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Question for people without a partner or children: Do you worry about what might happen to you when you get older?


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I am keen to find out what other’s thoughts on this are, because I do worry about this a bit. In the typical family situation, you will have adult children looking out for their elderly parents, or even adult grandchildren looking out for their elderly grandparents, and they are ready to intervene to either avoid or quickly resolve any problematic situations that may arise as a result of the elderly person’s diminished mental or physical capacity.

 

I am still many years away from old age, but I still find myself worrying about it. After my parents have died, there will be nobody to check up on me and make sure I am all right. I imagine myself as an old man living alone with nobody to keep an eye on me, and think about situations such as one day finding that I am too weak to be able to get up and down the stairs, or no longer having the mental ability to manage my finances. I wouldn't have a clue who to reach out to for help (assuming I had the mental capacity to realise that I needed help), and I can’t see how there can be any happy ending or resolution to a situation like that.

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Anarchist Kaos

In my country there's no pension anymore, so it's a real concern, at the moment I don't earn enough that I could realistically save for retirement and I'm not sure I'll ever be able to acquire one that does, seeing as I honestly have no desire to have children I sincerely think that my only option is if I'm ever just to sick to continue working is suicide, like realistically there's not much else I could do which is quite frankly frightening but it's the world we live in, these kinds of issues are precisely why I've grown to despise Capitalism.

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Phoenix the II
22 minutes ago, Ortac said:

you will have adult children looking out for their elderly parents,

Please don't make assumptions and expectations like that...

 

You might hate your kid like the scum of the earth... Or the other way around. Your kid becomes disabled, and needs help themselves... So many things. And with this society speeding up. There's no time left to look out for others. 

 

 

But, I'm facing the same feeling, heck I'm almost 36... And already nobody IRL checks up on me... I get it, it's really scary... :(

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Yeah, I have the same concerns and fears too. There's a part of me that hopes I die before I get too old.

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Purple Red Panda

Due to the history of dementia in my family I anticipate I'll be booking a one way ticket to Switzerland at some point in my 70s.

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I have siblings I'm fairly close to. I figure even though they're older than me that I'll probably be the first to go, given health problems I've had all my life. If I can't have quality of life in any meaningful way, I'll probably choose to end it medically (which is legal here, though with tedious bureaucratic obstacles that will hopefully not be as bad when the time comes for me) instead of live 10-15 years requiring so much care and support. 

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At some point I disengaged from the idea that blood relatives and romantic partners are the only people that could possibly live with me and/or care to check in on me.  I am putting a lot more time and effort into my friendships now.  I'd love to live with a friend in later life, or at least have multiple friends I see regularly who will visit, check in, and care.  This isn't that unusual, even for sexual/romantic people in older age.

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Do I worry? Yes.

Do I have solutions? Yes! I'm working to have a lot of assets.

Would I want to have a partner? Yes.

Will they take care of me financially? No. They're not an insurance.

Do I want children? No. Babysitting occasionally is more than enough for me.

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Honestly I dont think to much about it cause the future is so uncertain anything could happen so I dont stress to much. 

 

I plan to never have kids cause I would despise them. Would rather end things myself if things go down badly. 

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Tbh I don't really expect a single person, be it a partner, child or friend, to take care of me when I'm not able to do things on my own any more. Look out, maybe, but I don't want to burden a loved one with me. One of the reasons why I think good tax funded care systems for the elderly (or people with certain disabilities) are important. I'm pretty sure that I'll end up relatively alone, but I'm not afraid of that. It is mostly my choosing after all, being as unsociable as I am.

 

Edit: am I even old enough to think like that?😅

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Children and spouses are not an insurance policy, and all kinds of things happen in life - just because you have kids it doesn't mean they'll be around to support you when you're old. Adequate funding and resourcing of social care (and having skilled and compassionate people to deliver it) is really important, and something we're definitely not getting right at the moment. 

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Moon Spirit ☽

I'll go to the Netherlands to be euthanised if I need to. That's my plan, lol. Memory problems like dementia and Alzheimer's run in my family and I don't want to continue to live if I develop either. My manager read my palm and told me I won't live past eighty so I find that sort of reassuring.

