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Saturday, October 1, 2011

What is Your Image of Retirement Anyway?

Shelley wondered in a comment yesterday if I would take my mother in. In fact, I would. In fact, my mother is horrified at the very thought. It would be very low on her list of desired retirement options. She has said that, if she can no longer stay in her Florida condo, she wants to move to assisted living so she can be with friends. Not necessarily the friends she has now, but friends nonetheless.

As for me and Mr FS. We are unlikely to do what my parents did: move AWAY from the area where they had lived for many years (and where one child still lived...and lives) to move into a condo/golf community with constant social activities. Mr. FS and I hope we can move TO wherever at least one child settles. We're hoping that would be OK with our children.

My parents and Mr. FS's parents had no interest in babysitting for grandchildren. My parents took a few weekends when Mr FS and I had professional obligations. Mr FS and I, by contrast, hope that our children don't wait so long to have kids, because we would love to do a lot of childcare.

I guess that in days of yore, people didn't have so many choices.

Do you know what you want to do?


Anonymous said...

We've been having a lot of discussions about this as my retirement may prove to be more imminent than initially planned. It is important to us to maintain our own independence as long as possible and at this point we are better equipped to take in our elders or our children than they are able to take us in. We had hoped to travel...and that will depend on when I retire.

Duchesse said...

Type of housing, proximity to children and friends, and what you want to do with your time- all of it is up to the retiree's wishes. Very important as we learned, is *the retiree's wishes*, not what the rest of the family would like or thinks is appropriate.

And what one enjoys at 65 may be completely different from what one needs at 85 or (in my mother's case) 95.

I'll be posting on late life/retirement moves this coming week. As for me, don't want to live with my children, and am unsure, given the mobility of the younger generation, whether I'd move to where one is.

SewingLibrarian said...

My image of a normal retirement is pursuing hobbies, volunteer work, and travel. But DH and I won't be having a normal retirement. Because we adopted children in our 50's, we will be working, at least part-time, and rearing children for quite a while. We will probably end up retiring when we are part of the old/old, not the young/old. I doubt I will want to babysit grandchildren assuming there are any at that time. I come from a family with long generations (my great-grandparents on one side were born in the 1850's) and quite a few people who lived into their 80's and 90's. My mother is 93 and lives in her own condo. I can only hope to be so lucky!

Shelley said...

I would have gladly taken my mother to live with me/us, just as she took her mother to live with her. Though I lost both my parents by the age of 34, for the last 10 years of their lives I saw myself as their safety net and it was one of the drivers for making me quite frugal. Mom was really good company and I would have enjoyed having her. She would have hated it. I was always very happy for both my parents to have been able to accomplish their wish - to live all their lives independently. My dad died in his sleep at home, my mom after only 3 days in hospital.

I have no children and no safety net. I don't expect Bill's children to provide that, they have their own mother to look after. An independent old age is the main factor that keeps me exercising now, rather than vanity.

When Bill questions my continued frugal choices, I remind him I'm likely to outlive him and I have no children. We are having the retirement I'd hoped for: pottering around the house, travelling, pursuing hobbies. Living in a two story house is the first issue many older Brits have to face. One might wait for months - up to 18 in some cases I've heard - to get a hip replacement on the NHS. People who can shell out a few thousand go private. Even so, single story houses, called bungalows here, are in demand for older people. It's a toss up which of us will need a Stairmaster first! Then there are varying levels of sheltered accommodation, much like in the States I expect. It will be a wrench to give up my own kitchen and my Grandmother's furniture, but I hope to enjoy it for another 30-40 years, with luck. I hope to escape the full on nursing home route; it always looked terribly undignified to me. I think I always assumed that was the inevitable fate, but Bill tells me it's still a minority of people in Britain who end there (I think living with public transport keeps on more active late in life!). I hope one of Bill's children will step in if I need a money manager and I've appointed one to execute my will. I expect I should have a discussion about that with them one day. This isn't really about retirement, I don't think, so much as about financial independence in one's declining years.

see you there! said...

My Mom (in her 90's) recently moved to a Sr. Apartment. You have to be healthy, it is not like a nursing home. She's still very independent. However, she lives in another state. I've asked her more than once to relocate nearer me but she definately wants to stay in the area she's in, the area she mostly grew up and spent her adult life in. I make more trips to see her these days, was recently went there while she had minor surgery. It is the best we can do I guess.

I wish she were closer but it is her choice.


déjà pseu said...

I'm realizing that for me, community (friends, culture, activities) is vital, but I know I DON'T want to live in one of those planned, age-segregated "leisure" communities. I'm thinking a smaller town, but IN town. And someplace that will have group/assisted living options for our son nearby, so we can visit him. Being able to walk to the market, to local restaurants and shopping (or have easily accessed public transit) is also key. Climate-wise, I'd love to move back to northern California.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Terri--Oh, i was in that position myself last year. May these bad times pass for us both!

@Duchesse-Thanks for the post! Inspiring.

@Sewing--All i can say is WOW. Mr FS and i thought about later life adoption and didn't think we had the energy. I would love to hear about your experiences.

@Shelley--I do have kids, yet I fear the lack of safety nets as well. That keeps me frugal and exercising too--though I still don't exercise much beyond walking.

@seeyou--Your mother's choices sound like the ones my mother is contemplating...It seems that each generation tries to do it differently than the one before.

@pseu--it's funny how many of us want the same things--walkable communities with culture. It seems that such things are available only to the most affluent--why is that? i have a friend with a special needs sister and his parents found a community such as you envision: a wonderful home/job for the sister and a community for the parents. Upstate NY, however. Northern CA would be great!