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post #31 of 58 Old 04-02-2019
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Re: End of Life Plan

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Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
Do we have no other choice?
"To be, or not to be, that is the question." And has been since long before Shakespeare had Hamlet pondering the question.

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Originally Posted by MarkofSeaLife View Post
I don't want to die "doing what I love". Drowning doesn't sound like fun.
Boy! I agree with this 100%! Especially because I'm a pretty good swimmer, I know would not go down quietly.

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Nicely drugged out in a nursing home sounds fine to me...
Me too. Or perhaps the way my grandfather went. He was completely lucid, if somewhat limited in mobility, up until the end. About three months after celebrating his 100th birthday he suffered a stroke in his sleep. Did he wake up at the last moment gasping in pain? I don't know. No one can ever know. But it ended quickly and that's about all one can ask for -- that it not drag out too long.

I do agree that someone who is near death, and who doesn't wish to fight it any longer, should be given the option to end it -- including having someone help them, if they cannot do it themselves.
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post #32 of 58 Old 04-02-2019
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Re: End of Life Plan

So it looks like staying out of the USA does quite a bit for your life expectancy. I also try to stay out of hospitals.

Sailing drowns depression and drugs are not readily available.

Quote:
On average, life expectancy across the globe is steadily ticking upward—but the same can’t be said for the United States. Three reports newly published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlight a worrying downward trend in Americans’ average life expectancy, with the country’s ongoing drug crisis and climbing suicide rates contributing to a third straight year of decline.

As Lenny Bernstein notes for The Washington Post, the three-year drop represents the longest sustained decline in expected lifespan since the tumultuous period of 1915 to 1918. Then, the decrease could be at least partially attributed to World War I and the devastating 1918 influenza pandemic. Now, the drivers are drug overdoses, which claimed 70,237 lives in 2017, and suicides, which numbered more than 47,000 over the same period. Both of these figures rose between 2016 and 2017.


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post #33 of 58 Old 04-02-2019
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Re: End of Life Plan

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So it looks like staying out of the USA does quite a bit for your life expectancy. I also try to stay out of hospitals.

Sailing drowns depression and drugs are not readily available.
Yup deaths of despair. Drug/alcohol use, suicide, economics, all seem to be converging in the USA.

Deaths of despair: The opioid epidemic is just part of the problem
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post #34 of 58 Old 04-02-2019
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Re: End of Life Plan

Rather than dwelling on the end of life, we should think more about how to get the most out of our "productive" years and, perhaps, what we can do to extend our productive years. I see so many cruising dreams dashed because the person (or usually the couple) has waited too long to get started. Cruising is an active lifestyle, whether you are aboard a trawler, an Amel Super Maramu with all electric winches, or a Dana 24. You can't expect to go from couch potato to cruiser when you're in your 60s or 70s. So get out there early, and be just as serious about your own physical fitness as you are about the fitness of your vessel.

Last edited by Damon Gannon; 04-02-2019 at 03:16 PM.
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post #35 of 58 Old 04-02-2019
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Re: End of Life Plan

The jogger in Colorado who strangled the mountain lion who attacked him was quoted "My only thought was, this would be a crappy way to die". Wish I had a dollar for every time I'd felt like that, there are no good ways, they are all crappy, just to different degrees. As a professional fireman it never really crossed my mind that I might live long enough to die of old age, go figure.
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post #36 of 58 Old 04-03-2019
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Re: End of Life Plan

The discussion of how one's sailing changes as you pass your vital mid life to a less vital period is a good one. Anyone who argues that you don't have to adapt or make accommodations for age is in denial.

For sure it's harder for many reasons to begin the sailing thing late in life. It seems that there are people who wait until they have money and time to consider taking up the sailing thing. And of course many conceptualize sailing as a retirement lifestyle with much appeal... as opposed to golf and TV. That is really a very different discussion from how people who have sailed and owned a boat for many years deal with sailing in the later stages of their life.

Of course death is the final act and most have no choice in how the curtain comes down. In fact our culture basically warehouses older people... because they are no longer productive and need to be cared for like helpless children by family and an "elder care" facility. As they sink lower into less consciousness and more pain they are medicated until their vitals go flat or some traumatic even like heart attack or stroke takes them. Assisted death is a rational approach to ending life but not well accepted and certainly not promoted (as it should be in my opinion)

If you are living aboard as a cruiser as your faculties leave you at some point you need to make a decision... leave and give, sell or abandon the boat and move to dirt and perhaps a hospice type facility. The move should come long before death is imminent. Of course people who have been lining and cruising in old age have likely closed down viable options to exit their life afloat. If they have adult children and relative it fall to those to help with the transition to blackout.

There are several courses to consider.
1. How to continue life afloat in your sunset years?
2. When and how to stop living aboard and sailing and how and what to move to?
3. Dealing with the end... DNR, and assisted suicide and even suicide

I think the first to are definitely important discussions. #1 involves in identifying how your capabilities change and how this impact owning a boat and sailing and what strategies are available to cope. As I explain to my sister who is in assisted living.... old age mean getting and gracefully receiving help and this is not unlike how a very young child lives - it relies on help and support on others until it is capable enough to do things by itself. Old age help is the reverse. As this applies to sailing it means you need crew perhaps to work your boat, and or you need things like motorized winches, roller furling and a windlass, a robust autopilot, all control lines led aft, safety gear, PFDs, harness and jacklines... perhaps a davit. I call these "sailing assistants" because there is the "old" way requiring in most cases more physical strength and stamina. You also will like sail in moderate conditions and avoid challenging ones. You might limit the length of your sails and limit them to daylight and good visibility. Discussion each of the assists and safety strategies in useful.