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49 minutes ago, Ortac said:

I am keen to find out what other’s thoughts on this are, because I do worry about this a bit. In the typical family situation, you will have adult children looking out for their elderly parents, or even adult grandchildren looking out for their elderly grandparents, and they are ready to intervene to either avoid or quickly resolve any problematic situations that may arise as a result of the elderly person’s diminished mental or physical capacity.

Now this will largely depend on where you live, but it's definitely not an accurate description of things where I am. People leave their surroundings for all kinds of reasons - education, work, hormonal imbalances. My family used to be scattered all over the country (and that's nowhere near being an exception). We live a bit closer to each other now, but there's still no way to truly "look out" without giving up my living situation and starting all over again.

 

Personally I'm not worried at all. Not for me, no. I'll likely end up as one of those people who will only be found months after passing because of the stench in the hallway. Then again, I'd be past caring, wouldn't I? However, neither having a family or a romantic partner would guarantee anything. Family could leave for any or all of the reasons mentioned earlier, a partner of some sort might just pass on before me (or they might be the one requiring assistance). I see absolutely no point in worrying about things that will eventually happen anyway and I'm definitely not going to change anything now and be miserable for decades just because there's an off-chance that somebody might be willing to prolongate my existence on this planet for who knows how long.

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I've thought about it, and I'm not really too worried about it. I guess, I'm just used to doing things on my own and don't think of that as terrible. Perhaps, it might've been a result of being misunderstood, bullied, etc. by others, while growing up; being alone just feels better, safer, easier, etc.

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1 hour ago, Memento1 said:

At some point I disengaged from the idea that blood relatives and romantic partners are the only people that could possibly live with me and/or care to check in on me.  I am putting a lot more time and effort into my friendships now.  I'd love to live with a friend in later life, or at least have multiple friends I see regularly who will visit, check in, and care.  This isn't that unusual, even for sexual/romantic people in older age.

This is the healthiest mentality people should consider I guess...

Yes, it may seem logical that your kids will take care of you, but it is not... because the time of big families has gone, at least in the Western World... and making kids just for the sake of them taking care of you when you can't anymore doesn't work pretty well. They need to have life as well.

I have a neighbor, she is kind of old, and yes, she has children, but they have separate lives in other cities or countries. So she can only count on her friends from nearby on a daily basis. So people should focus on different types of relationships, not only on the familial ones, because there is no guarantee they will help.

 

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1 hour ago, Catserole said:

Children and spouses are not an insurance policy, and all kinds of things happen in life - just because you have kids it doesn't mean they'll be around to support you when you're old. Adequate funding and resourcing of social care (and having skilled and compassionate people to deliver it) is really important, and something we're definitely not getting right at the moment. 

I scanned the responses for a reply  like this.  I completely agree, that spouses can die or otherwise leave you, and kids can become estranged or more likely move away.  It concerns me that I will have to look out after myself even when I am not able to, but, like most other things in life, I'll deal with that problem when it arises and try to have the resources to make a smooth exit. 

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LadyWallflower

I worry about being alone in the future, because I am very alone right now. I am very close to my parents, and kind close to my brother. I don't live near them, however. I wonder how absolutely alone I will feel after my parents pass away.

 

I really want to gain connections to people, but I have not been able to. I would love to have a queer platonic partner, but I don't know how to find them. I am mostly used to being alone, but I think I would like to have someone like that in my life. 

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Having helped with my own grandparents as they aged, watched my parents start to become crotchety and refuse help, and frequently found myself in untenable situations that could have been no problem if I'd just been prepared, I've begun preparing for the fact that I have no one to look after me when I'm older.

