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Future-proofing and how to avoid becoming over- dependent

(153 Posts)
Cabbie21 Tue 14-Nov-23 08:58:29

My parents were very independent but in their final years, looking back, I now see they would probably have appreciated more support from me, as they did become very dependent on their neighbours. I lived an hour and a half away and worked full time so I saw them roughly every three weeks, alternating with other family members.
My husband died six months ago, and currently I am restricted by an injury, so I am really grateful for the support my family can give me. They are fairly local to me, but have busy lives with work and families. I will in due course be more independent but it has made me think hard about the future.
We moved a few years ago into a small market town, on a bus route, with doctors, shops etc handy, already future proofing our lives. But now the garden is too much. If I am going to move, I should probably do so in a couple of years’ time whilst I can still cope with the upheaval. But where? And then what?

When I read about others who are tied into caring for their elderly parents, I would not want to put my children into that position, but I hope to be near enough to make it easy for them to visit me. One of them is likely to move away in maybe 3-4 years’ time.
So I am not looking for immediate personal advice, but to open a discussion on how others see the future, when you need more help, maybe lose independence but want not to burden your family. What plans have you made? How can we keep our independence, when we become less able to manage, when we need more support? Have you moved nearer to family? Could you ever live with them? What has worked for you?

Calendargirl Tue 14-Nov-23 15:52:10

That is very true eddiecat

It’s easy to think about what we hope to do while we are still reasonably fit and able, quite another when you are older, frail, scared, helpless..

SueEH Thu 16-Nov-23 11:29:18

As someone currently caring from long distance for a 94 year old I am absolutely certain that I will not be needy, depressing and reliant on my adult children. As soon as I am able I will downsize from my 4 bed/large garden end terrace to my forever home where I will happily pay for what ever care I need.m in the future.
Just please don’t buy into leasehold retirement property. Dad refused to rent and has bought one of these this year (not M & S) and I am only now discovering the many pitfalls.

Bookfan Thu 16-Nov-23 11:31:41

On this subject- I am just reading’ The Book about getting Older’ by Lucy Pollock . Recommend it and wish I had read it sooner!

V3ra Thu 16-Nov-23 12:06:31

Just please don’t buy into leasehold retirement property. Dad refused to rent and has bought one of these this year (not M & S) and I am only now discovering the many pitfalls.

What is it you don't like about it SueEH?

Nannarose Thu 16-Nov-23 12:18:44

I assume that leasehold retirement property is not always a good financial investment. But I have known some who did it, and found it excellent.
Rather like the discussions we have on here about 'park homes', they are all different; some offer a good deal, others can be a bit of a ripoff.
You need to look carefully at what is offered, take account of future fees and so on. For some families, the peace of mind some of these properties offer far outweighs future inheritance.

nexus63 Thu 16-Nov-23 12:21:06

i have one son and dil and they are brilliant, but i don't want to depend on them too much, i have had to start using a walker in the past year because of lymphedema a side effect of cancer, i do my shopping online and top up groceries with just eat or deliveroo, hospital app i get taxis. all my bills are paid online and any big things like changing curtains i wait until they visit. i see them every few weeks and they check in on me using face book and my son has a tracker on his phone so he always knows where i am, i feel safe with this, he knew i had gone into hospital two years ago before anyone told him, i had sepsis and was unconscious for three days, i have good friends and neighbours here and stay in a built up area near my doctor and a good bus service. if and when the time comes i will move into a care home as i am not having my son and his family looking after me.

Germanshepherdsmum Thu 16-Nov-23 12:21:59

They can be very difficult to sell, and ground rent and service charges continue to be payable until a sale is completed. In some cases the freeholder is entitled to a percentage of the sale proceeds too.

Matelda Thu 16-Nov-23 14:01:49

I have accumulated a lifetime of possessions, and am busy getting rid of them, a few at a time, to make things easier if I have to move out in a hurry - I won't leave this house unless I have to. I have found that it gets easier to chuck things away or recycle them the more I do it, and I mostly just feel grateful for the clearer spaces. I don't need "things" (books especially!) as more and more of my interests are online. This will make things easier for both potential visiting carers, and for my next of kin.

