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Old 03-23-2016, 07:29 PM
 
Location: Cushing OK
14,547 posts, read 17,594,205 times
Reputation: 16777

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
This fascinating thread has shown the thread topic to be broader and more complex than stated, as it can involve men as well as women and younger people as well as older people.

One reason people can be near hermits (recluses) at any age is being at the extreme introversion end of the introversion/extroversion spectrum. I remember reading a couple of threads about that in another City-Data forum, probably Psychology. I was amazed by the degree to which a few posters sought to eliminate human contact. For example one talked about doing grocery shopping only where there were self checkout lines; even the minimal pleasantries we exchange with a cashier were to be avoided if possible.

Of course if the hermit/recluse did not have those tendencies previously, then there are different dynamics at work, one of which being the possibility of the beginning of Alzheimer's disease, as stated by another poster.
Before I moved, I was taking meds for stress and depression. The thing was, I did not like where I was. It was too fast, too crowded and too smoggy. The antihystamins messed up the other stuff but I couldn't breath without them with the smog. They gave me a case worker, and she was worried when I moved halfway across the country to a small town.

But what they never got was I didn't 'socialize' because I'm very very uncomfortable with a bunch of strangers. I'd rather be home with my furry kids. Usual conversation about stuff I don't care about is BORING. I'll sit back and watch the dance as people share a knot, but ordinary boring stuff, not interested. I'm sure if I'd talked about the stuff I like I'd be considered boring (or more likely wierd, but I consider fandom my real family *and* they get my jokes). I often felt like Heinlein's stranger in a strange land. I don't like crowds since I 'feel' them too much, like background noise. But I didn't explain, lest they think I needed some other pill. It was somehow wrong that I didn't want to be there.

I moved to a small town. My old, small house has plenty of space around it. Neighbors leave you be. If you want space you get it. I come out and say HI when I'm in the mood. I have a phone and have kept up with westcoast friends. I do not feel the stress of being pushed to being 'social'. I don't need to take any pills either. Best of all nobody is 'worrying'.

We are like we are. I like my space. Some like it to be full of people. Neither is wrong.

I still would like to go out for some of the things I LIKE to be out for, but generally I'm ever so much happier being me. I'd also like a car to go where I want, (rides don't do the same) but after several eye surgeries, I don't trust my depth vision enough to drive. I'd go 'out' more if I could do it on my own.

I'm like my grandmother who lived alone until she had a stoke, and took care of herself, and even after the stoke insisted on going to live with my aunt a day after the nursing home. She said she'd rather die than that.....

If I get really old and need care, I would be okay with a home visit situation, which is the usual for this area. But I never want to live with a lot of people so close.

Introversion is often viewed as a 'disease' but its really just a different way of being wired and shouldn't be seen in the negative. If someone suddenly changes, then yes, they should ask why. But if someone just likes their own company over strangers, then just leave them be.
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Old 03-23-2016, 07:51 PM
 
13,168 posts, read 6,279,559 times
Reputation: 10920
What a great thread!

My husband retired at the end of the year. Before he retired, he had been working at home for almost 10 years. Oddly enough now, since he was at home all the time, retirement right now is almost just a continuation of the same old same old. I'm 8 years younger than him and haven't worked in a while.

For years, I've been wanting to move but we never seemed to find a way to do it. He worked at home so we could have moved. However, with retirement on the horizon, we had to see what the income would be. Perhaps if we had moved, it wouldn't have been easy to pay living expenses. Now that he's retired, we're feeling our way around things as to where income is concerned.

So...we're spending a lot of time at home because going out there is the temptation to spend money. Also, the demographics have changed around here. Many people I would run into while doing errands have moved on. At one time, our daughter would have considered staying in the area but the demographic change and the cost of living have really put her off. The once good schools she went to have gone downhill.

We are now the older couple on the street that some of the neighbors feel bad for when it snows. Even though we still can manage the shoveling (albeit slowly), some of our kind neighbors will come over and help despite our telling them it's not necessary. While we are very appreciative of this (and have given them small gifts and a thank you note), I do feel bad as I don't feel so decrepit that we need help.

I really want to go out for walks on nice days. However, sidewalks and street lights around here are scarce. First my husband had spinal stenosis and kept putting off surgery. He could walk about a block and had to stop. He got that fixed but now has arthritis in his knee which slows him down. I've been after him to see the orthopedist to get a good knee brace but, again, he's putting it off. My hope is to sell the house and move near our daughter. We'll get a condo (one floor living) in a walkable area. If my husband won't want to take walks, I guess I'll have to walk alone.

As for nighttime driving---with our area fast being paved over, it has created big problems with deer. In November/December it's their mating season and they will run in front of cars. As we age, our night vision declines. So, we stay in a lot in the winter.

