Old age ain’t for sissies

Feb 11, 2024 | Insights

Old age ain't no place for sissies, as the saying goes, and death is inevitable, so it pays to prepare well before it happens.
The elderly gentleman standing next to me was having difficulties. He had brought provisions from the butcher’s stall at our local village market and was trying to pay on a card. Unfortunately, he was confused by the contents of his wallet and attempted to settle with a loyalty card instead of a credit card.

Fortunately, the village market works at a gentle pace, and everyone was patient. We offered the gentleman our help, but you could see that the episode was bruising his pride and undermining his independence, and he persevered. 

Eventually, he decided to pay by cash instead of a card, and the cost was rounded down a little by the stall-keeper to avoid too much small change.

A mirror of our future selves

Nonetheless, the incident was distressing because we could see ourselves in the gentleman in a few years – probably why everyone was patient, kind and helpful.

Could things have been different? I did not know the gentleman’s story. However, it’s not my first time witnessing such a situation. I suspect we have all been there and wonder how someone could allow themselves to become so vulnerable.

It is easy to be critical, but I have often talked to clients about how to make the last years of their lives as easy and fulfilling as possible and (just as importantly) how to make life easy for those who might have to look after you in your old age and wind up your life after it’s over.

Two strategies for old age

I’ve found two things to be helpful. The first is to let go. I know it’s not easy and flies in the face of our innate survival instinct and fear of our loss of independence and death. But, if you can accept the inevitable, it is much easier to do the second thing: a plan for your old age and loss of independence.

It is not just about money, although that is important. It’s about your family and community, the people who will be there for you when you cannot do it yourself. It certainly helps to make your wishes known beforehand and get your family’s and support network’s agreement.

Old age ain’t no place for sissies, as the saying goes, and like taxes, death is inevitable, so it pays to prepare for both well before they happen.

My name is Jeremy Deedes, and I design and construct a purposeful and satisfying future for entrepreneurial couples whose kids have left home so that they can grow their wealth, free themselves from cloying restrictions and create new ways of making a difference.

Visit jeremydeedes.com or schedule a free 20-minute consultation call to learn how I can work with you.

Photo attribution

Photo by the author

Other attributions and references

Audio link: https://audio.com/jeremy_deedes/old-age/

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