Old Age Or Disability In A Time Of Economic/Societal Decline/Collapse

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Poet's picture
Poet
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Old Age Or Disability In A Time Of Economic/Societal Decline/Collapse

Have any of you given much thought to how you (or your loved ones) will survive as you (or they) grow older?

Physical limitations and disabilities, mental disabilities, resources, safety, security, etc. How will you, society, community, family and friends cope? Have you made or thought up any plans?

I was reminded when I read the following article:

Louis Theroux On Dementia: The Capital Of The Forgetful (April 25, 2012)
"Nancy Vaughan is a charming and lively conversationalist, a friendly host, and at nearly 90, still has much of the sparkle and attractiveness that must have turned many heads when she was in her heyday as a model in New York.

"But she also has trouble remembering her own name, or the fact that she is married (62 years and counting), or indeed, much of the time, some of the basics of the English language."
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17844315

Personally, I pay about $50 per month for a long-term care plan, as well has about the same for a very modest term life insurance policy. My wife also has a modest term life policy. But we can't be certain that the companies that offer these policies still be around if perhaps one day we have need of them. (It may not even be hyperinflation or deflation - it could just be a bad stock market or a lot of Baby Boomers cashing in...) Or will we have to depend on our children and our respective families more, as we human beings have done for countless generations in the past?

Recently, I was on crutches due to a knee injury. Then shortly after, I injured the elbow of my dominant arm. My knee is almost back to normal now, and my elbow is getting there. However, a couple of weeks ago, I wouldn't have been able to walk or run on my own, nor handle a gun or a knife. I had use eating utensils with my left hand. Wasn't easy! It certainly made me think...

Poet

RTF's picture
RTF
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Joined: Jun 17 2010
Posts: 5
disability and collapse

I have a chronic disability.  So do many of my friends.  We are used to being marginalized by society.  We are seldom/never acknowledged on this site, except that when society crumbles from the outside in, marginalized populations will go down first.

Some of my friends in group homes or living under section 8 housing would be able to return to their families of origin for support when their disability checks stop and subsidized housing becomes a thing of the past.  Many others would suffer in family situations because of the stigma of the disability within the family.  These friends fall apart from even minimal contact with their families.

All of us have been on intense medication regimens continually for decades.  Ironically, the side effects of medications have ruined our health.  Many of us have tardive diskinesia and cannot even drink soup.  Many are severely overweight.

My friends who do not follow the blogs nevertheless have a keen awareness that literally their lives are in danger.  One by one, services are cut back and discontinued.  Fear for the future takes over.  Those who can find acceptance through spirituality do marginally better.  Everyone is scared because we all know we cannot take care of our own basic needs.

I feel sad that my friends and I will undoubtably be the first to go.  But the future is unknowable.  Perhaps some of us will find our way, being supported constructs we cant imagine yet because we are so dependent on the government to take care of us.

Poet's picture
Poet
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We Are All Vulnerable

I worry quite a bit because I have parents in their late 60s and early 70s. I think everyone here has parents or relatives who are elderly. I also know a disability could befall anyone at any time - as happened to me (albeit temporarily).

Heck, even children can be considered disabled when compared to an able adult. Mine can't talk, they have little knowledge of danger or common sense, and are apt to scream or cry or laugh at any moment. They require constant monitoring and attention. They are only about 2 feet tall, don't have a lot of endurance or strength, and they fall down a lot. Quite a few people here have children.

I welcome your input, RTF. Please share more of your thoughts and any preparations you have made to accomodate change and increase resilience. Thank you.

Poet

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
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Joined: Dec 13 2009
Posts: 1627
disabled in a SHTF situation

One of my first preps was to get a hip replacement. I was not sure if insurance or Obamacare would cover it so I took care of it right away or I would have been unable to walk. Anyone who has necessary surgeries needed should take care of them ASAP if they can. If you can avoid being disabled, try to do so.

My new husband's ex lives wth relatives, is disabled but not on SS disability. Her daughter is going to take over her care when her other relatives are no longe able to, about a year from now. In the old days, family took care of family. But yes - if your family is not reliable....that's not good. One of the things that concerns me the most about a future with a lower standard of living is the breakdown of the family in Western society over last few decades. We've become so fragmented and self-centered. Hopefully most of us will get a feeling of accomplishment from taking care of our the disabled, elederly and children in our families.

Poet's picture
Poet
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Even The Disabled Can Be Valuable

In the old days, if you had children in your 20s, you'd be a working grandparent in your 40s and 50s. By the time you hit your 50s and 60s, you could have helped raise the children and had at least 2, possibly 3 generations below you to help spread the burden of care.

