access and not view it as an invasion of privacy.

    My goal in old age is not to be curmudgeonly.

  67. July, when I was your kids’ age, I strongly wanted my parents to hang onto their home up North. I really regret it now.

    Scarlett, yep. https://www.wfla.com/news/hillsborough-county/tampa-bay-area-one-of-most-dangerous-in-us-for-pedestrians-bicyclists/994951198 Roads are constructed entirely for motorists, with no thought of balancing needs of other road users, or keeping people safe. This project is a super new idea, and very contentious. One thing that may have helped it along is that the roadway to be discussed here is not far at all from where the mother and her baby were killed by a few teenagers drag racing one afternoon about a year ago. https://www.tampagov.net/tss-transportation/info/projects/bay-to-bay

  68. Maybe we’ll see a scene on a future season of The Crown where 70-year-old Prince Charles is trying to take the car keys away from 97-year-old Prince Philip, and stubborn Dad is having none of it.

  69. What I’ve learned from my grandparents is to never insist on staying in my own house. My dad’s wife’s mom demanded she stay in her own house. She did not realize all the work it required of her family to keep her in the house. My maternal grandma moved to an assisted living after my grandpa passed away, and she had a really high quality of life. She was able to socialize more often and had an aging-in-place apartment. DH probably will resist moving, but I can see us moving to a condo downtown after the kids are out of the house. It’d make traveling easier too.

    My mom died at 61. Dealing with downsizing their house after they had been there was overwhelming. I put everything up in my attic, and it psychologically loomed over me for 10 years. I plan to get rid of as much stuff as possible so my kids don’t have to deal with it.

    I’ve learned a lot about aging well from my dad. When my mom passed away, he aged very quickly. Now, at 75, he looks younger than he did then. He is involved with raising funding for a technology start up his friends are involved in. He is extremely active in all of the grandkids activities. His wife is 5 years younger, and she is incredibly active. My dad is curious and an active learner, so his mind is still very sharp. I don’t know if he works out much, but he is in pretty good shape. I suspect soon though he’ll start to show more signs of aging, but at least all of my siblings are in town, so we can share the load. I suspect though my sisters will annoy me a lot when that time comes.

    My in-laws are not in very good physical shape, and that is really motivating me this year to improve my health. There is a lot of groaning and heavy sighing when they stand up or sit down. I’m burying my head in the sand when it comes time to help them with aging as they live in a very small town 4 hours away. It will be a lot of work and will most likely involve family drama. They don’t have a lot of money. When it comes time to sell the house, I’m not sure if we’ll even be able to find a seller. The house next door to them went to auction and sold for $11,000!

  70. “the importance of accepting all of the much smaller losses that begin as early as 40 (reading glasses anyone?). ”
    I didn’t realize I needed those at first, just genuinely thought I was losing mental abilities, along with having a lot of headaches. When I got them, I was surprised at my son’s opposition. He basically doesn’t want me to age, and fights any signs of it he sees. Give us a decade or two and I think–certainly hope–he’ll be able to deal with it. He does accept the readers now, even tells me to go get them sometimes.

    LfB, your characterization of Florida & driving safety–snort!

  71. “However, after about a year my grandma’s dementia really kicked in and she started being extremely rude to her assistant, to the point that my parents were getting calls from the assistant in tears.”

    Because they were in major denial, DH’s sibs had to arrange for home care for MIL while she waited for a spot to open up in a memory care unit. One common effect of dementia is that the filter is removed, and BIL lived in fear that his mom would make a comment about the race or ethnicity of non-white caregivers (the agency, understandably but inconveniently, would not send only white caregivers).

    One thing about the tough little old ladies in Berlin or NYC who zip around lugging their groceries five miles through the snow uphill both ways is that these women may never have learned to drive in the first place — they could be walking to their errands because they have always done that, not because they have lost the ability to drive.

  72. I started needing reading glasses a few years ago. I really hated them and resisted at first. I hate that they get little spots and grease on them and I can see the spots when I try to read. Now, though, I just keep cheap reading glasses in every room, along with lens wipes in little packets.

    I have to put on glasses to read text messages on my phone. It is so embarassing and makes me feel like a real geezer.

  73. “One thing about the tough little old ladies in Berlin or NYC who zip around lugging their groceries five miles through the snow uphill both ways is that these women may never have learned to drive in the first place — they could be walking to their errands because they have always done that, not because they have lost the ability to drive.”

    People generally don’t drive as much in Germany. So they are in better shape even as they get older. I saw that in France and the Netherlands – old ladies on bikes hauling stuff around.

  74. But LfBs comment about elderly drivers is spot on – there are many elderly who really should not be driving because they are a danger. They can still walk but shouldn’t be operating a hunk o’metal at high speeds.

