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  1. #1
    At just under 75, I'd lived a few years ago in a 2-br. 3-level townhouse, basement unfinished, rental about $780./mo. on the edge of a city of over 1/4 million, at terminal point of two bus lines, where I'd lived for over 15 years (about the longest period of about 20 locations in my adult life), sharing with another man for the first three years or so.
    When stepmother's brother's second wife died, we were worried about his safety, as he'd had 3 hip replacements and suffered major pain in back, hip and leg and, despite being in mid 80's, as a beef farmer, and in spite of having no kids for whom to provide a legacy, kept cattle in the barn. No wife ... no one to seek help if he didn't soon return from doing chores, and at that time he wouldn't wear one of those warning systems ... so I spent a couple of months with him till his cattle went to pasture: we didn't want him falling into a snowbank and finding himself unable to get out.
    I had done nothing to help Dad and stepmother deal with life as they aged, though they didn't need much care ... and brother and wife helped as needed.
    A couple of years later, when uncle died, his executors wanted the place looking lived in, so I travelled about 12 mi. out there almost daily, usually sleeping there, for upwards of a year ... for which I was compensated. And uncle left me a legacy (which I doubt that he would have, had I not stayed with him after his wife's death).
    The well was too close to the barnyard and the water then smelled, so I wouldn't drink it or use it in cooking. The executors of the estate found that it was really bad for e Coli ... and not good for coliforms.
    When the farm was sold to a sod farmer, he said that he'd heard that I might be interested in renting the 2-br., L R, D R, family room, bungalow with unfinished basement and pull-down stair to unfinished attic, where they'd stored some things on boards thrown over the insulation. When he offered it at $450./mo., I quickly agreed. I've hauled drinking water before in my life (and boiled all that we used that way in Korea) so that didn't trouble me.
    There's another well that served the barn, and now serves my landlord's shop ... that failed coliform test three years ago, but was O.K. for e-Coli ... I've used that water for the garden and landlord said that he's drunk that water without ill effect ... and I did, last summer when watering the garden, also with no trouble.
    I thought that I could live here as long as I could drive a car ... but then would almost certainly need to return to the city.
    I had a couple of auto accidents about a year ago ... so the motor licence people require me, being over 70 and having been involved in a chargeable accident, to take a vision, written and driving test.
    I have passed the vision and written test, and have taken the driving test twice, failing each time. I haven't heard how many more opportunities I get until they shut me down.
    For the past month, carrying a restricted licence, I have not been allowed to drive unless I have a licensed driver riding beside me, which is not the easiest to arrange.
    I am considering whether I can continue to reside here, should I not be able to pass the driving test. Some who have ridden with me have no problems with my driving (but they're not examiners).
    Old uncle lived here without a licence, for a couple of years when his eyes were not good.
    He made arrangements with someone to drive him on errands about once a week and occasionally otherwise, but that was a bit of a problem to arrange.
    When I consider that there'd be well over $300. more to pay for similar accomodation in the city, I feel that I can arrange for substantial hauling around for lower cost than that ... and in the city, one doesn't ride the bus for free, so there is less net cost to my paying for transport here than appears on the surface.
    As I'm in reasonably good health, I think that I could sometimes travel by bicycle for part of the year. There's an old man who comes to the old guys' coffee hour at church on an electric bike ... I'll have to ask him how far he can travel between chargings. I'm about 8 miles from the village and about 15 - 20 miles from the various facilities in the city.
    I would have much more flexibility of lifestyle in the city, of course.
    Another thing that's better in the city is that I could have high-speed internet (which is somewhat more expensive) and must deal with dial-up, here. I could have cable television there, as well ... but didn't, for several years when I lived there.
    I'm planning to do some hitch-hiking these days, to get an idea of how well that would work, here. I walked a little over a mile the other Sunday morning and an aboriginal guy who's part of a group of runners (there's a settlement of aboriginals near here) picked me up less than a mile fom home, dropped me at the church ... and picked me up at the church and dropped me at home, as his 17 km. run was finished about the time that I was.
    I'm not counting on such good fortune in regular hitch-hiking ... I've done that, before!
    I'd not be happy doing that for more than half of the year, at most!
    I don't know of how much interest these musings may be to your consideration of various options that you may be considering as part of your planning for your latter years of life, but hope that you may find them of interest.
    Good wishes for continued health of body, mind and spirit as good as is possible for you, given the circumstances.