#2 is a more nuanced discussion. For sure getting on and off the boat will become very challenging and even getting up and down the companionway steps... if you have one. Bending and lifting and manual dexterity become more and more difficult. Older people are unsteady on their feet and need things like railings and walkers just to get about. People in this stage are not suited to living on a boat. But they will have to make the decision to leave their life afloat well before this. As well planning what to do with the boat and where to life needs to be planned in advance. You will likely have to stop sailing while you may be capable of getting on, off and around the boat.

#3 is not a boat related matter for almost everyone as they will have left the boat and be under care. However suicide is an ending life option at any stage in one's life. Some people want to go out on a high note. Some people cling to life well past their ability to understand anything and do anything on their own. This is not a boat related discussion.

pay attention... someone's life depends on it
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post #37 of 58 Old 04-03-2019
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Re: End of Life Plan

Ugh. Horrible thread. I had a supervisor 30 years ago now, and he literally sailed off into the sunset in Tampa. Told me that he and his wife would one day open a bottle of wine and shoot a hole in his sailboat. Its so unrealistic. Tha'ts fantasy.

I'm 53 and seemingly in okay shape. But seriously as it gets closer the whole death thing seems shocking awful and unpleasant. I watched my mom die of cancer and that was like a nightmare - jeez no way!! My old grandpa he was just fine, never a problem,good shape, smoked and everything and then one day at age 78 he just keeled over with a heart attack. By comparison that seems less terrible.

I put down my dear old dog Moose with morphine or whatever the vet gives him when he was too old and weak to walk. Had it done at home in his soft doggie bed. The whole family stood around. I gave him a cheeseburger first. Then the shot. I was holding his head. He went out like a light.

To put a nicer comment in here; if I could go down like old Moose snuggling in the covers eat a cheeseburger, and with sweet memories of sailing the carribean lighting up my brain.....maybe then a shot of morphine and I will just smile and go out like a light. That seems a lot nicer and more realistic than my old boss' romantic notion of shooting a hole in the boat.

My old high school friend just died last summer at age 51 and everyone said it was such a tragedy but I don't know. He had finally gone straight after years of booze and drugs, divorce and hookers. He had gont from being a promising electrical engineer and software designer to a junkie and was on parole so they drug tested him weekly. And so he got straight and worked his way up to a one room apartment over a tavern. Everyone said he was like his old self. The day he died he rode his motorcycle out to the airport and hung around with the pilots for an hour or so. Then he rode back to his apartment and practiced guitar. I don't know if he did any drugs but his parents found him a day or two later just sitting slumped over his computer. I don't know if he was lonely or sad, Bill was not prone to that - and just from what he was doing that day it sounds kind of hopeful, like a good day. Then, nothing. It was too young, but it must have been just like falling asleep.

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Last edited by Sal Paradise; 04-03-2019 at 08:34 AM.
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post #38 of 58 Old 04-03-2019
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Re: End of Life Plan

I will turn 73 next month. I have noticed that a number of members of my club sold their boat in their mid-70s. Sometimes it was health issues or when they felt they couldn't handle them safely alone or with their just their spouse. So far I have been lucky health wise and remain very active. I continue to ski 60-70 days a year in Vermont and Colorado and go sailing almost every day in the warm weather the wind and weather cooperate. I am sure skiing at a high level will be the first to go, but I really hope I can continue to sail for many more years. I firmly believe that staying as active as possible is key.
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post #39 of 58 Old 04-03-2019
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Re: End of Life Plan

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I will turn 73 next month. I have noticed that a number of members of my club sold their boat in their mid-70s. Sometimes it was health issues or when they felt they couldn't handle them safely alone or with their just their spouse. So far I have been lucky health wise and remain very active. I continue to ski 60-70 days a year in Vermont and Colorado and go sailing almost every day in the warm weather the wind and weather cooperate. I am sure skiing at a high level will be the first to go, but I really hope I can continue to sail for many more years. I firmly believe that staying as active as possible is key.
Good points there. Of course it's not chronological age that is the driver here... but the condition of you muscles and nervous system. Some people age well and do nothing. Others are active and keep their body and brain performing well into old age. No one could dispute that exercise and activity are good things.

I happen to think that caring for a boat and sailing is good for your body and mind. Sailing/boat owning is not skiing... but it's not as passive as TV or using a golf court and taking 90 swings of a club. I recommend boating as a therapuetic endeavor for especially older people. NO don't pay for work you can do yourself. I don't muscle my 94# OB from the car to the dink... I pay a strong kid who usually refuses the $10. But I do use a lifting crane to get it to and from the rail to the dink. I do use Millie to hoist my main or send someone aloft. I do use Max the windlass to do the anchoring work. And Alison the AP does almost all the helming. I can do lots of maintenance a operation alone. It's way easier with a hand. So I get a buddy to help me. They are delighted to do it.

Sailing continues to be a joy if not physically challenging it has evolved into a therapeutic activity! If you can't run... bike, sky or spin!... you can keep sailing!
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pay attention... someone's life depends on it
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post #40 of 58 Old 04-03-2019
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Re: End of Life Plan

I don't know Jim. Skiing at a high level.... one crash and you might find yourself instantly very old. Vertebrae disks are nothing to mess with

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