Even if they are disabled, never underestimate the value of a sharpshooter grandma in a watchtower, a group of grandfathers on horseback out on long range patrol, or even a home-bound great grandparent watching toddlers. My father is in his 70s and comes over a few times a week to help watch over my babies so my wife can study or take a shower or a nap. He can't lift them up easily or change diapers, but he can call out for help if needed, and he is teaching them another language.

Poet

safewrite wrote:

One of my first preps was to get a hip replacement. I was not sure if insurance or Obamacare would cover it so I took care of it right away or I would have been unable to walk. Anyone who has necessary surgeries needed should take care of them ASAP if they can. If you can avoid being disabled, try to do so.

My new husband's ex lives wth relatives, is disabled but not on SS disability. Her daughter is going to take over her care when her other relatives are no longe able to, about a year from now. In the old days, family took care of family. But yes - if your family is not reliable....that's not good. One of the things that concerns me the most about a future with a lower standard of living is the breakdown of the family in Western society over last few decades. We've become so fragmented and self-centered. Hopefully most of us will get a feeling of accomplishment from taking care of our the disabled, elederly and children in our families.

pinecarr's picture
pinecarr
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I think you bring up a valid concern, Poet.

I think you bring up a valid concern, Poet.  A couple of years ago, I started having a lower back problem.  I know it is not bad, as far as back pain goes, but it is enough to have dramatically impacted my flexibility and ability to do heavy work.  That concerns me, given the future we may be facing.  I was never one to shy from physical labor, but what happens when one physically can't do it any more, without making existing conditions worse?  It is an unwelcomed dilemma, on top of everything else.

Safewrite, I always thought that was a good move on your part to get the hip replacement right away, while you could.  It was smart thinking.  I keep meaning to see a skin doctor about getting a couple of (maybe harmless, maybe not)  little bumps removed, while still covered  by insurance. 

nickbert's picture
nickbert
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One of the many reasons we

One of the many reasons we moved to start a business out of the country was to start building up sources of income independent of the 8-to-5 typical job, income that can be used to help support our parents should they need it.... which I unfortunately expect will be necessary in the future since they are all retired and much of their income (pensions) and health care depends on things running smoothly from here on out.  They are all in relatively good health now, but what about 10 years from now when they're in their 70's?  IMO the system is (for the most part) going to cut them loose at the time when health problems will become more prevalent and costly than ever, or worse yet the state will add insult to injury and either raise taxes or eat away through inflation and capital controls what little savings they have.  I think Poet is right, family and friends will be more important than ever for seniors and the disabled, and those of us in our prime have to plan ahead as best we can.  Fair or not, I don't expect promises to be kept by the government, so family and community has to step up to the plate.  It is probably a better thing in the long, long run, but I cringe a little when I think about the painful transition.

Here in Mongolia the pensions are typically insufficient, as is health care for those with little money.   My wife's grandmother, before she passed away, was mostly bedridden for the past several years and required constant care.  My mother-in-law and her sister (and her sister's daughter) provided the in-home care, whereas the rest of us sent money periodically or when hospital treatments and medicines were needed.  My wife tells me this is very typical here; and whether the families can afford medical treatments or not they are still expected to care for their parents and elders to the extent they are capable.  And unfortunately yes, sometimes that is not very much at all.  For some families the shortcoming is monetary, and sometimes the shortcoming is lack of local medical services (which was our problem with grandmother living in the Gobi).  If a state in severe economic decline has to drop or severely cut back programs for the disabled or elderly, I expect it to eventually look a lot like the situation here.  To go back to something that Chris said in a couple of recent podcasts though, I think the biggest difference will be in how our societies react to the changes, not the changes themselves.  Will the majority step up and pool resources to help care for family in need?  I hope so, but I really can't speak for anyone other than my family.

- Nick

Lnorris's picture
Lnorris
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We Are All Vulnerable

I saw this post and spent the last day thinking about the possibilities...  I live close to my parents.  Both are in their 70's and each has had a major operation in the last 5 years.  Thankfully both are in good health, for now.  I have worked with the geriatric population for years now and know all to well the ravages of the aging body.  After age 25 everyone starts to lose an average of 10% of their organ function/year.  Basicaly, we're all in this together folks.  

I've said many times to my friends and colleagues that we as a society are woefully unprepared for the next twenty years of baby boomers that will need to be taken care as their bodies and minds fail them.  More of the burden is already being shifted out of the hospitals and onto visiting nurse agencies etc...  The only way hospitals will stay afloat is to constantly decrease length of stays and move the patients onto the next layer of care.

And all of the above is assuming we have no other external crisis to stress an already over-strained, inefficient health care system.  If the SHTF I have to agree with the Patriot Nurse as to what we'll see and experience as far as waves of deaths.  Just think back to Katrina, the people in nursing homes that died, hospitals that had to be evacutated etc...