I'm so glad for the internet---it's become a lifeline but I also want to be able to get out and do some things I enjoy. I'm an introvert but every now and then I enjoy getting out and interacting with others---it gives me a lift.

Recently, we got in a winter storm related accident which totaled our car. We had hoped to make that car last a little longer at least until we could move to a walkable area. So, in retirement, we were forced to take on a car payment---we did our best to keep it low and bought a used car. Even though my husband was driving at the time, I'm still kind of skittish when we're in the car. That will pass as time goes on.

I know that I don't want to be staying at home because there's no way to take a good, long walk plus no activities nearby that interest me. As long as I can, I want to be able to get out and do things.

I also know that the longer one stays in a rut, the harder it is to get out of it...sigh.
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Old 03-23-2016, 08:00 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
3,632 posts, read 1,644,888 times
Reputation: 6207
Quote:
Originally Posted by Listener2307 View Post
I can think of three couples in our neighborhood where the woman has withdrawn. Years ago, I used to see these women outside, but I haven't even seen them in a couple of years.
And I have two old friends in other states who tell me the same thing about their 70 year old wives. They both say they can't get her out of the house.

Anyone else seeing this? I've got my own suspicions about the reasons, but I wanted to hear from others first.

My reason?............Looking down the road I can see it happening to us.
If you can drive, maybe see if they'd want to go get a cup of coffee or a bit of ice cream sometime. If they're home all of the time, I would imagine schedule isn't terrible.

When I was younger and lived in a smaller town, I recall the townsfolk had an ongoing program, I think called Meals on Wheels, where someone would cook extra food on a schedule and then deliver it to the homes of those who had trouble getting out. It gave everyone a few minutes of conversation and a chance to convey any needs. Aside from the last drop off, it was unlikely to go too long either as everyone understood that others would like their food warm as well.

So you'd serve food on the plate, and pick up the dishes from the prior meal, take them back and wash them, and then bring the plates to whoever was next.

I guess I'm rambling, but what I'm trying to say is maybe just find an excuse to pop over. Then you'll know and they might appreciate some company.
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Old 03-23-2016, 08:07 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
3,632 posts, read 1,644,888 times
Reputation: 6207
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clemencia53 View Post
yeah - isn't that crazy!! I just hope I am not that way when I get older. A man has to know his limitations! A woman too.

Someone told me about a group trip they took last year. One of the group members was 94 or so. They thought it was wonderful that he was still traveling. I guess they figured he was fully functional, since he wasn't going with a companion.

It turned out to be a nightmare because they turned into quasi care givers/minders for the old guy. He wasn't as spry as he thought he was in his own mind.

The older gals I hang out with all want to do their own thing too, but I see them limping around with aches and pains. I just shake my head. Why hurt yourself doing some dirty exhausting yard work. At least do it while you are out having a good time!! LOL

As for the old lady in the OP - did the doctor tell her she couldn't do those things because she was OLD??
I recall my Grandmother took a rare trip to the stores in a nearby city to stock up on items. We went to the mall, and she was just a bit upset at how some "old ladies" are dressing.

The ladies were dressed rather terribly, but I just found it ironic that she, then in her mid 90s, was chastising some 60 somethings for being old ladies.

I think it must run in the family though...I too keep forgetting my age and limitations. Dang it...I used to be able to...
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Old 03-23-2016, 09:32 PM
 
2,676 posts, read 1,080,593 times
Reputation: 5176
Quote:
Originally Posted by Umbria View Post
Yep - and since when does looking nice equal uncomfortable? I don't think you or anyone else is suggesting a girdle/hose/pencil skirt & stillettos. I've heard that comfortable excuse far too many times - it is just an excuse.


Dressing sloppy tells me how you feel about yourself. I was reading a thread debating going out in public in hair rollers and pajamas - huh?

I am a bit confused by that comment. Are you saying that in order to look nice one is going to be uncomfortable? Well, I agree with that.

To me looking nice is being well groomed, dressed for the occasion, and comfortable .
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Old 03-23-2016, 10:42 PM
 
Location: Tucson for awhile longer
8,872 posts, read 13,586,656 times
Reputation: 29034
Sometimes in elders agoraphobia is a psychological issue. But in dealing with several elderly women since I've been caregiving for a decade now, I've discovered a physiological reason many elderly women are reluctant to leave their homes.

They suffer from incontinence. Many elderly women can't control their urine output and some can't control bowel movements either. Many women, especially socially conservative "ladies," are embarrassed by their problem to the point they are often reluctant even to discuss it with a doctor. Their attempts to self-treat often lead to them becoming dehydrated because they don't drink enough in an attempt not to urinate. I'm convinced that many falls in elderly women are due to them having dizzy spells induced by them not drinking enough liquids and/or eating enough food.