  75. There also seems to be some idea that walkable precludes having a car. It certainly doesn’t with a totebag level of retirement savings. You can walk to the doctor, the bank, get a haircut, go to CVS and the grocery store but if you want to drive or uber or take the bus you can do that as well. It’s about having options vs. drive or be a shut-in.

  76. Scarlett, yes, they always lived where there was good public transit and good infrastructure, so, like many kids today, they had no need of driving or car maintenance. And as they age, they don’t need to invest in “keeping active”, because they have always known how to use their bodies this way. Even if they could drive, why would they want to? One of my favorite things in Germany is no car.

  77. Great post, SSM. There are so many good ideas here. My mother and father loved their former home and were reluctant to leave it for a CCRC. However, as my father became more and more frail, my mother had to assume all of the responsibility for maintaining the house (at 80 y/o) when she had never done anything like this before because my father had done everything himself. That, and taking care of my father, was too much of a burden for her, so they moved to the CCRC. The good news is that they’re really happy in their new home and community. They recently had a couple of inches of snow and my mom told me that it was so pretty to look at, especially since she didn’t have to worry about the plow guy showing up, ice dams, etc.

    Just this week I had a conversation with my sister, who lamented once more that my parents should have stayed put and she and her DH could have taken care whatever was needed. Not 5 minutes later, she mentions that they’re thinking of retiring somewhere south in 2020. Really? Who’s going to take care of Mom and Dad and their house then?

    After living through all this, DH and I see ourselves moving into a CCRC somewhere around 75. Youngest DS loves our home and says he wants it if we ever decide to move. I like it, too, but I’ll be ready to downsize when the time comes.

  78. Re younger and fitter (and more life-savvy) spouse. DH is 76 and lifelong “quirky.”

    A week or so ago he mentioned the tire light went on. I had him check the gas cap and it was loose – it is known software bug on Japanese cars that rights itself after 50 miles drive with gas cap on tight. After a few days and enough miles No progress, so I bought a tire pressure gauge fro 2.50 at Rite aid and his left rear tire was low. With snow coming I insisted we go today to fill it, which of course I had to do at the gas station since he has no idea. In the course of evaluating the car, I discovered that he has dinged in at least a dozen places the passenger side door of the car in the abutting parking space (not near mine – I have nothing to do with his car and have ridden in it exactly twice). I said, is that you? He said sheepishly, yes, I am now very careful. So I have to go over this weekend to offer to make this right. (They are modern Chinese immigrants, and all of the young non US born families treat him with respect because of his age and understand how he is a bit like their dotty uncle, so they would never say a word to him.) Then I noticed that the entire left side skirt (below the door sill) on his car (not sure if that is the exact name) is completely missing. Presumably it came loose in the same incident (usually snagging on a curb or something else in a parking lot) that caused the tire to lose pressure, and fell off at some point. He has no idea what happened.

    And we were at the bridge club today playing with other people and my partnership came in first and his was third. He has no extra cognitive decline or memory issues, just life awareness/management ones that have always been there to some extent and get worse and worse with age.

  79. “There also seems to be some idea that walkable precludes having a car. It certainly doesn’t with a totebag level of retirement savings. You can walk to the doctor, the bank, get a haircut, go to CVS and the grocery store but if you want to drive or uber or take the bus you can do that as well. It’s about having options vs. drive or be a shut-in.”

    Yes – this exactly. And it’s not lugging a cart for a mile to the grocery store to buy huge amounts of food, it’s a few blocks and a bag of groceries.

    @July – When the IL’s were selling their (totally impractical) large, early 1900’s, 3-story house with a large yard, some of the kids were throwing a guilt-trip fit about it. One kid, who lives many states away, was trying to get them not to sell it just in case he comes back to the area in 5-10 years so he could buy it from them – I’m sure at a discount. (eye roll to that BIL) Well, guess what. They moved into their single-level, newish construction, no-maintenance community, and they have loved it from day one. And none of the kids has really shed a tear since they moved because the IL’s are happy as can be. Their new place is even better for family gatherings in a lot of ways because it has a modern open layout, nicer “guest” bathrooms, and a better kitchen for gathering.

  80. Meme – my Dad has never handled making his own meals, doing laundry or dishes or the day to day tasks of the house. He had his mother and then his wife took over. It probably helps that he married my Mom who is several years younger than him. A few years ago my mother had a health scare. It upset her, more because she was forced to consider how they would manage if she was the one who needed help first.

  81. @Lark – What’s your favorite thing you’ve made so far from Smitten Kitchen everyday? I bought it, and I marked some things, but I haven’t actually cooked from it yet. My favorite tip from her is when you buy cruddy cherry/grap tomatoes from the grocery store to slow roast them in the oven. SO much better that way & easy to toss into salads/pasta, etc. Not as raisiny as sun dried tomatoes, but not wet either.

