If the most fun you ever had was work-related, you’ve probably been dreading retirement. I sure did.
While a lot of blog posts to this site were my outrage and fury at the way legal and medical professionals run roughshod over seniors — an equal number of posts showed my terror at what the hell I would do with my time that was half as much fun as I had at work.
So… I thought you might like an update from the frontlines — from someone who’s now been retired for almost two years. What I’m doing turns out to be what I was doing before — working. In fact, I’m working longer hours than I did before. I just don’t have a boss, I work when I want to (which is a lot), and — thus far — I’m not getting paid(!)
We make choices about what we will do when we’re earning a living. We choose to do this over that — because we know we likely can’t earn enough to live on if we choose “that.” I’ve made those choices. You probably have to.
Examples for me include choosing not to pursue: fiction writing, acting, dancing, languages, jewelry design, and graphic design. I knew my chances of earning a good living were slim in all of them. You may have turned away from some of these too — and perhaps others.
I was 58 or 59 before it dawned on me that I needed to worry about retirement. I’d had 401Ks in my youth and blithely emptied them when times got tough. I just assumed because I always had made money, I always would. As my 60th birthday approached, I reconsidered what life might be like if I had just social security. My response — I went back for my doctorate and got a job as a professor. At that time, universities still offered pensions — something currently being watered down on the way to perhaps disappearing.
Then I forgot about this age stuff. Until… As I turned 70, I got worried again. So I started researching the problems I might soon be facing. And researching people who were living fulfilling lives into their 70s and 80s and beyond. The result — this website and these blogs. I figured others might also want to be forewarned about problems — and given ideas for upsides.
Then I made my retirement decisions, got moving on new ventures I wanted to try, and started living my retirement — the way it made the most sense to me. So I mostly stopped researching and writing this blog. In the U.S. (I don’t know about other countries), we prefer to ignore that we will get old until it smacks us in the face. It was that way for me.
But… the funny thing is this blog has continued to get traffic. (See what posts are most popular!)
Many people wrote with similar stories. But I also got denials that such a thing could ever happen. Despite the specific details given in the article.
Now the New York Times has done an excellent expose that verifies exactly what we found. It’s titled, “Phony Diagnoses Hide High Rates of Drugging at Nursing Homes.” Medicare requires nursing homes report how many of their residents are on anti-psychotic drugs — drugs which are called “chemical strait jackets” because they make people close to comatose — and thus those people require next to no attention from the nursing home staff. The problem is these drugs destroy quality of life for residents and nearly double their chance of death from heart problems, infections, falls and more.
For decades, hospitals and medical providers have hidden what their costs will be from patients. AND they’ve hidden whether or not everyone in the hospital is an “in network provider” for the purposes of what they can charge. Typically anesthesiologists were out-of-network. They would band together in a “group” and provide services to hospitals — for which they can charge far more than the in-network amount. And when insurance covered only the in-network amount, patients got a bill — SURPRISE! — for thousands, sometimes tens of thousands, of dollars.
Involuntary guardianships are a problem for ANYONE in the 70+ age bracket. But they are even more a problem for:
Those living alone — because you don’t have that spouse/partner as a first level of defense.
Anyone who appears (to a casual observer or a cyber stalker) to have a nice nest egg.
Involuntary guardianships were established to help people who can no longer care for themselves. But they have become, according to The Con Game — A Failure of Trust, “An open invitation to potential abuse.”
Here are just some of the problems that make this legal procedure unconscionable in how it is administered:
It can be Frank Sinatra singing, “I did it my way.” It can be a house that contains exactly what you want, in the style you want, with the pets you want. It can be days full of eating exactly what and when you want — while doing the hobbies and supporting the causes you want. It can also be filled with friends YOU choose.
There’s nothing like it. Everything is more vibrant — more exciting. For many, life never feels “right” without a significant other in it.
My mother, in a moment of brutal honesty, once said she’d be married to my dad or she’d be married to someone else — but she WOULD be married. And she was, through three husbands, until her soul-mate third husband died… Continue reading “Finding your senior love-mate”→
There are so very many volunteer choices that it’s easy to get paralyzed by the idea of finding the “perfect” choice for ourselves. We can spend hours thinking of the good — and the bad — of each idea. And… end up doing none.