Tom Young's first journal

Where are you and where are you going?
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Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by halfmoon » Sat May 13, 2017 9:15 am

Welcome back! I never saw your journal the first time around; interesting reading. I can sympathize with your memory issues, as my DH is 80 and struggles with the same.

Do you find it hard to keep dividing your attention between multiple homes? I don't think we could do that any more. Upkeep, moving essential stuff around, winterizing, keeping vermin out, switching mail, just making a place home again after it's been empty...too much stress for the payback in our case.

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Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by Eureka » Sun May 14, 2017 9:36 pm

Glad you found your password and is back on board! Enjoyed reading your first journal and hope for much more.

Tom Young
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Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by Tom Young » Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:45 am

Touching base after 3 years... Still alive w/my bride and living in our home in Liberty Village.

All's well healthwise, and still financially secure. Best of all, still happily enjoying what is now more than 28 years of retirement. The philosophy of two stages of retirement has not changed.

While I still post on five different forums, not as often as before. Whether my imagination or not, it seems that there are more "ego based" posts. "Look at how 'smart', 'rich', 'successful' I am... :roll: "

It's also hard to keep up with newer topics, especially on very large forums such as ERE.
That said, this old man is developing some new interests in the world that are not yet mainstream.

So... just tossing out two that may have already been discussed here... as a matter of interest for those who may be interested in discussing the future of the world... maybe for the next 20 or thirty years.

The first is AI... trying to develop an overview.

The second is "Digital Dissidents" a fascinating two part production of AlJazeera, which is available on their website.

Would appreciate direction to any current links here on ERE, or other websites with extensive overview.

Anyway, look forward to being back, to share and learn. :D

Tom Young
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Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by Tom Young » Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:42 pm

another "wordy" update... still here... :)

Some thoughts on dementia.

First person experience. Initial onset of memory problems came on about 5 years ago. Now, @ age 82, just a fact of life that requires adjustment.

The initial reaction was one of periodic depression and a look to the family for sympathy and understanding. Of course, this appeal was rejected... "You're fine.... Look... we all have lapses of memory. You're overthinking this!"

Gradually this gave way to grudging acceptance... not because they believed, but that it was okay if it made me happy. Today, we have a much better mutual understanding, which makes my life more comfortable.

Describing the slide into dementia from a personal standpoint is not easy. On the one hand, the deeper intellect is largely intact, but the short term challenges are daunting. Most difficult are the social aspects. As a onetime leader, organizer and "people" person, continuing the social part of what I used to do, requires major changes in personal interactions. As I organize and run several scheduled events in our CCRC, I've had to learn a new way of relating to others. No longer able to put faces and names together, or even to remember names alone, has meant developing an over-friendly general approach to hide the problem, and, instead of recalling recent conversations or events, have resorted to little "tricks" to let others fill in details that I can't recall.

Brings us to today. Very much aware of ever increasing changes to the "normal" life activities. Still in the process of making adjustments to minimize the effect. Most difficult is overcoming the inevitable sadness that accompanies the problem. Slowly coming under control with grudging acceptance. My dear bride has been my support with love and understanding. Together we are working on the things we see as being critical to the time we have left. Simplifying our lives. Organizing time and effort to make the most of what we have. Looking ahead to the things that will inevitably become problematic, and seeking alternatives. In effect, decluttering the mind of the angst that naturally occurs with confusion.

Helpful "stuff". A tamping down of the curiosity and interest level. Less of the wanting to know everything, and more of enjoying the basic pleasures of life. No more reading... less interest in the local "news", balancing "outside the home" pleasures... entertainment, eating out, visiting, long drives in the country and travel... with the ease of watching a good movie.

So, yes... no worldwide travel at age 95... no Senior Swimming Masters events that I had planned on... and we missed my 60th college reunion. The email relationships with old friends has gradually disappeared. Our kids come to see us, we don't travel to see them, and this weekend we'll miss our grandson's wedding in Pittsburg.

With all of that, we're still coming to a pretty good place in life. Things like posting on websites, take longer, and sometimes get repetitive and confused. It takes a lot longer to find "words", and remembrance of things past often jump from days, to years to decades, but all in all, life is very good and it's still quite easy to find things to make us happy.