  82. “It’s about having options vs. drive or be a shut-in.”

    Of course. The point is that someone who has to give up driving because of physical or cognitive limitations is also, in many cases, unable to handle the demands of doing errands on foot. My 87-year old dad is still a safe driver, but now needs his cane even to walk even short distances. He can get his groceries into the trunk by pushing his cart out to the car, but there is no way he could walk, with his cane, and carry anything substantial for much more than the distance between the store and his car. Add in the ice that is common in parking lots and sidewalks around here long after the roads are dry, and it’s just not going to happen.

  83. “my Dad has never handled making his own meals, doing laundry or dishes or the day to day tasks of the house. He had his mother and then his wife took over.”

    This was my dad exactly. At one point when my mother was in her 60s, she had to have some pretty major surgery. She knew she was going to be in the hospital for a few days, and then in rehab for a couple of weeks. Prior to her surgery, she made about three weeks’ worth of meals, and froze them for my dad. She then showed him where the pots and dishes were stored, and how to turn on the stove and the microwave to heat the frozen food. He had seriously never done so much as boil water for himself. My mother’s sister also came over a few times while my mom was gone to help coach my dad re. things like doing laundry and loading the dishwasher. I think if my mom had been the first one to die, my dad would have remarried pronto, because he really couldn’t function on the domestic front without a wife.

  84. “is it me or is that the SS Minow”

    No. The lines of the SS Minnow are very 1960s’ish. The Krogen Express is one of the two most classic, timeless looking motor yachts I’ve seen on today’s market. The other is the Fleming, but that’s usually priced a bit further out of reach for those of us in the “Totebag Middle Class.”

    SM – We absolutely plan to do at least one of those six-month-or-more round-the-world cruises. No question about it. It will be awesome. Fortunately, I married an enthusiastic traveler. We initially thought that was one of our differences, as I was more of a house person. Then we found common ground on the travel-by-water overlap of our respective Venn diagrams.

  85. This has been a very good discussion. Thanks, SSM, for the topic. I’m summing up my takeaway as “how do I remain flexible enough in my elder years to make the changes we all know I should make?” Almost every thing that has been mentioned here about recognizing when the family home is too much was said by my parents over the years. Yet, when the time came, they absolutely adopted the “how can I leave this house” and had every reason why the little, reasonable changes could not possible be made. I almost went insane trying to get them to move the laundry from the basement to the mudroom on the first floor. That never happened, because it was impossible, even though, for 40 years, they had been saying “eventually we will move the laundry to the mudroom, so that everything is on the first floor.” Handling their inability to adjust to aging was traumatic for my siblings and me. I don’t wish it on any of you or on your kids.

    The ability to adjust to change is something that I think has been forced upon me as a result of multiple moves following DH’s career. So I think I’m ahead of the game, a bit. But recently I’ve found myself nervous about driving in a new city or something like that, and I know I’m too settled in my comfort zone and it is time to challenge myself with some serious change again.

    And I totally want to be one of those little old ladies hauling her stuff around NYC and Berlin and doing yoga and all of that. I just don’t want to be the one who is clutching to doorway as the kids haul her out to the nursing home after she set the kitchen on fire.

  86. “From my observation – I feel that one should shift to non impact exercise as one ages. I know this puts me at odds with many posters but injuries can sideline you more as you age.”

    From what I’ve heard and read, this would tend to increase your risk for osteopenia or osteoporosis.

    I think with age comes the need to change the balance point between the need, as LfB pointed out, to continue to push beyond what’s comfortable, and not being able to push as hard as was previously possible.

  87. “I want to be a snowbird in Florida.”

    Any special reason for Florida? Is it because there are already so many snowbirds there that snowbird support infrastructure already exists?

  88. “Suddenly, you can’t do what you are used to doing, but you don’t know what you can and can’t do without causing problems. The doctors don’t know because that isn’t their area of expertise, and PTs don’t know because they don’t have the medical knowledge.”

    Tying back to a recent discussion, this is where you might want to consult with sports medicine doctors. IME, they are more focused on getting you back active again than other doctors, whose focus might be more on just getting you healed.

    Also, IME sports medicine doctors work closely with PTs.

  89. We recently discussed how some people don’t move. This is one area in which that makes planning easier; many of us can’t really plan our older years because we don’t know where our kids will live.

  90. “Personally, I wouldn’t introduce him as my body man. :) I would just say he’s a close family friend.”

    Valet?

    Or in somewhat more modern parlance, personal assistant.

  91. “I also would not be surprised if a hybrid mass transit system based on semi-routed driverless vehicles arises in some more built up areas. Something kind of like an electric bus system, but with individual cars moving along the route.”