Bluesmum Thu 16-Nov-23 14:05:12

We moved seven years ago to be nearer my brother and sil, after I had an accident and was struggling to cope with my elderly husband who had dementia and Parkinsons. We changed our will so that my brother and sil would inherit our lovely brand new bungalow if I died first, on the condition they would move in and care for my dh. My dh died four years ago. My bungalow is wheel chair friendly, with wide hallway and doorways, level entry/exit, walk in showers with plenty of grab rails and seats etc etc. I have been very fortunate to enjoy good health and remain independent, but recently I have been feeling very unwell. Undergoing tests but nothing major so far, so maybe just my 82 years catching up with me! I now know there is no way I could live with my sil, and neither do I want to! whilst she is very kind and we get on ok most of the time, she is very dominating, being the matriarch of her own large family and we do clash on many levels.! My only son lives in Australia, he is a retired teacher but works part time tutoring online from home. His wife is just adorable and we all get on so well together. I visit every year, sometimes twice a year, up to three months at a time. Their climate and lifestyle really suit me and I love it there. I worry hiw much longer I will be able to keep making the journey! My travel insurance is almost the cost of the flight now and the flights get more and more expensive each time! ! They would dearly love me to move there permanently and often talk about pooling our resources and buying a bigger property with a granny annexe for me, I know I could be very happy there but I also know it would hurt my brother deeply if I left the uk permanently! Keeps me awake at night!

Fae1 Thu 16-Nov-23 14:07:59

OMG - worrying about the future..therein lies madness. Live for today folks!

Bluesmum Thu 16-Nov-23 14:08:58

Sorry, did not mean to hijack this thread, but just wondered if anyone else has made such a major move in later life?

Witzend Thu 16-Nov-23 14:28:12

eddiecat78, from all I’ve ever heard, that’s not uncommon. So many times I’ve heard of elderly people telling social workers etc., ‘No, I don’t need any help - my daughter will do it.’ Regardless of whether the daughter has the time or inclination. (It’s always the daughter, isn’t it?)
Not to mention refusing to allow non-family carers in the house at all.

Plus when there’s dementia in the mix, people can often completely fail to recognise that they need any help, because in their heads they can still do everything they used to.

Germanshepherdsmum Thu 16-Nov-23 14:41:05


OMG - worrying about the future..therein lies madness. Live for today folks!

If we don’t think about how we will manage in the future it means someone else will have to do it for us. That’s selfish. I read on another thread that you’re 73. I’m just a few months behind you and whilst my present home is very well suited to downstairs living, with two bedrooms and a large walk-in shower on the ground floor, there is no public transport here so a move is inevitable at some point, and better done before it becomes imperative or too much to face.

keepcalmandcavachon Thu 16-Nov-23 14:52:31

FaelOMG - worrying about the future..therein lies madness. Live for today folks!

I think it is somewhat easier to enjoy being in the here and now if you are NOT worrying about the future. Having a realistic plan, making changes and 'getting ahead of the game' surly brings peace of mind.

There is a saying "Be your future friend" smile.

Germanshepherdsmum Thu 16-Nov-23 15:02:33


Liz46 Thu 16-Nov-23 15:14:50

I realised yesterday how easy it would be to start to struggle. I have a problem with my hip and OH has arthritis which took a turn for the worse. Neither of us was well enough to go to the shop and we didn't have any bread.

Just a minor thing but it made me realise that it could easily become a lot worse.

Bijou Thu 16-Nov-23 15:15:42

I have always been very independent. My husband suffered poor health as a result of being wounded both physically and mentally in France after the DDay landings and he died in 1987.
I returned in 1989 to our bungalow which had been rented out for twelve years. After spending three months redecorating , repairing furniture and getting the garden weed free. I started visiting and entertaining friends. I have never owned or driven a car.
I went on holidays home and abroad about four times a year but had to give up when I was 82 because of arthritis and cancer. When I was 90 had to employ a gardener and help for an hour for housework. Now at the age of 100 I am housebound have had cancer again but still only have help an hour or so daily. Get all my own food. No ready meals.
Am rather lonely because all my friends have died.

