Monday, April 3, 2023

100 Things About Aging (Part 1 of 4)

Unfortunately I have had way too much experience with aging issues over the past several months.  Here are many of the things I've learned...

  1. Downsize to a reasonably-sized house and yard while you are still young enough to do this on your own without being forced to do so when you are elderly and/or ill.
  2. Try to get a place without stairs (stairs are the bane of most elderly or infirm people).
  3. If you are a life-long renter...well good luck with that.  As we have seen over the past couple years, there is no limit on how high rental prices can go which is a disaster if you are on a fixed income.
  4. Try to have your house paid off before you retire.  Again, the fewer bills you have, the further you can stretch a fixed income.
  5. See if your county or state offers a senior property tax abatement program.  Our county has such a program which allows us to save several hundred dollars on both our vehicle registration fees and the property tax on our house.
  6. Consider making home improvements that will make aging in place easier.  Here are several ways to do this.
  7. If you cannot afford to make such home improvements, see if there are programs available to help you.
  8. Live closer to town where you can access public transit, para-transit, ride shares, etc.  Living far out in the country becomes exponentially more difficult as we age and have issues with driving ourselves.
  9. Have as big of an emergency fund as possible.  The longer we live in our homes, the more things break down and need (often expensive) repairs.  Obviously big, expensive repairs are more difficult to cover on a smaller fixed income.  Also, DIY repairs become more difficult as you age.
  10. If you are younger and have a ways to go towards retirement, don't count on retiring on only social security.  It is best to have a pension (or two!  several people I know have both a military pension and a pension from a government or civilian job).  Savings, investments, 401ks, etc are all additional sources of income for retirees.
  11. Become familiar with Medicare before you need to rely on it.  From my point of view, it is a convoluted mess so plan accordingly.  Figure out if your Medicare plan or your savings will cover things like glasses, hearing aids, dentures, prescriptions, etc.  These are all expensive, necessary things which basic Medicare usually doesn't cover.
  12. If you can barely eek out a retirement in the US, consider retiring abroad.  This guy has a YouTube channel with many posts about retiring in the Philippines.
  13. Google your area and senior services (this is an example from my area--I didn't realize they had so many services just for seniors!).
  14. Buy items with longevity in mind.  We bought a car that we hope will last the rest of our lives, and I am going to buy a washing machine that will hopefully do the same.  The older we get, the less we want to buy things, fix things, and replace things.
  15. Also reduce the amount of stuff you buy.  We don't need a lot of consumer stuff as we age, we don't need to spend our limited income on buying material goods, we don't need to store/clean/upkeep/insure consumer goods, and we don't want to leave a mountain of junk for our kids to sort through after we are gone.
  16. Stay healthy.  Eat as healthily as possible and be sure to exercise every single day.  Exercising daily improves your health (prevents doctor visits and chronic health issues) and falls (improves strength and balance).
  17. Review critical health needs on an annual basis.  Do your hearing aids still meet your needs or has your hearing declined necessitating new ones?  Can you still see well with your current glasses or should you get a new prescription?  Has your physician reviewed your medication list to make sure there are no conflicts or drugs you no longer need?  How are your dentures looking (these need to be replaced at least once a decade or sooner)?
  18. No matter your age, make sure you have your end of life documents updated regularly, signed, and notarized.  You literally NEVER know when you will need these.
  19. Regularly Google senior scams to see the newest ways scammers target seniors.  There are literally so many scams out there I could write an entire book about them.  I am very careful about who I give any of my personal information to, we don't answer our phones unless when know who is calling, and we don't answer our door unless we know the person (even with a 'no soliciting' sign, our neighborhood is overrun with solicitors...who apparently can't read).
  20. Make your home as secure as possible.  Long gone are the days when we could leave our doors unlocked (I don't thinking my grandparents even had house keys...neighbors would stop by and leave a pie on the counter, workers would borrow a truck which always had the keys in the visor, etc).  If you do that these days, you wold probably come home to squatters or an empty house!
  21. Review your insurance coverages to make sure they still meet your needs.  I call around for insurance prices annually because the cost for bundled home and car insurance can change so much each year.
  22. Practice living on your retirement income before your retire.  Figure out what your fixed income will be then put the rest of your income in savings.  Track your expenses in order to see where the holes in your budget are and figure out how to mitigate these before hitting full retirement.
  23. Consider how you will stay active once retired.  We have friends who can afford an elaborate retirement (international travel, golfing, a second home) and other friends who can barely afford to eat, let alone spend money on activities.  We live frugally and enjoy a wide range of activities mostly because there are so many free or cheap things to do in our city to keep us busy.
  24. Some ways to stay busy and save money: volunteer, work a temporary or part time job, inexpensive weekly group activities like walking or bowling, senior half-price matinee movies, starting a YouTube channel, etc.
  25. Build friendships.  From what I have seen, most of our senior friends rely much more on their friends than their family when it comes to getting them to doctor's appointments, checking on them daily, helping with home issues, picking up groceries when needed, etc.

On to part 2...


  1. Those are all good. But, when friends are elderly and cannot help, it is rough. Some of my friends still worked or took care of grandkids or lived in the country when I was discharged from the hospital at 3 am. Others did not drive at night or had car trouble at the time. And, some of these were younger than I. A lot of my friends had died, ones that helped me and I helped them.

    1. That is a problem for our 92 year old friend--her friends have mostly passed way, her kids are now elderly and have a hard enough time taking care of themselves, and so we try to help out of older friends as much as possible.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this information. There are so many things we need to do while we are youngish to prepare for our future.

    1. Definitely. As I see our elderly friends have issues with things, I add them to my list of things I need to prepare for!

  3. Long time lurker here, just wanted to say that I find your blog so informative and inspiring! I’m same age as you, and living in a high cost area (NY), and facing some of these issues. Keep up the great work! Best, Liz from New York