    Sounds like Personal Rapid Transit.

    A friend I met serving on a transportation advisory board back in my SV days was a big proponent of this back then, but I think driverless cars make it unlikely that this will ever be implemented on a large scale. OTOH, it addresses many of the concerns associated with driverless cars, and would make sense in built up areas where there is enough demand on fixed routes for them to be feasible.

  92. “Tying back to a recent discussion, this is where you might want to consult with sports medicine doctors. IME, they are more focused on getting you back active again than other doctors, whose focus might be more on just getting you healed.”
    For the most common kinds of health problems, I think you are right, especially if it is garden variety back problems. My father had severe spinal stenosis, and the sports medicine doctors that he went to didn’t have much luck finding exercise for him. They had him doing water walking for a time, but even that started causing problems.
    Even with my own lingering health problems, I have been running into this. My situation is considered rare. The sports medicine doctor never heard of it and has no idea.

  93. The NYTimes today had a sad article on what is happening to older “big guy” football players, and I think it is very germane to this discussion. These guys were really big in their playing days, and they also accumulated injuries. Once they retired, they start piling on weight, and the effects of the injuries make it very hard for them to exercise. And then as they become obese, the injuries are aggravated to the point where the ex-players profiled in the article are immobilized in some cases, and develop diabetes and heart problems, Even though these are football players, the cascade of injuries and health problems making it harder and harder to stay healthy is exactly what I saw with older members of my family. It is just happening earlier to the ex-players. Read it if you can access it. It is truly heartbreaking

  94. I think we will see Personal Rapid Transit before we see truly in the wild driverless cars. I can see it really working in places like Denver or even Seattle, places where they might have considered trolley systems instead. The advantage of the personal system is that you don’t have to wait for the trolley that goes on the route you need. You just go to the station, and program one to take you on the route you need. Yes, they will be predetermined routes, but probably still more convenient. Actually, I bet we see this first in places like China and Singapore/

  95. “I would be open to living with a child if the spouse was amenable. “

    Around here, it’s quite common, and encouraged by the current administration, to put a small unit in the back or side yard.

    Perhaps something like these: http://www.hawaiiadu.com/models/

    Or these: http://hardwarehawaii.com/adu-kit-homes/

    These look really interesting: https://www.bambooliving.com/index.php/2015-07-29-01-18-13/home-package-pricing

    I would be totally open to living in such a unit in the back yard of one of my kids if the spouse was amenable.

  96. The PRT my friend hoped to see developed wouldn’t need stations, so true point to point transportation was much more likely than with mass transit, and could be integrated with mass transit as a ‘last mile’ solution. The cars would be small, holding 2 to 6 people, and also wouldn’t have the limitation many transit systems have of shutting down, or not having frequent enough service, on weekends or evenings.

  97. I’ll make a lighthearted guess that personal driverless cars will become common in Seoul before Singapore. South Korea is also focused on optimizing power demand by charging electric cars when demand is low and I can imagine those two factors coming together. South Korea also seems like a sufficiently communitarian society that they will focus on the benefits of driverless cars once there is sufficient net benefit, rather than liability once they are safer than human-driven cars. I’m not sure the U.S. legal system would be equally willing to protect manufacturers from extraordinary liability claims.

  98. “So my takeaway is to also be proactive about at least thinking of moving into assisted living rather than having to be dragged kicking and screaming into it.”

    I may sound like a broken record on this, but I suggest that if considering moving into a senior home with social life being one of the motivations, you consider moving when you are relatively young and not in need of assistance, and to a home with others in a similar situation.

    I’ve mentioned the experience at my dad’s assisted living home, where the frequent turnover made residents, and I’m guessing especially those with relatively long life expectancies, reticent about investing in relationships with other residents.

    Perhaps a community centered around golf and tennis would tend to attract a relatively young and active crowd, perhaps one that calls itself a retirement community.

    Perhaps PTM has the right idea, moving to The Villages as soon as Junior flies the nest.

  99. I haven’t heard about Kia or Hyundai investing a lot of money and effort in driverless cars.

    In Seoul, nearly all the cars on the roads are either Kias or Hyundais, with a few Genesis here and there. I don’t see personal driverless cars becoming common there unless a Korean company develops them.

    Seoul also has a pretty good transit system.

    But I do agree with you about the communitarian society not just there, but in many Asian countries.

  100. @Ivy broccoli / rice fritters were a huge hit, and the street chicken and rice was inhaled by my family. No leftovers even though it made a huge amount.

  101. Finn,

    I haven’t heard about Kia or Hyundai investing a lot of money and effort in driverless cars.

