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‘Old age is no place for sissies’

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Sunday, December 23, 2012
Posted: 7 am ET

In retirement -- as in many other things in life -- you don't get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate. And sometimes, you end up getting what you demand.

A recent study that appeared in the Journal of Consumer Research pointed out the three most common strategies the elderly people use to get what they want and need from caregivers and service providers. The study, which was done to help caregivers, pointed out that in the U.S., elder care has grown into a $260 billion a year business. This number is expected to increase astronomically because the segment of the population age 85 and older is the fastest growing.

Here are the strategies the study identified. They suggest ideas that could work for many aspects of retirement planning.

  • Do it yourself. Keep doing whatever you can do as long as you can. Don't let someone else take over personal tasks that you can and should do for yourself.
  • Be proud of your skills and keep them sharp. Don't let a caregiver diminish your talents or take away the opportunity for you to continue to do what you do well.
  • What they don't know won't hurt them. You don't have to share everything. Sometimes keeping your mouth shut is the best strategy.

Whether you are caring for someone who is older than 85 or are nearing that stage of life yourself, the authors say that giving and demanding respect is a key to successful aging. "By treating older people as valued adults, (caregivers) can provide needed assistance while decreasing their chances of generating conflict by threatening the older consumer's identity," the authors conclude.

As actress Bette Davis is believed to have said once, "Old age is no place for sissies."

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