I've been told women who have had children are more at risk and those who have given birth many times often have the worst problems. Yes, there are incontinence products to help with this but I know for a fact that even products like full-blown Depends sometimes fail and an incident the elder is terrified of is the result. The causes are usually not curable although there is medication that can help some women (not all).

My own mother won't travel anymore at all because she won't sleep in any bed that I won't be able to change for her. She also wants to be near her own bathroom and have changes of clothing available to her at all times. This is someone who has a good urologist and gastro-intestinal doctor and who uses hundreds of dollars a year worth of disposable incontinence products. Yet she is pretty much in self-imposed exile because of fear of embarrassment.
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Old 03-24-2016, 12:26 AM
 
Location: San Francisco
16,441 posts, read 5,375,296 times
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That is a very good point, Jukesgrrl, about incontinence causing people to avoid going out for fear of an embarrassing accident. My husband has an enlarged prostate, and I can't get him to travel or even go on short day trips because he fears not being close to a bathroom when the urge strikes. He also has an anxiety disorder which he won't acknowledge or treat, because he avoids any type of change or novelty. He wants me to stay in with him all the time and gets upset if I go out with friends to lunch or a movie. This isn't the kind of retirement I wanted.
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Old 03-24-2016, 04:39 AM
 
Location: Edina, MN, USA
6,956 posts, read 7,410,257 times
Reputation: 16299
Quote:
Originally Posted by kitty61 View Post
I am a bit confused by that comment. Are you saying that in order to look nice one is going to be uncomfortable? Well, I agree with that.

To me looking nice is being well groomed, dressed for the occasion, and comfortable .

I think we are saying the same thing - that you do not have to be uncomfortable to look nice.


I would make a terrible shut in. With all the freedom retirees have - what not take advantage of it.


.

Last edited by Umbria; 03-24-2016 at 04:54 AM..
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Old 03-24-2016, 04:53 AM
 
Location: Tucson for awhile longer
8,872 posts, read 13,586,656 times
Reputation: 29034
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bayarea4 View Post
That is a very good point, Jukesgrrl, about incontinence causing people to avoid going out for fear of an embarrassing accident. My husband has an enlarged prostate, and I can't get him to travel or even go on short day trips because he fears not being close to a bathroom when the urge strikes. He also has an anxiety disorder which he won't acknowledge or treat, because he avoids any type of change or novelty. He wants me to stay in with him all the time and gets upset if I go out with friends to lunch or a movie. This isn't the kind of retirement I wanted.
It's a shame so many elderly people refuse therapeutic help for minor mental problems. Anxiety is one of the most treatable mental health issues with proper medication. Geriatric depression also responds well to drugs, often quite low doses.

I don't know how old your husband is, but I see anxiety growing in a lot of people the older they get. Folks who formerly had no obvious phobias and lived normal lives often become excessively nervous in their old age. I chalk some of it up to the amount and type of TV they watch ... some news channels seem to make the an effort to induce fear in the public. They make it sound as if there are escaped prisoners, drug-addled teenagers, political terrorists, immigrants wanting to steal all the jobs, and hardcore thugs hiding behind every bush.

But even without that, elders are afraid to be alone because of their sense of vulnerability. My mother's fear of falling, for instance, is certainly not without cause. But in fact, although I've been home every time she's done, it I've never been in the same room and never in a position to keep it from happening. Her forgetfulness and lack of judgment add a note of irony to her situation. This very same person who is so on the alert for impending doom constantly leaves the doors unlocked and parks her purse right on the seat of her walker when she's paying no attention ... practically begging someone to snatch it.

Add to those things the fact that fear of driving and actual incidences of getting lost in familiar places are hallmarks of early onset dementia and old age is, as they say, not for sissies.

But I'm sorry your personal situation traps you, too, in isolation. I can identify.
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Old 03-24-2016, 05:58 AM
 
6,341 posts, read 4,777,318 times
Reputation: 13008
Unfortunately this thread seems to have deteriorated with more and more posts indicating wasted lives and great sadness. Even more pathetic the waste and sadness seem to be accompanied with a list of excuses.


I cannot but help think of Thoreau. Thoreau could act as a loner but was a man of introspection. He was accomplished and helped us all to see the world differently. I have been thinking of Thoreau because many of these posts remind me of his words about the lives of quiet desperation that most men (and women) lead. Thoreau believed we all have great potential to learn, to experience life and to achieve. Somehow laziness, the conventions of society or other factors get in the way. The vast majority of people waste their lives or as he put it lead lives of quiet desperation. For many a life of quiet desperation only becomes more evident as people age and further lose their abilities and drive.


A great many elderly people can look back on their lives and see a life of desperation. Their sole accomplishment has been to reproduce and raise their replacements who often continue the same patterns in life. At that point in life, going to the mall, or the library or having lunch with friends really makes little difference.
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