Now, I could make friends with younger folk, and hope they'll be willing to help me out, but my main plan is to have things set in place before I actually need them. When I notice I'm having trouble going up and down stairs? I'll set myself up to live on just the main floor, or move into a bungalow. When I start having trouble with daily tasks, I'll get the tools I need to accomplish them, whether that be an electronic can opener or a walk in bathtub. I've struggled with forgetfulness my whole life, so I've long been forming habits of lists and doublechecks and ways of knowing if something was done or not and redundancies in case I forget to cross something off after I've done it, so I feel that when old age style forgetfulness starts to set in, I'll be able to hold it together long enough in my lucid moments to find myself someplace where the people can take care of me...an old age home or some such.

I know that older folk can stay in good physical shape if they stay active their whole lives, so I've been working on becoming more fit, forming daily habits for health, not just a diet 'to loose weight', or some exercise 'to build muscle', but instead things that become part of my life forever, to keep everything working well. I constantly self analyze, and am not overly proud, so I think there's a good chance that I'll be able to recognize when my mind starts really going, accept it, and contact the services I'll need from that point on.

Its really all about being prepared. There are challenges and hurdles I know are coming, as much as most of us want to ignore that. Rather than sit around pretending it's not going to happen and hoping it works itself out, or lamenting that they're coming and not getting anything prepared, I'm planning on getting things prepared so that when I do need them, everything is already set up and I just have to hit 'start'. If things I didn't plan for happen...well, my plans are complex enough that the things I don't have accounted for are either very rare and unlikely, or will kill me, and I don't need to worry after I'm dead, so that takes care of itself.

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Ever since I got my first age crisis at the ripe old age of 15, I've used to say that I enjoy being young and look forward to being old, but would gladly skip the middle-aged decades in between.

 

Last year I met four rather old people on a train, maybe in their 70s. They were having a lively chat with some legendary quotes, such as their discussion about going to the restaurant car:

Woman: "We've got to go get some food before you three die to starvation.

Man 1: "I won't die. I don't agree to do that."

They went to get some food for some twenty minutes. Then they came back:

Man 2: "There's a long trip ahead of us. Glad I had a beer."

Man 3: "And I'm glad I had two."

 

I was wearing my uniform which caught their interest so they started chatting with me. From them I learned this:

- They were old. They suffered from all kinds of problems. They were the happiest bunch I've seen (before they got the drinks too!)

- They all agreed that it's a bad idea to get married. Two of them were in fact in a straight relationship together, but lived apart and just hanged out together a lot.

- They told me that I should sign up in the military because you get to go on pension early in there. When I questioned this, they raced each other to tell my why their old age is the best time in their life.

 

So overall, they had a tight group of friends, didn't fret too much and lived their life to the fullest without having to worry about work or kids or anything. Being old sounds almost like being a child again but cooking your own food and understanding a tad more about the world. Doesn't sound too bad.

Following their example, I've started to work out more to keep my physical and mental health stable for as long as possible. I'm quite social and don't really enjoy being alone, so I'm naturally fast to become friends with the people I meet. I hope that keeping myself in at least halfway-decent condition and staying in touch with my friends for a couple of decades will keep my brain running and my friends by my side.

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Yeah, partners or children are not an insurance policy for old age.

 

My own approach is to do the kinds of things I've always done, and work things out for myself, think about the future and make plans for the things I can plan for, and try to set up things in my life so that things work out well. Of course, there is always the possibility plans will fall through, and even backup plans might not work out, but I try not to worry about that much. I try to live my best live in the present and try to plan for the future.

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I'm in my mid fifties now, not had perfect health, but not in too bad a shape, we're all going to go at some point, I have invested wisely although I left it a bit late, but I've invested in property, that could be sold on to help pay if I end up in a home, if I go suddenly it's left to my older sister and her kids, everything's bought and paid for, but my sister lives four hours drive from here, I don't expect her or her kids to look out for me, most of my closest friends are my age or older so I just live for now, I m not going to worry about the future, what will be will be

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10 hours ago, HairyFace said:

Yeah, I have the same concerns and fears too. There's a part of me that hopes I die before I get too old.

I have to admit these are my thoughts as well. It's crossed my mind every now and then, but I don't think about it too much. I do know that a part of me wouldn't really enjoy life when I'm no longer able to live independently and on my own terms. What's the phrase, "There's no point in living if you don't feel alive."