  2. #2

    Evaluation of choices in retirement

    I enjoy reading your posts and have learned much from them. I've lurked here for about a year. My husband is retiring this year (we're in our mid-50's) and I'm trying to educate myself about issues revolving around retirement.
    So even if you don't get lots of replies to your posts I'm sure I'm not the only one reading your advice and "musings"!
    Good wishes to you as well,

  3. #3
    Joyful, I haven't been a regular reader here, but have read some of your posts. It doesn't sound as if you really need any financial advice, so I'd guess that you're looking for some other ways to approach the problem. As you say, you've got a $300 difference on paper; but that involves (what looks like to me) quite a bit of trouble. So it's really the quality of life that you are looking at. Can you afford to pay the extra $300? I know that "afford" is a tricky concept. What about getting a roommate? That should bring your costs down. It seems to me that you have to make a decision, for now at least, about what quality of life you want, what you like and don't like about living where you are; what you like and don't like about living in town. And if town clearly wins, what are you willing to pay (or risk) to live there. Perhaps you could earn a little extra money more easily in town. These are just my thoughts, from one who is in far different circumstances, but still contemplating retirement in a few years. Best of luck, Steve

  4. #4
    I posted as an opportunty for folks to have a few ideas of some of the issues that relate to our lives as we age.
    I have full expectation that I can pass the driving test soon, so would be more mobile again. I'm to have another session with the driving instructor on Sunday after church, and the next test is next Monday.
    I had earlier thought that I could live here fairly easily as long as I could drive, but in the past few months have considered whether I could manage it if I couldn't. Earlier, it was pretty well a theoretical situation .. but it looks differently when it becomes a practical one.
    As it is, suppose I am unsuccessful in passing the driving test, I have the summer in which to choose what I want to do.
    As I have some investments and live on less than my pensions, I have adequate assets that I need have no worry about the extra cost involved in moving back to the city. Even in the highly improbable event that I were to live half as long again as I've lived up till now.
    Part of my concern is that I have a lot of stuff that I'd have a hard time stuffing into an apartment ... but, as my cousin suggested, who did, it'd be doing my kids a favour if I reduce my goods substantially. Their mother had quite a few nice things in her home and it was a bit of a difficult time disposing of them. The things here are fewer and much plainer ... much of them would be given away, burned or junked.
    I'm not actually looking for advice ... which is hard to give in a realistic or practical fashion, when one isn't close enough to get a full picture of what the various parameters may be. Part (most) of which is knowing the various relevant aspects of the life of the person involved.

  5. #5
    The church where I was to meet the driving instructor is near the edge of the city, about 12 miles from here. I asked about half a dozen people whether they could ride with me to church ... but was unable to find anyone, so ended up driving alone ("naked") to church.
    On the earlier occasion, the instructor's wife had driven their car home and I dropped him at his place, with my landlord's wife, who was going shopping, bringing him there to ride home with me.
    This time, I'd arranged with a friend to have a family member drive him to the instructor's home to ride with me to his place, then I'd drive alone, cross-country, to my home.
    The instructor's wife wasn't at church, I dropped him back at church for him to drive himself home, there was no phone readily available, and I was near the edge of the city ... so I drove home ... and called my friend to tell him that I didn't need him to make any trip.
    I tried the driving test today ...
    ... and passed.
    So - now I can drive wherever I want, whenever I want.
    Proviso - until next January (my birthday month), when I'll be 80, as we must take a group course and pass a written test every two years, after that.
    I say that it should involve a road test (which only happens if a red flag goes up related to our written test or for some other reason, I hear) ...
    ... for, in terms of whether we are a danger to ourselves and others as we drive - that's where the rubber hits the road!
    Anyhow ... for now, I'm doing the happy dance!
    ole joyful
    P.S. Part of my original reaction was that I wanted to preserve my capability to drive a truck ... but my friends were right when they asked how many trucks that I thought that I'd be driving, at age 79 and beyond.
    Part of it is, I think, our reaction as seniors to try to keep the walls of our existence pushed back, as they start closing in around us.
    I can't see as well as I used to, and always thought that I had really good eyesight.
    When I attend the theatre, I must sit near the front ... and even then, miss part of the dialogue (even when I cup my program behind my ear).
    I am thankful to have few aches and pains.
    I haven't taken a pill in 30 years, at least, I think.
    Oh ... and a sidelight.
    We used to have Senior Men's Coffee Hour at the other church where I go, the one that I attended as a child, where I sang in the choir before my voice changed ... which I sometimes refer to as the "Old Farts' Club". Then they changed their name to "ROMEO" - "Retired Old Men Eating Out", they called it. I said that it should be "ROMDO" - "Retired Old Men Drinking Out" ...
    ... but in a church that, before they joined most of the Presbyterians and the Congregationalists in 1925 to form the United Church of Canada, was Methodist ... you can imagine how popular that designation was!!
    Anyway, last Thursday, while I hitch-hiked to the old guys' gathering, I saw what looked like a lot of pop cans and beer cans in the ditch as I walked.
    So I returned over the weekend and picked up a garbage bag of such cans in about a mile walking, I think. Usually there are far more pop cans (2 cents each) than beer cans (10 cents each, recycled) but in this case, I think that the proportion was nearly even!
    I think that I should have done more walking, over winter, as I found my hips doing some complaining during that walk.
    I'd walked the ditches in front of the landlord's farm picking up garbage, the day before ... and found the hips doing a bit of complaining then, as well.
    Oh, yes ... and usually those pants stay up pretty well without a belt, but ... when I bent over to pick something up, they'd ride down a bit ... but when I straightened up ...
    ... they didn't ride back up again. So I had a continual struggle to keep my pants from falling down!
    Don't life have those problems, though?
    Good wishes to you for the rest of this lovely spring week ... in which I'll be doing the happy dance, my driving licence having been preserved intact.
    For now.



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