Future Living Arrangements

Hi. Being alone here day after day and night after night gives me too much time to think. When I think about the future it scares me so much; the prospect of just existing here by myself, especially as I get older. I worry about the finances and the maintenance and upkeep of our flat and having to handle it all by myself. Already I’ve had to deal with major issues with the boiler and it cost a king’s ransom to fix. I’m thinking do I really want to live with this constant anxiety, worrying when the next thing will go wrong? I love our cosy flat and still do. We downsized some years ago when his health was not so good and got a ground floor flat which we did up really nicely and we were really happy here.

Unfortunately however, although the location is beautiful, surrounded by trees etc, it’s not practical without a car. There are no shops etc within walking distance. He was the main driver and although in the latter months I did drive, he was always with me. I am nervous and don’t feel confident about driving alone. I worry about breaking down, who would I call etc? I also worry about the expense and maintenance of having a car.

When I think about all these things it completely overwhelms me. I’ve thought I might be better to go into one of these retirement villages, or some type of assisted/sheltered accommodation where you live with people who are a similar age and there are facilities provided and some kind of social life Having said all that, I’ve heard that you can be ripped off big time in these retirement villages, which is just cruel. I understand that there are quite a few countries who really cater well to their elderly but from the feedback I’ve had, UK is not one of them.

I never want to burden my kids. I’ve always said this. Even when my beloved husband was with me we used to say that we would never live with them. It’s unfair on them. They’re young and have young kids themselves and they need their space and to live their lives. If my health were to deteriorate I would hate for them to have to look after me. They have busy enough lives and stress as it is.

I love our flat but all I’m doing now is living with the memories of when he was here with me. The thought of moving does upset me but so does the thought of remaining here so lonely year in, year out. I’m so confused and all these thoughts keep running around in my head, but I just don’t know where to begin. I thought I’d put this out there and see if others have similar thoughts or suggestions. Thank you if you took the time to read this.

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Dear Sakinah

I read your post and saw similarities with myself. When my husband died in September we were coming to the end of a refurbishment of our little bungalow. We down-sized four years earlier and started to remodel the property to ‘future-proof’ it for us in old-age. We told the kids that this would also ensure that we would never have to go into a home. Then my husband died in a motorbike crash and my world fell apart. We both had set responsibilities - his was all things connected to the home repairs and car. In one moment of sanity - very few since he died I have to say - I took out a British Gas Homecare plan which covers the boiler repairs. Fortunate because our boiler decided to give up on Christmas morning and sent me into a complete meltdown but a neighbour did a temporary fix until British Gas came out three days later. Since that time the boiler has gone off three times but the meltdowns have lessened because I have the contract. Can I suggest you go on-line and take a look - the monthly payments are not too much for peace of mind.

In terms of the car and driving perhaps there is a family/friend who would go out in the car with you whilst you built up confidence driving. I have a Lloyd’s bank account and this includes AA cover. But the car did get a flat tyre and I have no clue so that was another meltdown moment until someone where we live came and helped out.

I know nothing about retirement villages so sorry for cutting in on your post. But just wanted you to know that in addition to loosing our husbands/wives/partners these things come along to just give us another kicking and to doubt ourselves. People say not to make decisions until after the first year and perhaps they are right. I know, like you, I do not want to burden our kids. If being honest this causes some anger because I believe that me and husband were responsible for each other and he has left me to now fend for myself.

Take care. Hope I was of some help.