If you are old, the Kindle, or a similar e-reader, is the “book” for you. It is cheap and small. You can take it with you on trips. Get an adapter if you go overseas, but it works fine. Just go to Amazon.com.
For old people, like me, the best thing is that I can adjust the print size. Have you tried to read a paperback recently with your eyes?
I was flying back from Kosovo a couple of years ago and stuck my Kindle in the pocket of my soft-sided suitcase, which I then checked. Wrong move! My Kindle got smashed and was unusable. I had to buy a new one, but I was able to download everything I had purchased from Amazon.com onto the new one at no charge. Then a few years later I was able to download everything on my I-Pad, again at no charge. However, I still use the Kindle with its large print capabilities.
Kindle books are cheaper that hardbacks. And, you can get free books and cheap books from Amazon.com.
In Albuquerque you can check out Kindle, and other e-books, for two weeks for free. I presume that most libraries have this program. And, old people whom I know frequent libraries, so…..
Your Kindle will also handle magazine subscriptions. The magazine on Kindle is better than trying to pack magazines for a trip; and, if you are like me, magazines tend to accumulate and accumulate and accumulate. Go Kindle.
It is small. See my post on geezer’s clothes for life. My kindle fits in the bag along with all those clothes.
Finally, the Kindle holds a huge number of books, both in the Cloud and on the Kindle. I keep travel books, especially about a dozen Rick Steves’ books, along with books I reread, such as Walden. My Kindle has over 500 books, including mysteries, the Complete Works of Shakespeare, Thoreau and Emerson; not to mention a half-dozen books on how to blog when you are old.
I am trying to reduce the geezer to his essence. Pretty soon I will be able to travel by Wi-Fi and my grandkids can just download me whenever they want to see me; otherwise I will exist as some sort of permalink.
In the US there are 26,200 prisoners over 65 in state and federal prisons and 124,400 over the age of 55.
The geezer, who is 75, and an “opportunist” is thinking outside the box; or perhaps ‘inside the box.” If I have no money, little social security, no home, no assets, no family; and have to line up at the soup kitchen for meals and the free street clinic for medical care, maybe there is another way.
At 75, what do I need? My sex life is a thing of the past; there is no one to take care of me, I am frequently wet and cold; I am regularly exposed to every type of riffraff; and, can no longer fight off street predators. How can I live out my days in some comfort, be warm, eat regularly, and have adequate medical and dental care?
The answer is to rob a bank.
The sentence seems to be 10 years plus an extra 5 years if you have a gun. I need to check to see if the gun has to be loaded; wouldn’t want to hurt anyone. The 15 years takes me to 90 which is about my life expectancy on a good day and I don’t have to0 many of them. If I got in a fight or two, I can avoid good time.
The big problem is that I might get probation since I don’t have a record; so, I might have to rob the same bank twice; or, even three times.
Given the economic and social future of the elderly, prison doesn’t sound too bad; and, it can’t be worse than a nursing home; even if I qualified. If you can’t pay, Medicaid is the only answer. Assisted living is out of the question without money or long-term care insurance.
There is probably a downside, but I am having trouble seeing it.
The food can’t be worse than most senior institutions. If I have a room(cell)mate, he would probably be about my age. I would probably be in some sort of minimum security facility, but, given the gun I might be in a maximum security facility. The friends I would make would probably be better than the ones on the street.
Would I be safe? Probably. I am sure that most Federal Prisons take care of old people; albeit, reluctantly. There are work programs in most institutions and perhaps I could care for other old people if I couldn’t get assigned to the library. Win-win.
The New York Times has an article on California state prisons that have caregivers called ” gold coats.” These are inmates, usually murderers, who in exchange for a “gold coat,” and other privileges, look after the elderly; especially those with dementia. They protect them from the other prisoners, get them food, make sure they don’t fall; and, in general act as highly trained caregivers. They sound better than some in nursing homes I have visited.
Do I want to go this route? I suppose it depends on how cold and hungry I get; and, if I am competent to rob a bank when the time comes.
Or, maybe it would just be cheaper and better to move all of us old prisoners and “Gold Coats” to the “abandoned” military bases where they are keeping illegal immigrants.
At 77, I am a “good” driver; maybe a few problems with eyesight, hearing and attention span. I usually know where I am going. The AARP driving course for seniors lowers my insurance rates; and, I avoid driving at night, on freeways and with my kids, who watch me. They know that I saw my father take his father’s car keys. He and I agreed that he could keep his car as long as he didn’t drive it; so, it was parked for several years.
My car has a few dings. I renew my license annually, not for 10 years anymore. MVD and I joke about the eye test.