    To navigate this treacherous ring, Hyundai deployed its most advanced software controls yet, processing data from four radar units and six lidar laser sensors at the front and rear of the vehicle, along with cameras to help look for obstacles and read lane markings and signs. As the Nexo approached the roundabout, a display above the glove box indicated it was tracking all the vehicles within 100 meters, in every direction—no head on a swivel or peering at mirrors necessary. In moderate traffic, it waited until it had a large gap to make its entry, then moved with precision and at a normal speed. It stopped once, when another car threatened to enter the circle without yielding.

    https://www.wired.com/story/hyundai-nexo-hydrogen-fuel-cell-self-driving/

  102. I’m not convinced that most people who can just barely get their groceries to their own car are not better off in an Uber or something else. I have trouble believing that most people with significant mobility issues have the reflexes to truly be a good/safe driver in the winter either.

  103. @Finn – I agree with you about moving before you have to because there are social benefits. But I am one of the minority here who thinks living in a senior community sounds appealing.

  104. Ivy – I’m with you – someone else doing the cooking and maintenance? Sign me up! There’s a place in Seattle that I already have my eye on. I have no idea what it’s like on the inside or the services it provides – but it has a spectacular view of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. I’ve always had a fantasy of living in a place where I could watch the sun set behind the Olympic Mountains.

    MM – I read that article on the football players on the bus home tonight. Some of the comments by parents of high school and college players were interesting, They talked about the pressure their sons faced to put on weight to unhealthy levels.

  105. Finn, no. Weight-bearing exercise is effective against osteoporosis. No need for jarring impacts.

    Milo, how sweet that your circles overlap!

    HFN, very funny (except for the real danger of the kitchen catching on fire)

    Louise/NoB, that used to be my mom, except my dad lived alone in college so had a little bit of a clue. When he started to decline, she put a lot of energy into making sure he knew where things were and how to do basic things. For example, she had him dry dishes and put them away. These days, I don’t think she worries about that so much because it’s pretty clear he wouldn’t be able to be on his own anyway.

    MM, I see that article starts off with a mention of the head injuries. This article still haunts me. My son knows I intentionally kept him out of football, and these days he thanks me for it. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/02/opinion/sunday/nfl-cte-brain-damage.html

    Finn, sure, moving to a community where there are lots of active retirees sounds great, but what about after that?

    Ivy, totally agree with you on your 9:41 post about mobility and groceries.

  106. Finn,

    There are two types of osteoporosis exercises that are important for building and maintaining bone density: weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises.

    Weight-bearing exercises can be high-impact or low-impact.

    … If you have broken a bone due to osteoporosis or are at risk of breaking a bone, you may need to avoid high-impact exercises. I

    https://www.nof.org/patients/fracturesfall-prevention/exercisesafe-movement/osteoporosis-exercise-for-strong-bones/

  107. I’m not convinced that most people who can just barely get their groceries to their own car are not better off in an Uber or something else.

    I’d also be curious to see what would happen if they raised the driving age to 18. How much of the drop is due to 16 year olds being new drivers and how much is due to a gain in maturity from 16 to 18.

  108. Rhett, there are some states where the age is 17, so you could compare the rates for 17 year olds in those states with states where the age is 16. That would give some of an idea.

  109. Interesting factoid – A total of 2,820 teenagers ages 13-19 died in motor vehicle crashes in 2016. This is 68 percent fewer than in 1975 Almost 70% – that’s a lot.

  110. I’ve always thought it was interesting that there is a minimum driving age but no maximum. When I took my 85 year old mother to the DMV to renew her license they handed her a 10 year license based solely on passing a vision exam. Amazing.

  111. S&M, the list of exercises that are safe and unsafe for osteoporesis is interesting. However, why is hiking high impact, but walking on a treadmill is not? I know quite a few people who can’t run any more, but hike instead. It is a lot more interesting than walking on a treadmill!!!

  112. The other thing of note about that list is how depressingly limited things become once you have a health condition like osteoporoesis. All the fun, outdoor activities are on the no-no list, and the only things left are boring gym machines like treadmills and stair machines. Yuck!

  113. However, why is hiking high impact, but walking on a treadmill is not?

    Maybe they are referring to the higher fall risk associated with hiking?

  114. MM,

    The google says “low impact” is defined as any exercise in which one foot always remains on the ground.

    Then you have this:

    High-impact exercise such as dancing, aerobics, jogging and hiking can provide this stimulation,” explains Dr. David Wang, a primary care sports medicine physician at the Hospital for Special Surgery Paramus Outpatient Center in New Jersey. Low-impact exercise like swimming and cycling, however, doesn’t stress the bone to the same degree, so it doesn’t result in the same amount of bone growth. That’s why gymnasts boast some of the population’s greater bone density levels – greater, in fact, than those of swimmers, says Dr. Susan Joy, a sports and exercise medicine physician with Cleveland Clinic Sports Health and a consultant for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    I bet the term “high impact” or “low impact” isn’t well defined.