I suppose it's not "growing old gracefully", but learning to accept, and take life in stride.

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Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by jacob » Sat Aug 11, 2018 2:43 pm

Since short term memory is slipping resulting in a change in daily habits and tactics, whereas deep intelligence is intact, I find myself wondering whether you've changed any long term strategies (presumable originating in deeper structures), e.g. health, investment, ... beyond tweaking them to rely less on short term memory.

If it was me, I would not be able to invest the way I do. I would have to go with something simpler that I figure I either wouldn't have to touch or something that's entirely mechanical. (Not much different from most people.) Also, in terms of running a full house(hold), I think I rely hugely on short term memory to keep all the balls in the air. The systems-theory of ERE is complex to implement and maintain. It's in many ways the opposite of simple living.

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Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by Clarice » Sat Aug 11, 2018 4:46 pm

Tom Young wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:42 pm

Some thoughts on dementia.
First person experience. Initial onset of memory problems came on about 5 years ago. Now, @ age 82, just a fact of life that requires adjustment.
@Tom Young:
I have a question. Are you sure you have dementia, and not age-related memory loss? The strategies for cooping would be different. Dementia usually comes as slipping away and affects many cognitive areas, not just memory. Acute self-awareness is unusual for dementia. Memory loss can also be a manifestation of depression, which is a third condition common in old age requiring another cooping strategy. Think about this. Sometimes, it can be helpful parsing these things away (no personal experience, professional one - speech-language pathologist working with old people).

Tom Young
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Re: Tom Young's first journal

Post by Tom Young » Tue Aug 14, 2018 4:40 pm

Yeah...I guess that self diagnosis isn't acceptable. I've talked it over with my doctor, and we both see no purpose in going through whatever tests are necessary to be"legal".
I figure I'm pretty lucky to still be able to think and reason, despite the fact that short term memories, names and faces are a blur, and I rely on my dear wife to help in social situations.

To Jacob... in line with your comments. Yeah... it's almost all mechanical now. Never an investor per se, our finances are extraordinarily simple. IBonds from the early 2000's, a tiny annuity for my bride, (of which more, later) Social Security, and a too large checking/bank account. All interest rates are frozen. One credit card, and and occasional $10 check from a very few stocks that came from out of nowhere when we retired. That's our financial structure.

Despite starting retirement with a net worth of little more than $500,000 in 1989, now, 30 years later, at age 82, we still have the same amount. (actually, a tiny bit more :) Not good by inflation standards but we feel comfortable. The small long term care insurance policy, and living in a CCRC helps, as we know what to expect.

In short... Total expenses $40K, Social Security $25K, Interest on bonds $12K, and a small fallback cushion plus the small LTC insurance and annuity.

As far as simplifying our lives. A continuous major project that we take seriously, and one step at a time. Every single part of living. What we have. What we do. When we do it. Where we go. Who we interact with. A place for everything and everything in its place. Timing. Schedules. Reminders. A white board. Alexa... yeah becoming better....
Lists, contacts, appointments. We're nowhere there yet, and probably never will be. A work in process.

When it becomes too much, we know we'll move out of our Villa (private home part of our CCRC) and hopefully move into the "independent" apartments. the back-up is assisted living.

We're trying to do the right things. We don't want to be a drag on our family.

Jacob... I do believe in the deeper intellect, and have found some kindred spirits in our CCRC. Surprising, and a little hard to get beyond "face value", but with understanding a lot more than meets the eye.

Back to the small annuity. Boy... I thought I understood but was I ever wrong. It was $8,000 that my wife received when her mom died in 1984. Started out with a high 12% interest rate, declining to a minimum guarantee of 4%. Current values:
Annuity Value $63,000
Accumulated value $57,000
Surrender value $53,500
The thirteen page contract was unreadable to me, so we just let the $$$ accumulate. Today, 4% is very acceptable to us.
Now, the choices are "take the full annuity" (whatever that is) until death.
Take a ten year payout on a monthly basis. (only time choice)
Wait and take the surrender value... which will entail taxes.

(I should add here, that we haven't had to pay taxes since 2003 when we liquidated our IRA's. )

For anyone who has an annuity or has an older relative with an annuity, I'd suggest learning how it works. A revelation for me... and thankful for the small amount.

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