So, I joined UBER. It was scary. I didn’t know what I was getting into; and, learning to call UBER on a smart phone?? I had to know where I was going; I couldn’t just drive around looking for the place I thought I wanted to go. I also had to know where I was.
I tried UBER in Tucson; clicked on the UBER App; typed in my address and the restaurant address. It took three tries and a bit of deleting, but I did it.
In 3 minutes a picture of the UBER driver, car make and license number appeared on the screen. Two minutes later he was there; just like his picture, and took us straight to our favorite restaurant. The trip cost of $6.32 appeared on the screen; I clicked ok, clicked that the driver was great and he clicked that I was a great passenger. We parted company. We had a nice dinner, re-apped UBER. Same deal, different driver. Cost $5.47; total cost $11.79, no tipping, no money; the amount on my credit card minutes later. The drivers were both great, interesting, and I didn’t worry about the extra glass of wine.
AAA reports the average cost to own a car in 2015 was $8698. For two of us, that comes to $17,396. I don’t think I spend that much, but….. I don’t really want to find out.
My wife and I have two cars, even though we usually travel together. Kelly Blue Book says a dealer would give us about $25,000 for them. Do we need two cars? No cars? One car and UBER?
How many trips do we need to take? One a day? How far do we go? Mostly close to our condo. Seven trips a week; 14 UBER trips; averaging $10 per trip, which may be high. $140 a week; or, $7280 a year.
Using UBER we have a chauffeur, do not cause accidents, are calmer, etc. We even age better. Have you ever had someone say: “Do you see that car?” 10 times a trip?
The bus costs 50 cents and goes most places, but takes longer. Kids work, grandkids are too young and neighbors would rather car-pool with UBER.
The bottom line is: UBER could save us up to $10,116 per year. Even a $1000 savings would be worth it. The real bottom line is that our driving years will soon come to an END; our cars will be taken from us; we will move in with UBER and use the $25,000 for four years of UBER.
Maybe UBER will have caregivers in ten years…..; hopefully, with a car.
UBER is experimenting with programs for seniors, that include, senior-trained drivers, special cars, etc. No details yet.
The New York Times recently reported on UBER’s new ride sharing program which should interest seniors and save them money.
Since I originally wrote this, The New York Times has reported on ride-sharing which fills niches that UBER does not cover, yet. The one that interested me the most was Lift Hero, which provides rides for old people. The web page is down for maintenance, but keep checking. UBER was running a test program for old people in Tucson a few months ago, but I have not seen anything on this recently.
Transportation is a real and growing problem for old people; especially where public transportation is not available.
When you travel, think UBER. I have had success in Panama and Montreal, Canada.
A change of senior-mind-set is required.
The New York Times article by a doctor with a terminal illness caught my eye. He built his own coffin. It may seem morbid to some, but if you have a terminal illness or are old, death is one of the things you think about.
Building your own coffin adds a human touch to death that seems to be missing today. Death has become mechanical and hidden; just a process that you hire done and which is kept out of sight. I remember when my grandfather died in a small town in Nebraska. An open coffin, supported by two chairs in the dining room, was there overnight. Someone was always sitting next to it, including me at age 8. There were constant visitors, food and much talking.
Terminal illness and old age seem to drain one’s life of purpose; coffin building may add meaning and comfort. It will surely get people talking.
The problem is that people facing death, whether through old age or disease, look at death differently. They come to accept that everyone dies; a concept unfamiliar to younger people. A purpose is important.
Coffin plans if you are interested.
I am 77. I need clothing that I can wear everyday and everywhere, that is cheap, that is always acceptable and that can be washed. I do not want to check it when flying. I want to hoist it into an overhead bin by myself. I don’t want to worry about theft.
I have chosen black walking shoes, sandals, 2 pairs of jeans, 2 turtle-necks, 2 shirts, 7 socks, underpants t-shirts and handkerchiefs. I have one blazer and one hooded rain jacket. All, except for the blazer can be washed together, in one load. Everything is black. There is room for miscellaneous items.
It all fits on me and in the 14″x18″x12″ bag in the picture. I can go on an archeological dig, eat at a four-star restaurant, attend a wedding or a funeral, attend a concert and live out the rest of my life in a long-care facility with nothing more than what is on me and in the bag.
It is cheap, universal and requires no thought. It is easily replaced. It gives me a unique, but acceptable, appearance, and not an offensive one.
American Air Lines has introduced its Basic Economy Fare. Other airlines, except Southwest, are charging for checking, carry-on, and for anything that you can’t stick under the seat.
This is great. I am cheap. Now I am forced to travel as a minimalist, which is better for me. I can enjoy the journey; and, not worry about dealing with luggage.