  115. @Mooshi, I suspect they are focusing on the cushy/bouncy surface of the treadmill as compared to scrambling over rocks and hard-packed dirt and all. I’m with you — I’d definitely consider hiking low-impact. Then again, I don’t have osteoporosis (hallelujah), so I am not in a position to really understand what is dangerous and what isn’t.

    Tangentially, I’ve been working on serious strength-building for the beginning of the year (strongman training — not because I want to compete or get super-buff, but because it’s fun and different). And I have definitely noticed that the evening/morning after a training session, I am craving both protein and milk.* So I have to hope that the work is doing good things for my future skeletal health. ;-)

    *I am also doing the gym’s nutrition program and tracking what I eat, so I can clearly see the difference in the numbers — it’s funny because overall calories remain about the same, but the protein goes way up and carbs go up a little, and fat goes down).

  116. I looked at a few osteoporesis sites just now, and find that they are all over the place. Some say hiking is great, others say “no brisk walking”. Most say no yoga or pilates, but then a couple say those are recommended.
    This gets back to why people with chronic health conditions find it so hard to exercise. Because really, no one knows.

  117. “High-impact exercise such as dancing, aerobics, jogging and hiking can provide this stimulation,” explains Dr. David Wang, a primary care sports medicine physician at the Hospital for Special Surgery Paramus Outpatient Center in New Jersey. Low-impact exercise like swimming and cycling, however, doesn’t stress the bone to the same degree, so it doesn’t result in the same amount of bone growth.”

    I wonder if musculoskeletal system training works similarly to cardiovascular training. I.e., there is all this research about how high-intensity interval training improves your cardiovascular system faster and more effectively than anything else. So I wonder if high-intensity short-term load-bearing work would have the same effect on the musculoskeletal system. That would certainly seem consistent with my experience — the *need* to eat certain foods after those high-intensity days is just fundamentally different than what I feel like after a normal day of lifting or an aerobic/endurance-focused workout. “Hunger” isn’t even the right word for it.

    Of course, I would also assume that that kind of high-demand work would pose a significantly greater risk of fracture if you are already at risk, so I would also imagine that no doctor would generally recommend that approach out of fear of doing more harm than good.

  118. “The ability to adjust to change is something that I think has been forced upon me as a result of multiple moves following DH’s career.”

    We’ve only lived in three homes with our kids, but that was enough moving to prevent us from becoming unduly attached to a house as both sets of parents were/are.

    MIL moved into assisted living 10 months ago, but the house is still sitting there, with some furniture and decorative stuff removed by the kids, because SIL — who lives 2000 miles away — balked at selling the home that her parents worked so hard on. And because she wants a free place to stay when she visits. One of the grandkids is living there now to keep thieves from stealing the copper pipes (evidently that is a thing) and Lord knows when it will actually be put on the market.

    My 80-something aunt and uncle just moved out of their unsuitable home of 40+ years after an injury left her unable to manage stairs, but he refuses to sell the house, which is loaded with junk. He drives over there from their new assisted living place a few days a week, and sorts through stuff, then comes back. Their most reliable son, who lives several hours away, has been driven to distraction over this situation, but he is actually secretly relieved that his mom broke her hip. She is fully recovered, thankfully, and absolutely loves her new home. It’s her quirky husband, definitely on the spectrum, who can’t let it go.

  119. MM, I was diagnosed with osteoporosis after my cancer treatment was completed. It is utterly astounding that both primary care physicians and so-called experts in osteoporosis automatically hand out prescriptions for Fosamax (and worse) based on virtually no solid research. DH was appalled after he started looking at the data. I opted not to take the drugs, and have been diligent about calcium and Vitamin D and adding weight-bearing exercise to my swimming routine. My PCP was fine with this approach, especially because my second DEXA scan showed some improvement in bone density. I also found a good reference book — “Dr. Lani’s No-Nonsense Bone Health Guide.”

    My two cents is that you’re not going to find a reliable, authoritative answer to your questions about optimal exercise programs, and that tweaking whatever you’re doing now is probably fine. It makes no sense to give up an activity that you love, such as hiking, because of concerns that it poses risks to your bones. You could just as easily fall on an icy sidewalk.

  120. “We’ve only lived in three homes with our kids, but that was enough moving to prevent us from becoming unduly attached to a house as both sets of parents were/are.”

    I think it’s a personality thing more than a number-of-moves thing — I have also lived in 3 houses with kids, and moving out of the first was ridiculously hard and emotional, and so will this one be. I am a nester and just have to sort of burrow in and attach to whatever space I am currently living in to feel comfortable and rooted.