It's not a pretty picture when you consider the millions who are insulin dependent or oxygen dependent. A breakdown in the delivery system or the grid would be devastating.

I wish I had answers...I talked with a colleague this past weekend who is like minded and we came to the agreement that we know what the problems are but the solutions are complicated and inextricably tied to a system that feeds off of not being able to solve them.

That's all I have time to write for now...

VeganD's picture
VeganD
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Posts: 644
One concern I have about the

One concern I have about the recent uproar about rising rates of disability applications in the US is that people like RTF and friends, and others here, will get lumped in with the sociopathic con artists who lie about being ill  and collect.   As such, these sociopaths become the excuse politicians need to deprive people of needed support and get rid of marginal and expensive members of society (very eldelry and the disabled). I love Mish but I was greatly disappointed by his biased accounting of the recent rise in disability claims. He believes they are largely fraudulent.  Maybe, maybe not-I do not see evidence of this allegation in the articles I have read, only rising claims which can be attributed just as easily to employers purging marginal and medical ill workers to reduce expenses and lack of other job options for these very people.

Personally I think this Meme of "all new disability applications are fraudulent" is going to result in new excuses to deprive disabled people of care. Also include the elderly in that. I have no illusions about being supported by anyone when I become old and frail, as a single woman in middle age I expect to be on my own.   My view is bleak and based on what I see around me.  As such I am taking a renewed interest in preventative care but when and if I become seriously disabled later in life my plans are modest: keep my crock pot near me for my cooking stored lentils and rice and hope I can pay rent and heat from my savings. I seriously doubt I can count on much more with any real certainty. I have lovely neighbors and a few friends who can help out on a limited basis, hopefully they will be ok.   Also, as RTF points out, disabled people provide support for each other as society can really stigmatize and marginalize those who are severely chronically ill.

ao's picture
ao
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Posts: 2220
here's some possible help

pinecarr wrote:

I think you bring up a valid concern, Poet.  A couple of years ago, I started having a lower back problem.  I know it is not bad, as far as back pain goes, but it is enough to have dramatically impacted my flexibility and ability to do heavy work.  That concerns me, given the future we may be facing.  I was never one to shy from physical labor, but what happens when one physically can't do it any more, without making existing conditions worse?  It is an unwelcomed dilemma, on top of everything else.

If you are under age 60, there's a good chance this book(let) would be of some help to you.

http://www.amazon.com/Treat-Your-Back-Robin-McKenzie/dp/0959774661

Poet's picture
Poet
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Joined: Jan 21 2009
Posts: 1844
Already In Transition

I think we all need to draw closer to our families as the economy and job market continues to decline. I think it is already happening.

I read somewhere that some 1.8 million households "disappeared" with the recession. These were people who had their own household pre-recession,, but have now moved in with friends and family.

Anecdotally, amongst my wife's female friends, many of whom are young mothers between 20 and 30 years of age, several come to mind:

  • one with infant son and boyfriend are living with her grandmother
  • one with toddler daughter and unemployed husband lives in her parents' garage
  • another, with toddler daughter and unemployed husband has her rent paid for by her wealthy mother
  • another, with two toddler sons and an employed husband, living with her parents
  • another, a former nurse, with a toddler son and a newborn and a working husband, were living in her mother's home
  • another, with a toddler son and pregnant with another, with a self-employed/unemployed husband, living in the brother-in-law's home.

I am sure if I asked my wife, she would come up with a good number more examples.

Current societal expectations and even current home building layouts, are centered on a nuclear family. We are in transition, and it is possible that we will see evidence of that transition come about as homes start getting built more like they are in traditional societies where multiple generations live together, and TV commercials and shows feature more such families.

Poet

Poet's picture
Poet
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Posts: 1844
Greek Pensioners Protest Over Pension Cuts

Thsi is news from back in April, but of interest to those facing growing older in a time of of economic/societal decline/collapse...

Greek Pensioners Protest Over Pension Cuts (April 20, 2013)
"A sea of old age pensioners from across Greece flooded into Athens on Friday (April 19) to protest against pension cuts."

"[Aristides Manikas, Protester]:
'I have grandchildren, I have great-grandchildren, and I don't have enough money to buy them candy. It's embarrassing. I stopped going to the coffee shop. I used to have a glass of wine, I stopped that too. There have been many dictatorships in the past, but none like this one. What's going to happen to our children.'
"

"Some aided by walking canes and led by a demonstrator on a motorized cart, the elderly marched through the city past the Greek parliament to the Public Administration Ministry, where they were stopped short by police."

Poet

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