Have you ever seen an old person trying to hoist their bag into an overhead bin? Not a pretty sight. Have you seen an old person dragging a large suitcase through the airport? Do old people really need to dress up when traveling?
I have written on this before. But now, I am forced to take a new look.
I like Rick Steves and have taken 4 trips with his organization. He sells the Euro Flight Bag (14 x 13 x 8) and it fits under the American Airlines seat with room to spare. I don’t need as much seat room since I have lost an inch or two in the last few years, and expect to lose a bit more as my pending osteoporosis develops. This bag should fit under any airline seat.
For any length of trip:
The jeans that I wear. Acceptable anywhere I might go, if clean and neat. Better than the checkered pants with the zipper that didn’t work of previous generations.
7 black t-shirts
7 pair of socks
Shoes that I wear
Light weight travel pants.
Light weight pants that I can sleep in, or use informally.
Toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, aspirin, ibuprofen
Tai Chi slippers
I-pad with over 500 books, NY Times, Albuquerque Journal and magazine subscriptions’
Pack-It Jacket with internal pockets.
Emergency rain jacket -ScotteVest
Notebook and pens
Glasses and hearing aid
3 shirts – long-sleeved or short-sleeved depending on weather.
Cell phone with camera and Google Maps
Questions to ask:
- Can I wash my clothes for the cost of checking or the carry-on fee?
- Can I lift a bag into overhead by myself?
- Do I have to pack anything different from what I wear at home?
- Will anyone laugh at me? Do I care?
- Can i wear this on a cruise ship?
- Will this work in winter? What do I need to add, besides a heavier jacket and gloves?
- Am I going to a place with stores?
- Do I need anything else?
Airline baggage limits are a positive. Like a lot of parameters they benefit you in unintended ways. There is a lot to be said for not traveling with a lot of stuff that you don’t need when you are over 75. Keep moving, but reduce your load.
You may need to earn a bit of extra money; simply support yourself, or just want a cheap new experience. Consider one, or all, of the following; some interesting, some practical, some simply offering a minimalist life style. You need to be creative if you are going to find a place with board and room, little stress, not too difficult and available.
The most important think is that you are challenging yourself.
You can locate these alternative living situations, by googling them and including the place you want to live.
1. Nursing Home/Assisted Living. These require round-the-clock care and in the smaller ones you can even sleep. Work a deal for room and board in exchange for the night shift. You might even get a small salary. Check state statutes and contact a few places.
2. Animal shelter – These require people to feed and care for animals. Pick one with a room for night caretakers.
3. Monastery – A lot of monasteries and nunneries have extra space and older priests and nuns. Trade caregiving, or some other skill, for room and board.
4. Security guard – A lot of places need someone on duty overnight. Might be some danger, but usually you are locked in, have a telephone or alarm, and might have to do a few rounds. Ideally you can live on the premises. A lot of school systems will allow you to park your RV or trailer on school grounds to provide a round-the-clock presence.
5. Camp ground – All camp grounds need help; especially in the summer. If you have your own trailer or RV, you can find work in private camp grounds or in the National Parks. A great opportunity for the summer is to manage a Refugio or pilgrim hostel on the Camino de Santiago. The American Pilgrims on the Camino offer training as a hospitalero in how to manage a Refugio. You can find out if you like this by walking the 500 mile Camino de Santiago.
7. House sitter – People with expensive or remote homes frequently need house-sitters; especially those with pets. If you are a minimalist and don’t mind moving to different places, this is a way to travel and to live for free. Take a look at housesitter.com.
8. Off-season manager – A seasonable tourist area requires someone to look after things off-season. Google “off-season manager.”
9. Companion – a lot of old people need a “companion.” They have large homes that they don’t want to leave. You can swap care, driving, shopping, cooking, etc. in exchange for board and room plus a small salary which will make your Social Security go a lot further. Google “senior companion care jobs near me.”
10. Cruise ship staff. If you have a skill that you can teach or if you are an older man who can dance, it is possible to get a job on a cruise ship. Think cooking class, investment advice, dancing, pottery, genealogy, computer skills, etc.
Seniors have eye problems. Thus large print books, e-readers and tapes are a great free source. Especially for best sellers, where the waiting list may be, 291st of the first 3 copies returned. You may want to turn to the large print shelf, which may have a much shorter wait. These books are also much easier for old eyes to read.
In addition, take a look at free e-readers, in a variety of brands, such as Kindle. You can usually check them out from a distance for a few weeks with a library card. There are a limited number, so you may have to wait here to, but usually the wait is not so long. E-readers also have the additional advantage that you can make the type larger.
