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Living with old age

Discussion in 'Retirement' started by Mathsteach2, Feb 2, 2016.

  1. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    Where else can I put this rant? A forum entitled "Old Age" might be appropriate, and "Personal" just is not the place.
    My wife and myself are now in our seventies, both retired, of course, from nursing and teaching respectively, and in moderate health. Neither of us are fully mobile, we rarely get out of our house.

    My wife's main interests are talking with friends and family on the telephone, mine are being with her and watching a film together on the TV. We sleep together for long periods, in the afternoon, throughout the night, and sometimes in the late morning. We cook, clean up, and generally keep ourselves clean, fed, and active as much as possible, she with aches and pains, myself with arthritis and confined to a wheel chair to move throughout the house.

    We are inspired by Bernie Sanders, (and Winston Churchill!), for whom their age made little impression on their endeavours. I have a chronic wound on my ankle (three years now), my wife does the dressings twice per week, and now she wants to become a wound specialist! There are none in Barbados. All I want is to see out my old age, catching up on classic novels and films and operas, and not be a burden to my wife. American politics has caught the interests of both of us - I am suggesting Trump could become another Hitler!

    Unlike many who post in this forum, we do not have large pensions to do anything else, we do not have a "bucket list". I suffer, for the first time in my life, from mild depression, but reading and writing on the Internet helps. Does anyone here have any further suggestions as to what we might do in our old age? Knitting, reading, gardening or any other activity (I was a great Meccano enthusiast!) seem to have no appeal. We have given up church attendance (too hypocritical and money hungry - we do not believe in tithes and offerings), but our house is open to anyone and we welcome guests, as long as they bring their own food, or pay us if they stay!

    Any comments, supportive or critical, will be read with interest. Many thanks to anyone who has read as far as this.
  2. Yoda-

    Yoda- Lead commenter

    The life you describe is not so dissimilar from my parents.

    They seem to make a point of going out once a week (not including shopping). Usually it's to look round somewhere interesting. This can be a town, stately home or somewhere scenic. They may have a snack or meal while there. I think this is part of their routine. They see it as a treat and something to look forward to, though they don't splash out when they do this.

    It's good to have something to regularly look forward to.

    A good rant is healthy.

    I look forward to reading other peoples thoughts.
  3. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    Do you write a blog or make comments on other blogs that interest you? You probably already do that. What about reading and writing poetry - it might help your mood to express yourself and publish online. Are you on twitter? You can follow people you admire and that can be amusing and keep you in the swim.
    As for exercise - you could research an exercise regime that you could follow within your limitations and record your progress on a blog.
    What about local politics? You could contact local organisations to see what you could offer them.
    I didn't understand the reference to Barbados - do you live there?
  4. frangipani123

    frangipani123 Lead commenter

    Would you be interested in any of the free online courses such as run by Futurelearn, plus many American universities?

    Do you have anyone who can take you outside at least once a week - maybe being indoors and out of the sun may have contributed to your mild depression.

    You mention people staying with you, perhaps a limited Airbnb offering may be a possibility?
  5. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    Many thanks for these three responses, Yoda_, lindenlea and frangipani123, you all give some encouragement and helpful suggestions.

    I need to clarify something from my first post. I am OK with reading, preferring Tolstoy and Dickens (although I read quite a few more recent novels when I was in hospital), but my wife has never been an enthusiastic reader and now her eyes are not so good. We are planning some cataract surgery. She enjoys gardening, but is not really fit enough to do very much.

    Working through your suggestions, anything involving a commitment to others is really on for us, our health is not that stable, therefore we cannot consider Airbnb, on-line courses or local politics. An exercise regime is good, and in fact we do observe Lent abstentions. My wife has one nephew who will give us a lot of support and an occasional trip out.

    The most attractive suggestion is to commit, to ourselves only, a weekly inexpensive trip out. We would have to use a taxi which could carry my wheelchair in its boot, and we could take a packed lunch or buy one out. We are retired in Barbados so I guess we are luckier than most!

    Motivation is the biggest obstacle. By the time we have cleaned ourselves up, eaten and tidied the house, we crash out, sleep, and afterwards try to find a decent film on the TV. Our new laptop is connected to the TV, so a greater variety of films and music etc. are possible.

    Living in old age has to be worked at as hard as doing a full-time job!! Would winning the lottery solve our confinement (to old age)?
    Yoda- likes this.
  6. frangipani123

    frangipani123 Lead commenter

    Glad that you have found the suggestions useful - getting outside is a great thing to do and really does lift the mood. With planning I hope you can manage it.

