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Old 08-20-2011, 09:03 AM
 
Location: Around the UK!
156 posts, read 110,754 times
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I think that aloneness is a choice. Whatever your age you teach people how to treat you; if you give a lot you receive a lot.

Unfortunately many older people seem to think that they are owed something by their children or society.

With the internet and support groups there are many ways to interact and contribute.
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Old 08-20-2011, 09:50 AM
 
Location: delaware
688 posts, read 865,468 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatMil View Post
I think that aloneness is a choice. Whatever your age you teach people how to treat you; if you give a lot you receive a lot.

Unfortunately many older people seem to think that they are owed something by their children or society.

With the internet and support groups there are many ways to interact and contribute.


i agree to some extent that aloneness is a choice, and that some elderly turn off their children and others by their feelings of entitlement.
while it is certainly possible to have interations and stimulation through the internet and support groups, i think that often, in order to feel less alone, people are looking for more than these contacts sometimes provide. i think many people as they age are looking for relationships of depth and emotional connection and these are more difficult to find. certainly we sustain more losses as we age, often losing people in our lives who once provided emotional depth, and it becomes more difficult to fill those spaces as we grow older as our level of energy diminishes and our resources for socialization decrease.

although being open and giving with others, sometimes in a volunteer setting, has its own rewards, and i would not discount those. but i don't feel , at least for some, that this kind of interation offers a person an emotional center, that many might still seek, particularly if a person has had this kind of connection in the past. and perhaps not having a strong emotional center with another person is its own kind of aloneness.

catsy girl
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Old 08-20-2011, 09:55 AM
 
250 posts, read 649,163 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catsy girl View Post
i agree to some extent that aloneness is a choice, and that some elderly turn off their children and others by their feelings of entitlement.
while it is certainly possible to have interations and stimulation through the internet and support groups, i think that often, in order to feel less alone, people are looking for more than these contacts sometimes provide. i think many people as they age are looking for relationships of depth and emotional connection and these are more difficult to find. certainly we sustain more losses as we age, often losing people in our lives who once provided emotional depth, and it becomes more difficult to fill those spaces as we grow older as our level of energy diminishes and our resources for socialization decrease.

although being open and giving with others, sometimes in a volunteer setting, has its own rewards, and i would not discount those. but i don't feel , at least for some, that this kind of interation offers a person an emotional center, that many might still seek, particularly if a person has had this kind of connection in the past. and perhaps not having a strong emotional center with another person is its own kind of aloneness.

catsy girl
Well said. I so agree with you.
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Old 08-20-2011, 09:58 AM
 
Location: Edina, MN, USA
6,955 posts, read 7,400,186 times
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I just got back from the grocery store and there were 3 seniors, 2 at the entrance & one at the exit, that were collecting money for wounded vets. All three seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves collecting money and talking to the patrons. They nailed me going in and coming out.

I would think that volunteering would be a great way to connect.
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Old 08-20-2011, 10:11 AM
 
Location: not where you are
8,141 posts, read 7,651,133 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Umbria View Post
I just got back from the grocery store and there were 3 seniors, 2 at the entrance & one at the exit, that were collecting money for wounded vets. All three seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves collecting money and talking to the patrons. They nailed me going in and coming out.

I would think that volunteering would be a great way to connect.
Whole heartedly agree, it works for me. The schools are going to have major program shortages and could use major help in the classrooms this year. Any and all help, I'm sure would be majorly appreciated and offer great rewards of self fulfillment.
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Old 08-20-2011, 11:46 AM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,994,426 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cls88 View Post
My friend is a highly educated and very sophisticated. We never talked about emotional things regarding her living by herself. She might be fine or she might have friends who are in her class or friends she doesn't suspect. I don't know. I try not to intrude her live by staying away from topics she doesn't start.
Sounds like she may be more of a "fraquaintance" (I coined that word!)--someone who's not quite a real friend but is much more than an acquaintance, of which I have many in addition to a few real friends. If your relationship with her was that close, she would not have suspected you!

And, if you can't talk freely about your personal lives, and you have to walk on eggshells in terms of bringing up topics....

If I were in your shoes, which i am not, I would strike up a pleasant email or letter correspondence and forget the visiting for awhile. Maybe through writing to each other you can actually find a closer sense of friendship. I find that a lot of elderly folks like to write cards and notes and to get them back. After a series of correspondence you both might feel more at ease with a visit.

Aloneness in old age is something I think about a lot. It runs across all classes. One elderly wealthy friend of mine, one of my real close friends, rents rooms out to college students and single working adults, she has 4 rooms rented. It allows her to travel some and, because she is estranged from her son, these housemates not only do chores but also provide a sense of companionship. Her daughter wants her to move to assisted living but she refuses for these reasons--she wants household relationships on a daily basis.

Last edited by RiverBird; 08-20-2011 at 11:55 AM..
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Old 08-20-2011, 11:52 AM
 
Location: southwestern USA
1,815 posts, read 1,761,229 times
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I think more of us fear lonliness and isolation in old age than we care to admit to.

The loss of a loving spouse, siblings, and good friends can be devastating and can cause people to isolate themselves.

I feel for seniors who have become devastated by their loss and their lonliness. As others have indicated volunteering is great, as it the purchase of a pet. Nothing like the love and adoration shown by a loyal pet to boost sagging spirits.
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Old 08-20-2011, 12:03 PM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,994,426 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatMil View Post
I think that aloneness is a choice. Whatever your age you teach people how to treat you; if you give a lot you receive a lot.

Unfortunately many older people seem to think that they are owed something by their children or society.

