Struggling in England-Seeking support

Ronne,  Age 70

I turned 70 in January and still can’t quite believe that number. Having struggled with depression most of my adult life. It was well controlled by medication until a couple of years ago, when I had to switch to a different kind of meds, which don’t work so well for me. I find that it is now bedding in and becoming a permanent condition, which worries me. I am feeling my mortality — there seems to be so little time left — and dealing with physical limitations (arthritis) gets tougher every year.
And yet… I know I don’t look, or act, my age — people are generally astonished when they find out how old I am. And yes, “inside I feel 25!” Which makes it even more depressing that I’m so OLD!!
I am a transplanted New Yorker, living in a very small (and very dull) town in Nottinghamshire. I have been here since 1985, when I met and married a wonderful man, who happened to be British and in the RAF, stationed at a base 3 miles from where we live now. We stayed here for a variety of reasons — at first it was my job (I was phenomenally lucky to be able to continue the career I had left in New York — children’s publishing — with a major publisher who happened to be 20 miles away); then we had a son, and this was a lovely place to bring up a child. Of course, he left as soon as he could — first to go to university, then to live and work in London — but by the time that happened, hubby and I felt it would be stressful and counterproductive to uproot ourselves and move to a new area, where we didn’t know anyone. We do have a network of friends here, and my husband is in two folk bands, which mean a great deal to him and which he does not want to give up.
But I am struggling. I don’t know where I belong or what to do with myself, now that I’m no longer working. (I worked from home as a freelance for the last 20 years of my career, so that in itself is not a huge change.) I volunteered with a children’s charity for several years, and found that very fulfilling, but I had to leave when they restructured. It left a gap in my life, but it had been stressful in many ways, so I felt a bit relieved as well.
I feel that it’s all downhill from now, and when I read the positive and inspiring stories of other women here, I feel a sense of wonder: how do you do it? I am struggling to find a sense of purpose, now that most of my life is behind me. And I am plagued by fears — what will happen if my husband dies before me? What if I get a serious illness, as some of my friends have?
I realize this is a very negative story, and I apologise for that. But I’m wondering if I am the only one in this wonderful community of strong, vibrant women who is feeling this way? If there are others out there feeling this way — how are you dealing with it? I would love to hear from other women who have gone through this and come out smiling on the other side!

Posted in 70candles, About turning 70, Family matters, Older women connecting, Our bodies, our health, Where to live | Tagged , , , , , , | 24 Comments

My 70’s story

Lois, Age 75

As of now I’m almost 75 (how did that happen). I am caucasian and live in Massachusetts where I’ve lived all my life. I worked as a secretary until age 65 when my husband who had diabetes had kidney failure and needed to go on dialysis. I chose to retire at that time and spend my time taking care of him and his mother who had recently moved in with us ( not an easy person to get along with )…

He eventually had both legs amputated above the knee and stayed at home in a hospital bed in the living room. I was busy taking care of him (and her) until his diabetes took him 5 years ago at age 70. His mother died 2 months later at age 87 and my 20 year old cat died a few months after that. So now I was completely alone in my two story colonial home. At first I enjoyed the quiet and the thought I didn’t have to do anything and could enjoy my needlework hobby and spending time with my friends.

My daughter lives in an adjoining town and invited me to move into their bonus room above their two car garage. She hired a designer and builder and made it a perfect “home” for me. I am now very happy living in my one room space. It has a separate bedroom (closed off with curtains and a built in bookcase) and sitting area, a small kitchen, small eating area and even a baby grand piano which I hope to practice soon as soon as I have it tuned. I’m currently in the process of cleaning out the old house and will put it on the market soon. My husband and I were married 50 wonderful years and I do miss him every day, but am also enjoying my life as it is now.

Thanks for letting me share

Posted in 70candles, Caretaking, Family matters, Resilience, Where to live | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Balance in all things!

Gail, Age 78

At age 78, just read your book, 70Candles! and applaud your insights and clarity regarding women in their 70’s living a vital life. You gave us a gift. However, those from age 50 on up should make it a must read to understand the quick-to-come years ahead. What a road map!

My story is—married for 54 years—helped husband build a very successful business, charity, raising 2 boys, lung cancer in 2000 & 2003 (never smoked), and then 7 years helping my husband with ALZHEIMER’S. His story and a web site were done to help Caregivers and I advocate for the CURE ALZHEIMER’S FUND.

God and animals got me through the years watching my beloved husband fade.

The ‘where to live’ section of your book was of interest, as I downsize from the home we built in New Hampshire to a smaller one in Rhode Island to be near my brother and sister.

Our Mom lived until 100.7 with all her faculties and a quality of life. She would say, “Balance in all things,” and be active.

Hopefully, you will continue on the myriad topics not yet covered.

Posted in 70candles, Caretaking, Family matters, Looking ahead, Older women connecting, Our bodies, our health, Resilience, Stories, Where to live | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Are you an elder orphan?