    Regarding the online courses, they require very little commitment and in fact you can skip bits of them as you wish. Some only last for 2 weeks, many only 4 weeks with about 3 hours of material a week. Here's a link to Futurelearn - I've just being working through a 4 week nutrition course:


    Would winning the lottery help? I'll probably never know!
  7. henrietta cat

    henrietta cat New commenter

    I also recommend online courses, all free from Futurelearn. I am addicted but keep thinking that this will be wonderful if and when I can't get around much anymore. You could both follow the same courses, which would definitely give you something to talk about. I love retirement but I have a good pension, health and access to all sorts of activities. I am conscious that my life will become more constrained by my physical and mental health. Good luck to you both.
    Yoda- likes this.
  8. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    This post is going to be a moan, rather than a rant! My references to Sanders in the USA, and Winston Churchill, was an indication of some envy on my part. They have/had the intellect to continue with their careers well into their seventies.

    I still have the intellect and interest in schooling to contribute somehow, having gained an MEd in the UK later in my career. I wrote a proposal for a PhilEd hoping to move to a PhD, and was interested in teacher training. However, my move to Barbados with my wife (she is Barbadian) interrupted this and I found that Barbadians like to do things for themselves, therefore there was no opportunity here to move into teacher training.

    Blogging, or writing a book, might satisfy me, but I have become cynical. The state of the so-called teaching profession, the state of the world, leaves me in despair. I have tried on TES to do something, but mostly I have been hounded down for being out-of-touch with teaching in the UK. Leaving everything to the younger generations (I am reminded of the elderly couple in the film "The Titanic" who stayed in their beds, whilst most others were running around pointlessly on the decks) is now my demeanour!
  9. Resolve

    Resolve New commenter

    The joys of retirement! Who can't identify with this? A great post. There is a massive amount of recent research about how brain power can increase with age: the more you exercise your neurons, the more the neural pathways increase. This is the reverse of what many people assume. Trust your mind to know how it wants to raise horizons -- it may well take practice to feel you are making progress -- but get into the habit (this is key) to do things that exercise the mind -- like doing puzzles (Sudoku is my favourite), learning a language, and learning to play a musical instrument are all great ways to stay mentally fit-- as long as you enjoy learning and don't make it a chore. Writing up your past experiences is also a great way to keep the mind active. Exercise it! Reading and watching TV are too passive. Hope this helps! Do let us know what you try and how it works for you! And don't forget to look after the body too - eat well, and keep active even if it's only walking! When your mind feels like it's getting a good workout -- you will feel inspired.
  10. edexamchat

    edexamchat New commenter

    For your gardener wife might I suggest trying the Allotments4All.co.uk forum. You don't need to be an allotmenter or a regular gardener to use it. There is a section on Assisted Gardening and a lively section on cookery and ways to save money - it's a very friendly & supportive forum and encourages posts from beginners or old hands. There are regular seed swaps by post too.
  11. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    Have you thought of using your Maths knowledge and teaching experience? I have seen requests on here for starter activities / extension activities etc. Could you develop some fun resources for people.... have a look at what is out there and maybe improve on them? What bout some "new Maths" for the older generation? Some of the modern topics mean nothing to me as I was never taught them.
    Could either of you tutor? Maths is such a necessary and desired subject......
    You write well.... how about You Tube blogging?
  12. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    Have you looked at U3A online. There might be something that you find interesting

  13. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    Many thanks again to all who have responded in this thread. There is much to consider here, and I will post again if and when we (my wife and myself) get something else going, to keep us going!
  14. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    Catching up on my fiction reading perhaps is not so passive as it first seemed. After my childhood reading, comics, the Famous Five series (Enid Blyton), and Biggles - I never touched the children's classics - and then in my teens I read science fiction, but throughout my teaching career I only read non-fiction, mostly educational theory. (My leisure activities were physical - rugby, tennis, squash, swimming, walking, camping, and mountain climbing!).

    During my recent hospital stay (nine weeks) I read 15 modern novels (the most enjoyable was "Random Harvest" which I read twice), but now I have picked up on some adult classics. "The Brothers Karamazov", which I read twice, was my first and was recommended to get me away from non-fiction, and now I am currently reading "Anna Karenina".

    This reading is not passive for me, as is watching a film. When I have some spare time, with all necessary chores completed as described above and I do not just crash, my infirmity requires me to rest in bed, then reading Anna I am transported into her world. During my early years of teaching I did read a little concerning the Russian Revolution. This was to get a purchase on anarchism, which is still my political ideology, albeit unattainable as I now realize. Read my post above concerning my current demeanour! "Anna Karenina" describes a world of wealth and privilege, yet littered with debauchery. No wonder the idealism and optimism of my early days of teaching has gone out of the window!

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