  121. I am a nester and just have to sort of burrow in and attach to whatever space I am currently living in to feel comfortable and rooted.

    I on the other hand feel perfectly at home anywhere I am. In fact, I used one of my suite upgrades in Spain and the room came with a butler who brought breakfast every morning. I thought to myself, “Ah, this is the way I was meant to live.”

  122. “I am a nester and just have to sort of burrow in and attach to whatever space I am currently living in to feel comfortable and rooted.”

    Me too, but having wrenched myself out of two homes into which I had rooted, I have confidence that I can do it again. That’s the benefit, IMO, of moving around a bit. Had we been in the financial position to purchase home #2 first, and DH not taken his current position requiring the move to home #3, I would have been inclined to stay in home #2 forever.

  123. I agree wholeheartedly with The comment above about nesting and attachment to stuff. That is a major reason to take up culling and decluttering in real time. With age the stamina to go through it all and affirmatively make those choices declines. Also the thought of letting someone in to see the mess becomes overwhelming, even if the unit has become unoccupied. We have 1 abandoned unit out if 21 in the complex. The womans family has money, she lives near family on the cape, but she wont sell the townhouse to a flipper because she cant bring herself to come up to clean it out. There has already been damage, twice. We also drive by frequently a freestanding house in a wealthy burb that is abandoned and damaged and i am sure an object of neighborhood disgust. That is probably a family dispute or medicaid spend down issue.

    There are valid reasons for staying in place and even forgoing significant remodeling, such as not moving the toothbrush or changing the cable lineup, especially as cognitive decline sets in. There is also no substitute for lifelong community ties, as long as the parish down the street doesn’t close or the bowling league doesn’t decamp for Florida or Arizona.

  124. I moved over and over and over, throughout my childhood. I moved a lot as an adult too. I learned to have no attachments to any apartment or house. However, we bought this house, a year before my first was born, with the intention of finally staying put. I have lived here longer, 4 times longer in fact than the runner up, than any other home. We renovated the house into something that really matches our lifestyle. And my kids grew up here. So for the first time, I have an attachment to a house.

    I was also sad when we sold my mother’s house, but that was in part due to the fact that I was mourning her sudden passing. Her house was like her baby, and she had poured her quirky, artistic nature into every corner of the house and yard. Her garden had even been featured in the newpaper. I hated the idea of some generic yuppies (this was a newly trendy neighborhood) coming in and painting over all her wild color schemes.

  125. Meme – I keep meaning to thank you. Some months back you mentioned that taking biotin had helped with eyelashes and fingernails. I’ve always had weak fingernails (i.e. they break easily) – but when I turned 51-52, I noticed my eyelashes were significantly shorter than they used to be. Which bothered me (pure vanity). I started taking biotin supplements and I think they’ve really helped by eyelashes grow – not as long as they used to be but not nearly as stubby as they were 4 months ago. And my fingernails are also stronger than they used to be. Thank you!

  126. Part of my job is to call people in the middle of the night and tell them they have had a critical lab result. We have thousands (10s of thousands?) of “routine” labs drawn each day. Overnight 1-5 of these will have a “panic” result. I determine whether there is really a problem (based on the chart – if your blood count is always critically low, you don’t need to go to your local ER at 3am. However, if you went to your doctor for fatigue today, and labs show you have a red blood count low enough to imminently cause a stroke or heart attack, you probably need to make haste.

    The majority of the people I call are elderly. At least half of them argue with me about going in – generally I tell them not to drive, as they have an acute, process that makes that unsafe. “No one can drive me” “I can’t wake up my daughter” etc. I suggest taxi, uber, neighbor, ambulance(these are situations where 911 would be fully appropriate) and emphasize the life-threatening nature of the result. Like my colleagues, probably I convince less than half of the patients to come in. While some truly can’t afford a taxi, the majority simply don’t want to pay. I want to not be crazy cheap when I am (hopefully) a home-dwelling elderly person.

  127. “such as not moving the toothbrush or changing the cable lineup, especially as cognitive decline sets in.”

    This is so true. MIL’s ancient remote gave up the ghost during her last year in the house, and she could not for the life of her manage the new one. Even with instructions printed out.

  128. Earlier in life, for osteoporosis prevention, I’d move hiking over to the “low impact” side of things, but I noticed that on the osteoporosis page I linked to, they specified that their delineation of un/safe exercises was for people who had already broken a bone or were at high risk to do so. Like MM, I groaned at the list of indoor machines for exercise, and don’t find hiking to be high impact. Anything involving running would be, and I suspect that if we are talking just about damage to bones, the repeated hammering of every bone in your body, from feet through hips and shoulders, that comes with running for miles would have to be worse than, say, tennis or soccer, where there are lots of starts and stops, but not the incessant pounding, and the surface you’re on is much softer than a sidewalk or where ever people run. Can you guess my least favorite form of exercise? ;)

  129. Meme, yeah, your toothbrush comment is what I was trying to get at about my dad. I wish they’d sold their OH home when I was the age July’s kids are now, because he will be forever rummaging through kitchen cupboards for a coffee cup or fumbling around the bathroom for his toothbrush. You’re smart to have moved & gotten resettled early.