Redhead56 Thu 16-Nov-23 15:16:29

Four bedroomed house our DS just modernised bathroom and ensuite to suit our needs. Large garden we get help with but our veg patch I can manage as it's raised.
I don't think about moving very happy here. We live 8 miles from DS DD lives nearly 70 miles away. See them both weekly or when possible. Our friends live in the same area as us so don't see need to worry about the future. I think time will tell as I don't have a clue about the future.

SporeRB Thu 16-Nov-23 15:18:23


Sorry, did not mean to hijack this thread, but just wondered if anyone else has made such a major move in later life?

My husband who is in his mid eighties can no longer no longer do the 13 hrs flight to Asia to see my family. So if you want to emigrate to Australia to be near your only son then you need to do it sooner rather than later.

Don't quite understand why your brother should be deeply hurt if you leave for Australia, he will still have his wife and his large family near him where else you are on your own.

I am in the process of trying to future proof our house. There has been times when I feel that the house is getting a bit to much for me and I am still a spring chicken compared to my husband. If I were on my own, I will definitely downsize.

Calendargirl Thu 16-Nov-23 15:46:31

You sound inspirational Bijou.


Caleo Thu 16-Nov-23 15:49:49

Might it be possible that a son or a daughter would appreciate the regular income from what would otherwise be spent on care home fees? If they have sufficient facilities and there is money left over for paid help this might possibly work for everyone concerned. Perhaps best if the initiative is the offspring not the aged parent.

Another suggestion is the local authority's OT advice on reliable agencies to get a suitable helper. I myself on being transferred home from care, aged 92, was advised on a care agency by a very efficient and understanding OT .

Ali23 Thu 16-Nov-23 16:01:02

We live in a bungalow which would still need some money spending on it if we become as needy as my mum became.
She moved into a ground floor flat at around 70 and this freed up her money so that she had a good decade of independence, holidays with friends etc until she was in her 80s. The next 15 years were increasingly complex. By the time she was 90 she was very demanding although still proud to do her own cooking etc.

It’s a dilemma that I think about a lot. We are currently supporting many elderly siblings in one way or another as we are both the youngest of large families. It will be in-sustainable eventually .

I pride myself on not asking my children to give up their lives for me, but realistically I would like to live closer to our DD .

I would like to look at retirement villages eventually. I know this might reduce future inheritance but TBH our children had a great education and are better off than us already.

Gundy Thu 16-Nov-23 16:05:13

Bijou - You ARE independent. You’re a carer, a doer, a good example of how to fulfill and maximize your life in widowhood.

You appear to be financially set whereas I am not in that bracket. I try not to think about money too much as I know $£$£ does not bring happiness, although it gives a comfort zone.

I’m living where I can afford it and will stay here as long as possible. Still drive and get out with friends. This is my happiness.

I had a job in a trauma hospital and know all too well - we are here today, gone tomorrow. Plan all you want for the future - but life turns on a dime - then you have to replan a whole new life all over again.

I’m sorry your cancer has returned. It’s a bitch, isn’t it? I’m seven yrs free but at my senior age, you just never know. It might not be cancer that does us in.

Losing friends is very hard. Please stay on GN as long as you can. You have friends here. I’m wishing you a good day. Rest well and keep in touch here. We look forward to your posts. 💐🌞
USA Gundy

Witzend Thu 16-Nov-23 16:06:25


You sound inspirational Bijou.


I’ll second that! 👏

Caleo Thu 16-Nov-23 16:07:21

When a person of any age can no longer cook, drive, go outdoors, wallow in a hot bath, cook, eat a wide variety of foods, or use a computer, read as much as before, etc etc, most possessions can be disposed of and one's life takes up very little space. This makes it easier to live in a small space. However there will be your own priorities. You will almost certainly need a wetroom or as similar as you can afford: cost about £7-10 ,000. And a bidet at a suitable height off the floor!

I find my large garden no trouble as I dislike neat gardens.