More and more seniors seem to be looking for alternative travel accommodation options. Today you have bed & breakfasts, Airbnb, Couch-surfing, hostels, refugios, and college campuses. Old people should ask a few questions and consider what they will be comfortable with. Since I turned 60, I have stayed in Airbnb’s, bed & breakfasts, hostels, refugios, houses and condos all arranged for in advance and at a distance, usually on websites. I have a few suggestions.
1. Will there be other guests? Are you comfortable sharing the facilities with strangers? Is the owner on premises?
2. Are there stairs? Does this give you a problem? Railings, carpeting, clutter?
3. Private bath? Do you have your own bathroom in your room? Does a bathroom outside your room have a secure lock? How many people use it?
4. Clean? You don’t need too much of someone else’s dirt at your age.
5. Kitchen? Can you cook? Store food? How many are cooking/cleaning at the same time?
6. How many people are you sharing with? Will you be comfortable?
7. Security? Bedroom? Bath? Entry doors?
8. Parking? Room for all the cars or do you have to walk in the dark?
9. Heating and cooling?
10. Access to owner/manager?
11. TV? Radio?
13. Bedside lights?
14. WiFi? Password?
15. Surroundings? Restaurants/pharmacy/urgent care/transportation/??
16. Photos – on webpage?
17. Comments on web page – read these and look for the negative ones.
18. Cork screw – Did you ever try to open a bottle of wine without one? Glasses, plates, silver, sharp knife, can-opener?
REMEMBER: You are old. You are interested in Comfort/Convenience/Security. You don’t want to stay in a place where you are uncomfortable.
1. Check out the web page.
2. Call the owner/manager and go over the specifics that are important to you.
3. Google Map the place – check out what is around there.
4. Say no if you feel uncomfortable; just don’t book.
5. Hope for the best!
Always have a PLAN B!
I am 76, vulnerable and cheap. A recent neighborhood burglary and car vandalism made me rethink our home security.
What is unique about most old people – my wife and I?
- We live alone.
- Our memories are not quite what they used to be.
- I am deaf.
- I think I am younger than I am.
- My support group is shrinking.
- I am cheap.
- I am fearful.
- Any system we use must be simple and self-operating. We can’t be bothered with any complexity.
- We travel and are frequently away from home.
I cannot protect us from everything; but, I can reduce the odds, my fear, and my paranoia. I can provide a video if I am the victim of a crime.
This is what I did.
- I turn on porch and garage exterior lights each night. My neighbors can watch. I have mixed feelings about this as there is an argument that you allow burglars to see what they are doing.
- I rewired the pyracantha along our back wall and tied the stems so that they covered the whole wall. I will let them grow taller in the future.
- I installed two interior lights on timers that go on and off automatically at various times in the evening. ($4.87 each.)
- I wired together wire tomato cages (I use these in the summer for my tomatoes. – or $2 each.) where the exterior walls adjoined my neighbor’s wall. Someone coming over the wall has to deal with the pyracantha, the wires and the cages, which they cannot see in the dark. Jail provides medical treatment.
- I installed a solar motion sensor light ($29.97) over the back door. This gives off enough light to see the back yard and becomes very bright if someone enters the yard. My neighbor can watch the burglar.
- I installed a Canary Security System and Camera ($199.95) tied into my smart phone. My smart phone beeps if someone enters my home office. I can watch whoever is there (even if I am in Iceland), activate an alarm, or call the police. The system records and retains the video for at least 24 hours, or longer if you subscribe. It is quite clear even in the dark. It goes on automatically when I leave the house, but I have to click “private” when I return home or it keeps monitoring. The BIG problem with this is that the first night I did not click “private” after I returned home. The next morning I had a video of a 76 year-old, nude man, coming out of the bathroom; now, I turn it off when I am at home.
When we are really old, our kids can access the Canary from their smart phones and monitor us. I will have to start wearing a robe.
The total cost of our security system was $239.70, plus tax.
I could have used a commercial alarm service, but that costs a lot more, and they call a neighbor, or us, giving the burglar time to get away You put your neighbor in harm’s way when they go to check on your home. If the police are called and it is a false alarm, you may get charged depending on your town.
We travel a lot, have no relatives in town, and worry about security when we are gone. This is not a perfect system, but for the cost, I don’t see how we could do more.
The net result is that I feel better, I have not spent much money, I have a simple system that even I can handle, and I will have a video of the burglar. I may even catch him by dialing 911 and advising the police where he is in my home and whether or not he appears to be armed. The video will be evidence.
In old age the geezer needs a KISS! (Keep it Simple Stupid!)