  130. In soccer, you often end up running a long distance over the course of a game, and the fake grass surfaces are very hard. On top of that, the constant starts and stops make it more likely to injure joints due to twists and strains. Soccer is actually a very high injury sport.

    I haven’t been running, and boy do I miss it. When I run, or even walk, I often head to the HS track because it is made out of something nice and squishy. My DH, who has managed to survive many years of marathoning, is absolutely anal about running surfaces. He will not run on sidewalks made out of concrete because the surface is too hard.

  131. I ran today for just the second time, and have some discomfort, but I can’t decide if it is normal running soreness that comes with 3 months off, or the pain that led to injury in the first place. Fingers crossed for the former.

  132. Running is really good for building bone strength, and contrary to popular belief, runners tend to have less joint pain than the general population. The problem one can run into (ha, pun totally not intended) is if you run too much and don’t give your bone enough time to remodel. *Raises hand*

  133. “contrary to popular belief, runners tend to have less joint pain than the general population.”

    Isn’t there significant selection bias in this, though? Because presumably people who have significant joint pain from running stop running. Like, you know, me. ;-) I certainly don’t think that running causes joint pain or other problems in everyone, but I do think that it will for people who are predisposed to it.

  134. I’ve given up reading the mainstream media for health stuff. The public health people have an agenda that has very little correlation with science and a huge correlation with moralistic smugness. If you go look at the actual research, there’s not much evidence that any kind of exercise really builds up bone in women over 50. Men yes, women no. But exercise has lots of other benefits.

  135. “constant starts and stops make it more likely to injure joints due to twists and strains. Soccer is actually a very high injury sport.”
    Yes, I know that. That’s why I prefaced my comment by saying I was referring to bone density only. I’m glad to hear you and your husband are sticking to softer surfaces.

  136. “Running is really good for building bone strength”

    Honest question: It makes sense for the lower body, and even the spine, but how about for the rest of the upper body, e.g., wrist, fingers? Is the overall jostling of the body enough to help those bones?

    My guess is that a cross-training routine makes the most sense in many ways, including for bone density. E.g., upper body weight training would probably be more beneficial to arm and hand bone density than walking, and perhaps even running.

    Our skulls are among our most important bones. I wonder what exercises help with skull density. I suppose some of the exercises wrestlers do (as well as wrestling as an exercise) would help. I suppose boxing might also help, but then there are other risks associated with that.

  137. @Finn – I suspect most of the focus is on lower-body issues because from what I understand, it’s really the spine that has the most impact on health. My great-aunt had osteoporosis, and the fractures in her spine over time caused her to hunch over and really compressed her lungs, which interfered with her breathing, which made her reliant on a number of breathing meds and treatments, the failure of which ultimately killed her.

  138. What LfB said. Lower body injuries have much more effect on quality of life because they affect mobility.

  139. As with so many things, it is hard to know what works and what doesn’t in individual situations because we can’t go back and live a different life and observe the outcome. Would one’s mother not have broken her hip falling out of bed at age 89 if she had done more weight bearing exercise? Would she have adjusted better to the CCRC if she had not stayed in the same house for 45 years? There’s really no way to know. Would the kids I know who were adopted out of foster care by totebaggers and now are a marine and a hairdresser have managed that level of success absent the totebag influence on their lives since mid elementary school, which influence obviously did not include an onramp to the calculus track? There’s no way to know for sure. But I do know for sure that if MIL had dealt with her own crap, DH and I would not have spent the week hauling to the dump, for instance, all the bolts of leftover fabric from that time she redecorated her prior house in 1982, and boxes of books and elementary school report cards, which now are moldy and mouse nibbled. This is what I am determined to spare my children.

    I have read many times that most of what is stored in an attic/basement ultimately is thrown out because it is ruined by the moisture/heat/lack of ventilation/critters, and in cleaning out 3 overstuffed homes of elderly relatives, I’ve found that to be true. I know that YOUR attics/basements/storage units have preserved all of their contents like a museum, but that has not been my experience.

  140. I’m seventy and preparing for “Elder-hood” the term I like for aging. My mother is 95 and still in her own home although she is failing. That means I could live another 25 yrs, a scary thought, I exercise every day but know I will have exercise for the rest of my life.

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