With the internet and support groups there are many ways to interact and contribute.
I know of several elderly women who gave the best years of their adult lives to raising kids and for some reason these kids, and their spouses, are anything but close b/c they are always too busy to pay much attention to their mothers. These women are in their 80s and don't happen to use the internet, and they're too infirm to get out much in bad weather and in the winter months, which are very long in NE.

As far as being "owed," I really do think that any parent who has raised a family is definitely owed. Owed the respect of being paid attention to, visited, and in some ways cared for. My own mother was as unpleasant a person as one can be 90% of the time; however, she raised us four daughters sacrficing an awful lot over her life doing that, and three of us did everything we could including almost daily phone calls, weekly visits to take her shopping and to get her hair done, etc. and helping out in her house. She was still cantankerous and unpleasant to us and drove us crazy, but we still loved her (somehow!) and felt our duty to her as our parent. And it was very rough going (see my next post).

Last edited by RiverBird; 08-20-2011 at 12:17 PM..
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Old 08-20-2011, 12:15 PM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,994,426 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TRosa View Post
I especially love the highlighted parts.

I know my old age will be one where I'm alone, which I don't fret, so I'm making the best of now so I won't have to sit regretting my eventual lone days.

Having worked with ailing seniors and hospice patients, I've seen all the best laid plans of those hoping family would be a great comfort not live up to their expectations, so, I don't feel I'd be missing out on much. I have the one daughter that I could live with, but as like some mentioned that, in my case as well, would be detrimental to all involved. A while back I had a wonderful nephew ask if I would like to come live with him and his family, though I love him and other nephews and nieces that would have made the surroundings a joy, but, I declined for a variety of reasons including location (NYC).

I've seen what a burden it can be to have an ailing relative live with family. This isn't a negative for all families, just many that I witnessed whom mostly had good intentions. I've also seen some children that once parent signed over powers, the adult children sold homes from under parents and put parents in nursing homes without a care. In a number of instances parents that moved into childrens homes and lost their feeling of independece and were made to feel like children because their kids felt they had to control everything relating to live-in parent ill or not.

There are of course great kids and relatives doing the best they could to assist, that were/are unappreated as well, who are driven batty by having to take on so much responsibility, marriages become strained, families that were doing fine, become stressed. The adult child taking on too much becomes guilt ridden because they don't know how to handle all they've taken on, especially if a times comes when there's no choice but to place a parent in a nursing home. Some times a nursing home type facility is an only option.

It really is a good idea to have a long conversation with those you feel you will end up having to place the responsibility of yourself upon when old age sets in and you feel being alone isn't an option. Let me just inform you that that having friends and family near by doesn't always equate to lots of visitors, after a while many of those visits peter out when your friends and family members start to get depressed seeing your health decline or when friends start seeing their fate in your eyes and can't handle it much more.

There's nothing wrong with closure, it's unavoidable, we all knew it would come someday, so do make the best of the time in between.

I'm hoping my plans to be thrown in a fire and out at sea will be honored, though if my organs can be harvested first, that's fine with me too. But I want out as soon as I won't have the abililty to wipe my own butt anymore.

TRosa, your whole post struck home with me, esp the part about marriages becoming strained and falling apart. Mine actually fell apart during the time I nearly lost my mind (my sister, too) taking care of a very, very, very difficult mother. We did not physically care for her, that would have been the next step, and everyone involved was dreading that stage including our mother who still lived in ehr own home and refused to leave. Funny how sometimes when things get at their absolute worst, a break comes. The same week that my sister and I were madly calling elder services for some kind of intervention, our mother died in her home. We each had prepared ourselves for taking her into our own homes. Many nights we cried to each other on the phone, what are we going to do??? Our mother knew instinctively that she would never let anyone touch her, not her daughters, not outside help, and certainly no nurse or aid in a nursing home. At first, when my sister found her, we thought she had actually committed suicide (sorry, grim subject) but soon learned from the coroner that it was a heart attack.

Sigh--just thinking over those years brings back the stress. The lesson for me is to make wise decisions while I'm still relatively young and healthy. I would never want my kids to go through what I did.
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Old 08-20-2011, 01:28 PM
 
Location: SW MO
23,605 posts, read 31,514,657 times
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My wife's mother was as impossible in her impending death as she was in life. My wife was her only child and her mother treated her shabbily and despised me. My mistake was marrying her daughter - who had been single and alone for 18 years - which meant there was less time for her to spend on her mother than before. I know it's a strange concept but my wife wanted to spend most of her time with her husband.

No matter how much time, attention and assistance we gave to her mother, it was never enough. But then again, for someone outrageously narcissistic, there aren't enough hours in a day to fawn over them.

MIL insisted on remaining in her own home then complained bitterly about being alone. We contracted and paid for a "panic button" service for her and set it up. Finally she started becoming frail and my wife was instrumental in getting her home care. But that wasn't enough. She insisted on someone being there around the clock and in a moment of obvious weakness, actually suggested that we should move in with her. Fat chance. Again my wife intervened on her mother's behalf and arranged for round-the-clock care, took over her mother's accounts and saw that food was purchased, bills were paid and the in-home assistance was covered.

In time we had to warn her that her funds were beginning to look a bit precarious and suggested she move into assisted living which she could afford at the time. Absolutely not! She was going to stay in her home. That's all there was to it. We also warned her that when I retired we were moving to another state. Didn't matter. Own home or nothing; all the while making disparaging remarks to and about both of us.

Finally, she died at age 87. At the time she had less than six months of resources left. In "cleaning up" after her we discovered that she had disowned my wife, her only child, shortly after we married. The home and what was left of her estate went to various charities and ultimately, we were out thousands of dollars. Bitter to the end because we didn't worship at her feet as she believed was her due.

It was quite a lesson for us on how not to treat our own children when our times come.
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