8 concerns of women in their 70’s

We heard from women in their 70s here n our blog at 70candles.com and in 70candles discussion groups across the country, from New York to Texas. With decades of life ahead for many of us, it’s a great time to reassess our lives and examine our options.

Here are the topics that matter most to women in their 70s:

1. Work and Retirement: When to retire — when is too soon, too late, just right? What to do with the ocean of unstructured time that lies beyond long and in so many cases satisfying careers? How to stay engaged, feel fulfilled, and participate in life meaningfully?

2. Living Arrangements: Where to live once the family home or current living arrangements are no longer tenable? Stay in place? Move nearer family? Remain in familiar terrain, but smaller quarters? Become involved in a new community? And when might it, if ever, be time for senior living, for assisted living?

3. Ageism: How to react to the attitudes of others — even old people themselves, ourselves — who view old people with pessimism, fear, even disdain? Who patronize? What about the invisibility of old women?

4. Caretaking: Many are taking care of parents, partners or spouses, sometimes even grandchildren, and feel the stress of that responsibility.

5. Social Connections: Above all, women on their 70s do not want to be isolated. We thrive on social connectivity. Some of us continue to have colleagues at work. Others take courses, volunteer their time, participate in local activities, become members of a religious community perhaps for the first time since childhood, and travel with others. Women friends are critical for 70 year olds, but for some it can be challenging to maintain social connections. How to best do this?

6. Functional Changes: Although women in their 70s acknowledge bodily changes and perhaps some memory losses, our tendency seems to be clearly to go forth, regardless. We stay active and avail ourselves of the newest assistive technology — hearing aids, eyeglasses of course, new joints, mobility scooters, and much more. The issue seems mostly to be about timing. Akin to retirement for those of us who work or worked, when is the right time to have that hip replacement, begin to wear hearing aids in both ears, and so on?

7. Grandparenting: There are so many ways to be a grandma, especially when families are spread across the country. Some feel estranged and disconnected, others derive joy from frequent Skyping and periodic visits. Some move across the country to be near their grandchildren or provide baby-sitting services several times a week or more. What is the optimal kind of contact? And what about those of us without grandchildren?

8. Loss and the End of Life: How do we face the loss of dear friends and family members, particularly spouses? And, ultimately, how do we best prepare for the end of our own life?

We’ll visit these topics in more depth in future posts as we share what women in their 70s have told us and taught us.

Digested from our book, coming soon:
70Candles! Women Thriving in Their 8th Decade

What matters most to you?

Jane and Ellen

This entry was posted in About turning 70, Family matters, Looking ahead, Our bodies, our health, Resilience, What do we do with our time?, Where to live, Work life and retirement and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to 8 concerns of women in their 70’s

  1. Carol Netzer says:

    I’m a resident of an assisted living facility in New York City. Before I made the decision to leave my own home, I did a lot of research on what it would be like to live in such a facility from a resident’s perspective. I found nothing. Having now experienced two very different residences, I’ve written a book on the subject: Assisted Living: An Insider’s View. I also maintain a blog on the subject:


    You’ll also find excerpts from my book there. Thanks for your attention.

    • Blog Mavens says:

      Thank you Carol..

      You’ve written a much needed book…
      We know our readers will find it very informative.

      We’d love to hear stories from women in many different living situations, as well, so we all can compare our options.

      Jane and Ellen

  2. Riverwatch says:

    For me, I love being old, sort of.
    My mother taught me that life comes to us in decades, each decade different and important. She said, “If you miss a decade in life, don’t try to catch up or live it in the next decade, because if you do try that you cannot relive a lost decade and you will have lost not only that decade but also the one you are supposed to be living in. Life goes forward, never backward.” And she gave me several examples of sad people trying to live life backwards.
    My most recurring challenge of my seventies (I am 70) is about timing. Making decisions about changes is needed, but timing is crucial to “get it right” and I seem to have lost my once good sense of timing. Literally. Can’t seem to get the rhythm right, have lost the finer point of sensing what time it is when I awaken, or how much time I have spent on the computer! Little losses but I think it makes it harder to get timing right on decisions. (I am going to take up Yoga because I think that might help rebalance whatever is out of kilter).
    I think old age is like adolescence in that it is a zigzag course, not only down but up (opposite to adolescence which is up but also down), so that reassessment of where we are in our trajectory needs done more often than in our days of glory.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I can relate to functional changes! Luckily, I have had no major illnesses, as many we all know. However, after the 73rd candle was lit, it seems that my outer body started to fall apart . I have been doing PT for over a year and now the recent orthroscopic shoulder surgery is almost ok. While there, many other parts started to go: plantar fasciatis, both knees, and two trigger fingers. Well, since PT guy is practically on retainer, I addressed the knees and plantar fasciatis. So everything was coming along and I did play tennis all winter with lots of Advil.

    On a recent visit to celebrate my mom’s 97th, a most unexpected event occurred. I have never had a “back problem” but crawling down to get a paper plate in a very low cabinet for my mom- always the good daughter- I felt a twinge in my back. Fast forward- pinched nerve, some arthritis- very painful. I have already had one epidural shot and will have another in two weeks. Percocet is my new best friend. Believe it or not, I can play tennis now, but I have to time the percocet carefully. The knee doc wasn’t interested in my knees since no surgery is indicated. He said, “Just arthritis.”

    So now you have the physical wrap- up in brief. I hate to complain because of all the terrible other things happening to our age group, but here’s where I am.

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