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Asexy Librarian

I don’t worry any more than if I were married or in a relationship. Being aro, I’ve always been pretty good at cultivating a wide and diverse group of friends and acquaintances. 
 

I could never marry or have children with any kind of ulterior motive to use them as a “fall back”. 
 

As for worrying about whether someone will be around to check on you, that’s what Life Alert is for 😄

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Yes I do worry sometimes. Everyone around me has a spouse/children. I'm all alone. Always have been. But I've always known (since I was 12) that one day I would end it myself. So I guess that's it. No need to worry.

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I'd say this question is much broader. It applies to any single person or couple without offspring in some way. Even if you have a partner there's "what happens if one of us dies, the other may be totally alone, and not be used to this either?" 

 

TW death 

 

Spoiler

This happened to one of our former customers recently. We knew she'd had a spell in hospital, so assumed that she'd gone into a residential home. 

She'd been discharged, but was using home delivery rather than going out. Unfortunately she passed away in her sleep and it was several days before someone alerted the police, then only because her cats were distressed and pestering everyone for food. 

 

When your older than your partner and have had a "less than healthy" lifestyle before, this does cross your mind occasionally 

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14 hours ago, Celebrian said:

Yes I do worry sometimes. Everyone around me has a spouse/children. I'm all alone. Always have been...

Yep. There's a big difference between couples that have pooled their income together, for years (and thus, are, eventually, able to help pass on more money to their spouse, who might eventually become widowed, later on in life), versus single people, aros, etc. who haven't been able to do that or who've never been interested in being in a relationship, etc.

 

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/d/dinks.asp

 

So many couples in my area--even those with children--are able to afford a lot of things that I, as a single person, can't afford on my own (and don't think I'll ever have): they own a house, cars, a boat, camping trailers, etc.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I see the concern in what you're saying. I have similar concerns, but try not to let it get me down too often. I worked in a non-profit where we helped senior citizens and we saw all kinds of situations. My best advice would be to pay attention to how things go. I'm not married and I don't have children, but I have two nephews who I know will look out for me as I get older. Even if I didn't have them, I have plenty of friends with children who view me as an aunt. 

 

I would also say as you get older, research your options. Working with seniors has definitely made me realize the type of life I want at 70, 80, and 90. It's also made me realize what I need to look out for as I age. You may not think there are options, but there are. Money is obviously a concern, which is why they say start saving for your retirement early. Home health aids and live-in care is not cheap. And here in the US our senior citizens are treated like third-class citizens. They become invisible at a certain age and it's heartbreaking. That's why I tell people all the time to start preparing now. Have a plan and adjust that plan each year depending on how things go.

 

It may seem boring, but knowing you'll have money to use when you're older for that type of around the clock care - if you need it - will make aging a little less stressful. I don't want my advice to sound so cryptic, but again, having worked with seniors has opened my eyes to the lack of preparation we do for when we reach those ages. 

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I worry about my future even more now that I have stage 4 breast cancer. I most likely won’t live for a long time, and things can go downhill fast. I’m only 36, and it weighs heavily on my mind. Especially, with the possibility it might have spread to my brain. (Won’t know until after I get a brain MRI next week.) So far, I’m on my parent’s insurance plan, my parent helps me a lot, and I get help from palliative care through that insurance. If something were to happen to my parent, I don’t know what I’d do. My insurance might be cut off, too. I’d be up a creek without a paddle, so to speak. I might be able to get help through social security. I get confused between medicare and medicaid, but I’d probably be put on one. Might be able to get ssi, but they don’t pay much. I wouldn’t get the help my parent gives me, and I’d probably have to live in some sort of home or assisted living facility. There’s also the idea of what type of funeral I want, or do I want to donate my body to science, etc. Lots of things like this have been floating in my head since diagnosis back in April. It forces you to think about a lot of stuff like that. I don’t have anyone else to rely on. My parent might get me an Apple Watch that might help in emergencies. I’m already at risk for falls and broken bones. 

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