Some people say 65 is the new 45. That is true in some aspects. In the not too distant past, a 45 year old man would be lucky to live 20 more years. Now, the average life expectancy is higher and many 65 year old Americans will live beyond 85. If you look at it that way, then 65 does sounds like the new 45. However, life expectancy doesn’t tell the whole story. 65 may be the new 45, but 70 is still 70. That’s why I think it’s a terrible idea to retire at 65. You won’t have a lot of time left to enjoy a carefree retirement. Sure, there might be 20+ years left, but those years from 70 to 85 will be much different than 65 to 70.
70 is still 70
I’m venting a bit today because I see that many experts discourage retiring at 65. You can Google it and you’d see that most mainstream writers encourage people to work longer. Most people haven’t saved that much for retirement and they would benefit from working a few more years. That’s true for most people, but it doesn’t make sense for me.
Have any of these experts spent extended time with seniors who are over 70 years old? There are a lot of issues to deal with when you’re older. My mom lives with us half of the year and she changed a lot over the last few years as she approached the big Seven Oh. I’m helping her with various issues and it’s a bit frustrating.
Grandma RB40 will be 70 years old next year and she is relatively healthy. Right now, it’s not a huge burden to help her out and I occasionally visit the doctor, dentist, and optometrist with her. Luckily, I have time during the day so these appointments aren’t a big deal. Even with relatively good health, she visits various healthcare providers a few times per month. They keep finding something new and they always want to run a few more tests.
A couple of months ago, her doctor found that her bone is starting to get less dense. That’s the beginning of osteoporosis so they wanted her to take a new medicine. However, Grandma RB40 doesn’t really want to take any new pills. Nobody likes a new pill, right? She debated and consulted everyone she knows. It seems like she talked about this new medicine every day for a month. She read the small print on the medicine leaflet from the doctor and went over it obsessively. Here are just some of her questions.
- What are the side effects?
- How do you take it?
- What’s the name of the medicine and who makes it?
- Do you have to dissolve the pill?
- What happens if you decline the new medicine?
- Do I have to take it?
It drove me nuts. I didn’t want to hear about this new med anymore. If the doctor said take it, then just take it. (I also checked with my brother who is a doctor and he said she should take this.) She worried ceaselessly about the side effects, too. Personally, I don’t worry about side effects too much. I’d deal with the side effects if there is a problem. It took about a month of debating, but she finally relented and let the doctor prescribe the new medicine. Sometimes I wonder how she made any decisions when she was younger. The endless debates were exasperating. Now, I think this is due to old age. She hasn’t always been this way. When she was younger, she was capable of making decisions quickly and logically. Old age just slows you down.
I was hoping the questions would stop after she got the medicine, but that’s not the case. This medicine is a bit different. You take it once per week on an empty stomach and you have to remain upright for 30 minutes. No food for about an hour. That’s simple enough instruction, but she had a hard time with this. There were more questions.
- What day should I take the medicine?
- What happens if I forgot to take a pill?
- Can I chew the pill?
- When do I take my other pills?
- How much water do I drink?
- Help me set the alarm to take the new pill.
- Holy moly…
It’s not that complicated, but I had to hold her hand through this new process. To me, it seems easy. Just do pretty much everything the same except take the medicine on Saturday morning. But, to her, it’s a big disruption to the routine. Man, her mental processing really isn’t working optimally anymore. I asked the doctor to screen her for dementia and Alzheimer’s last year and those weren’t the issue. I guess it’s just old age.
Yet more issues
Yesterday, Grandma RB40 told me she noticed a growth on the roof of her mouth. I took a look and it’s disconcerting. There was a growth about the size of a very large almond on the roof of her mouth. It feels hard to touch and she never noticed it before. I sent her off to see the doctor because I had to meet RB40Jr at the school bus stop. Later on, the nurse called me and told me it was Torus Palatinus. This is calcified tissue on the roof of the mouth, which would only be removed if problematic. They asked us to check with her dentist to see if it has always been there. I called and yes, it has always been there. She just never noticed it before.
Earlier today, she asked if she should continue to take her calcium, vitamin D, and the new meds. I told her to continue because it doesn’t have anything to do with the torus. Hopefully, that’s the end of the questions for a while. It’s frustrating to me because these are easy questions that she should be able to work out herself. My underlying fear is that I’d have similar problem as I get older. Will RB40Jr have to help me with my pills? Ugh! I don’t like the sound of that at all. (I know it must be frustrating for my mom too.)
Early retirement is better
It’s not just Grandma RB40 that changed as she got older. My dad, Mrs. RB40’s parents, and my brothers’ in-laws have slowed down quite a bit, too. None of them want to travel anymore and health is becoming a bigger issue for everyone. They were all pretty good at 65, but 70 is a different story. People aged a lot in just five years.
After seeing this, I definitely wouldn’t want to retire at 65. There would be just a few years to enjoy the things I want to do. I want to travel around the world, take up new hobbies like wood working, paddle board surfing, and do other fun stuff. Once I’m 70, then I’d probably prefer to stay home and deal with local issues too.
Luckily, I retired from my engineering career 5 years ago and life has been very good. Well, we’d be freer when Mrs. RB40 retires too. Her target is 2020 so it’s coming up soon. We’ll enjoy our early retirement and then settle down for a slower full retirement later on. So if you do it, I recommend retiring early. Working until you’re 65 is a terrible idea.
What do you think? Is it a good idea to put off retirement? Are your older relatives having an exciting retirement?