There are those 55 and older, alone, without mates or adult children. Carol Marak, an elder advocate has dubbed them “elder orphans.” She has created the Elder Orphan Facebook group (Facebook.com/groups/elderorphan) as a meeting place and support group for these seniors. The site, just a year old, already has more than 4000 members!

Marak also edits seniorcare.com which offers a wealth of very helpful information about resources for older people in every state.

In the informative Senior Living section of The Dallas Morning News on March 14, 2017 where this is described, we learn that one resource, the movement for shared housing among older women, is growing across the country. This offers new options to elder orphans and others, where expenses can be shared, relationships can expand, and a new life chapter can begin.

On our 70Candles.com blog, we hear from many women who feel alone. They wonder where they will live next, they tell of problems keeping up their home, and with finding transportation. Some are lonely and feel disconnected from the communities that surround them. Some feel depressed.

Here are some of the web sites that offer matching services for those seeking roommates and those offering to share room in their homes:

Roommates4boomers.com
Goldengirlsnetwork.com
Sharedhousingcenter.weebly.com/homeshare (Dallas)
Affordable Living for the Aging alaseniorliving.org (Los Angeles)

Here is the link to Marak’s informative Aging Insider newsletter:

https://www.seniorcare.com/resources/aging-industry-insider/top-news-for-March-2017/

If you know of other shared housing programs where you live, please spread the word by sharing that information here. This is an idea whose time has come!

Posted in 70candles, Older women connecting, Where to live | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Grateful

Lauren,  Turning 70
I will be sharing my story down the line. I just want to say Thank You all for being here. This is a much needed place. I will be a frequent supporter! 👯👍Grateful

Posted in 70candles, About turning 70, Looking ahead, Networking, Older women connecting | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

BUT YOU DON’T RUB MILK UNDER THE NOSE OF A HUNGRY LION!

 

“But you don’t rub milk under the nose of a hungry lion.” A phrase my husband Wes stated right before we went to bed.

A person with Alzheimer’s disease is very protective of their money. They will hide their money and forget where they put it. The one closest to them, the caregiver, is the one they accuse of stealing their money when they can’t find it. You have to keep one eye cocked open during the night so you can see where Mister A is hiding the loot, for he may get up two or three times in the night and re-hide the stash. This is what I went through in the beginning stages of my husband’s disease. I cried many a tear and many a sleepless night trying to keep up with the money.

One night I saw a big bulge down Wes’ pajama leg. I pulled up his pant leg and there was Wes’ two billfolds duck taped to his leg just above the ankle. I must say it had to have hurt when he took the tape off the next morning. He would hide them in the pillow case. My sister, Judy helped me find that one. When I run out of places to look, I would call my sister and she would give me suggestions of where to look. He would hide them in his socks, but that would bulge out too. I bought him some pajamas with pockets, but the tricky part was when Mister A got up in the night and re-hid his stash.

I finally convinced Wes that I could protect his stash from Mister A if he would let me keep his billfolds beside me on the nightstand. I would always give him his billfolds first thing in the morning. At night right before we go to bed, I tell Wes to give me his stash so I can protect it and he has for several months now, until last night, as he gave me his stash he said, “But you don’t rub milk under the nose of a hungry lion”___and he laughed and I laughed too. Then we went to bed.

Posted in 70candles, Caretaking, Family matters, Men aging, Read Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A question for you

Diana,  Age 72

This isn’t my story so much as a question that I’d like to toss around. (Jane said that I could give it a try.) So, if you have any interest, please join in!

Are you staying in place, or have you downsized or relocated since you retired? And how’s that going?

When my husband retired five years ago we moved to a new state to be near our daughter. And we’re both truly enjoying having her in our lives. There’s a lot about being here that I like – an opera company and our own civic symphony, a superior library system, beautiful scenery with close access to a national park, a nicer house…..

I didn’t expect to miss the old place despite the fact that we’d lived there since we married in 1972, but I was wrong! I miss my friends terribly! And, to be honest, I haven’t found another woman to meet even for lunch or coffee. Making new friends at 72 isn’t easy.

If you’ve relocated, how did you handle it? Are you happy with the change? What do you miss?

And if you stayed in place, are you pleased?

There aren’t any wrong answers. It’s just meant as an opportunity for that girl chat that I miss so much!

Posted in 70candles, Family matters, Networking, Older women connecting, Where to live | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Moving to Billings

Anonymous, age 69
I found 70candles over a year ago.  I was on the verge of moving from a rural area in Montana to the city of Billings.  It took 3 1/2 yrs to sell my beautiful house inside and out.  But I needed to be in the city.
Before I turned 70… I lived in rural Montana over 16 1/2 years.  I was told by the people who lived in the surrounding area I DID NOT FIT IN THAT AREA.  I tried when I first moved to make friends.  I was emotionally beaten down to the point I became depressed and lonely.
My husband ran his own company for many years, and built a good reputation.  I told him the stories of how I was treated by these women.  Unfortunately he thought it was me, I didn’t give them a chance.  When we first moved to this area no one came forward to welcome us (me) to the area.  Finally 3 1/2 years ago my husband felt my emotional pain, our home was beautiful, large and homey….we had over 200 acres.. Finally we had a positive buyer.
We found a house in Billings. Rumors got out we were moving to Billings and the rumors were horrible… Nothing kind was said, therefore when we left no one said good-bye.
16 years …I felt I’d been in a coma by the time we moved to the city. I studdered for a couple of months feeling fear someone would not accept me…. I’m passed that now my neighbors are friendly everyone waves and say hello. But so far have not met any that do the type projects that I’m into. I’ve accepted that the neighborhood is lovely, and we are close to so many things…grocery dining, shopping. But I’m still by myself. I find myself staying home. And depression is setting in again…the neighbors have all lived here for many years and are established.
I still have fear of rejection.  Before I moved to Montana I’ve always been out-going and friendly. I still have many friends from the state I moved from but over the years some have moved on or travel more, have grandchildren and great grandchildren.
I’m starting quilt classes.  I learned a bit before I moved to the city.  I’m taking classes to get to know people. It feels different making friends at this stage of my life.  I lost a lot of years in rural Montana.  I never really aged backed there, never stepped out of my comfort zone.
I feel like a shrinking Violet.
I so enjoy learning  there other women having similar issues.  I also enjoy reading the stories of women who have matured past my age, and find their life helps me move on.
Thank you all for listening.  I’m fortunate having my husband, even though 7 years older, but healthy.
That helps me move forward.
.

Posted in 70candles, Older women connecting, Where to live | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

You matter

Anonymous, Age 41

I just came across your blog. I just want you to know that you matter and I think what your doing is awesome!

Remember, you matter. =)

Posted in Stories | 1 Comment

Summing up a life

Nancy,  Age 81
I just found your blog accidentally, and am delighted! Just read a story, and feel as if I am with good friends, even though you all are somewhat younger than I….as I am 81. But am in decent health, actually biked 18 (flat) miles the other day, and go to a trainer once a week. Music is my delight, and this afternoon I played quartets (viola da gamba….a Renaissance cello-like instrument) with old friends for the afternoon. Lucky me!

My husband is at a basketball game right now, and we go to U of A games during the season. He’s a sports nut. Married 58 years…..in 1958 actually. Both from a little town on Long Island, met in 7th grade. But it hasn’t been all bliss….whose life has? But we soldiered onward, despite many years leading quite independent lives. We still do, but have come to terms with our differences and have come to depend on each other as time goes on, giving thanks for decent health and a love of books, movies and talking with each other early in the morning. We both like to think about things.

So much in life is luck, I think. You don’t realize you are balancing on a tightrope: you think you’re safe and on flat ground, until something upends you. We lost a baby many years ago,and soon after our marriage both fathers died suddenly. The suddenness was what still surprises me. I was so absolutely (fill in the blank): innocent, stupid, unthinking. I had no idea when I heard the phrase: “the inherent sadness of life”, that death and death of loved ones looms. Oh, so that’s the secret! That’s what it’s all about? I still have trouble realizing that I am one step away….for example (if my bike tips over, or I fall,) from a walker. Don’t be so cocky, I say to myself. Just enjoy your present good fortune and give thanks.

What makes me very happy though is connections to others….husband.my kids, grandkids, friends. I’m an only child, spoiled rotten by two devoted parents. So lucky, but also very ill equipped to handle obstacles in life…..like house cleaning!
Doesn’t that seem crazy? I never had to do “chores”, growing up. I sent my soiled clothes from college home to have them washed, pressed and returned! (That was really before washing machines were available at college, I do believe though.) Fortunately, I have learned a little, I like to make things pretty and that way I seem to force myself to do unpleasant tasks, with the “pretty” in mind.

I did accidentally get a neat job….as a radio announcer for a classical music station……and became, in a small way, sort of famous (briefly) with picture on billboards etc. It was good for my ego, which needed some help at that time in my life, and brought me into a community of supportive music lovers. My Mother was dying (again, I didn’t realize the end was coming…..is that stupid, or what?) and I was arranging round the clock nurses, thinking she would recover. The job helped with the pain, but I feel guilt that I kept the job as this all was happening. But I was so so stupid. I still don’t understand why I didn’t realize my Mother’s death wasn’t far away. If I could relive that time of my life, I’d give anything to do it, and better.

Yes, if had my life to live over again, knowing things I now know, I would do many things differently. But even with my mistakes, it seems to have turned out pretty amazingly. I find I am always for the underdog, am a political junkie, want to change the world so that there aren’t so many wealthy people, and many more helped. A different and more equitable tax code for starters. My husband volunteers for Mobile Meals and his “clients” are so often isolated, impoverished and helpless to change their lives. I wish our society somehow could embrace and help these people better than it’s set up to do right now and try to do small things to effect that change.

Thanks for giving me a chance to think about the summing up of my life.

Posted in 70 from other perspectives: looking forward and looking back, 70candles, Caretaking, Family matters, Grandparenting, Gratitude and Spirituality, Older women connecting, Resilience, Share your story, What do we do with our time? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments