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Possessions Weigh on the Elderly Options
Posted: Thursday, March 20, 2014 12:00:00 AM
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Possessions Weigh on the Elderly

As we age, we tend to accumulate more and more material possessions, and it becomes harder and harder to let them go. Though the majority of people in their 70s believe they have too many material things, they are reluctant to sell or give away any of their belongings. While this may seem like a minor issue, having too much stuff can deter older adults from moving to a smaller, more manageable home or one better suited to their needs. More...
Posted: Thursday, March 20, 2014 6:23:19 AM
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How true. I should really take a good look at the basement.
Posted: Thursday, March 20, 2014 8:19:10 AM

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It's very true. I started to eliminate things from my life when I sold my home of 15 years, then again when I went through what was still in storage, then again when I moved locations, all within a year and a half. It was quite liberating.
Posted: Thursday, March 20, 2014 9:35:31 AM
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It's not as bad as hoarding.
2015Febechukwu E105
Posted: Thursday, March 20, 2014 10:02:13 AM

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You enter the world with nothing, you gotta leave with nothing.
Posted: Thursday, March 20, 2014 11:52:51 AM
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The wife and I have had several discussions about this as we entered our 50's and realized that we needed to downsize.

The issue as I see it is that with aging comes a reduction in ability, agility, speed, etc. We spend all of our lives "gathering" what we need, what we *think* we need and of course what we want. But each and every item we gather requires some sort of maintenance or upkeep, even if just to dust occasionally.

What we do now before buying anything is a thought-provoking exercise where we ask ourselves these questions:

1. Do we have the space for it? (NOT) stacked on top of something else we own, a space of its own)
2. Do we have time in our schedule to maintain it? (Clean, lube, dust, USE, etc.)
3. Would we be better off borrowing or renting this instead of owning it? (Large or expensive items)

My family, since we live fairly close to one another, typically loans large, expensive items to one another in a communal fashion. DVDs, for instance. We post a list of what we have and anyone can check them out.

But please, do not get me started on my wife and her clothes / shoes.... Whistle
Posted: Thursday, March 20, 2014 12:40:48 PM

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The burial gown has no pockets.
Posted: Thursday, March 20, 2014 4:07:34 PM

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My Dad was a packrat mostly because he grew up in during The Great Depression and also because he said he was given nothing, worked for everything and was proud of what he had earned. Maybe as we get old we tend to better evaluate the value instead of the price of things.
Posted: Thursday, March 20, 2014 4:37:55 PM

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I am confused about why we hold on to so much? I can't possibly read all the books I have accumulated; I can't wear all the clothes I have; I still have VHS tapes. Time to have a tag sale.
Posted: Thursday, March 20, 2014 4:40:32 PM
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Location: Roquefort, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, France
Since I retired, I have downsized to a 43 sq meter flat where I have absolutely everything I need and every convenience. I have kept a small collection of 'global' treasures that have value to me, myself. It's very liberating!!
Posted: Thursday, March 20, 2014 5:58:02 PM

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Location: San Salvador, San Salvador, El Salvador
1-A Economy

"Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind. With respect to luxuries and comforts, the wisest have ever lived a more simple and meagre life than the poor. The ancient philosophers, Chinese, Hindoo, Persian, and Greek, were a class than which none has been poorer in outward riches, none so rich in inward. We know not much about them. It is remarkable that we know so much of them as we do. The same is true of the more modern reformers and benefactors of their race. None can be an impartial or wise observer of human life but from the vantage ground of what we should call voluntary poverty. Of a life of luxury the fruit is luxury, whether in agriculture, or commerce, or literature, or art. There are nowadays professors of philosophy, but not philosophers. Yet it is admirable to profess because it was once admirable to live. To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust. It is to solve some of the problems of life, not only theoretically, but practically. The success of great scholars and thinkers is commonly a courtier-like success, not kingly, not manly. They make shift to live merely by conformity, practically as their fathers did, and are in no sense the progenitors of a noble race of men. But why do men degenerate ever? What makes families run out? What is the nature of the luxury which enervates and destroys nations? Are we sure that there is none of it in our own lives? The philosopher is in advance of his age even in the outward form of his life. He is not fed, sheltered, clothed, warmed, like his contemporaries. How can a man be a philosopher and not maintain his vital heat by better methods than other men?" Henry David Thoureau
Dan McCarthy
Posted: Thursday, March 20, 2014 6:02:15 PM
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This is a subject that I've given a lot of thought to. I became especially interested in it after seeing the show Clean Sweep with Peter Walsh and reading his book "Its All Too Much". I realized the myriad of possessions both large and small that I've accumulated over time were taking over not only my house but my life. I've made halting strides towards implementing his excellent advice since then, but still have a ways to go. As noted in the article it's hard to let go of stuff even though it might be better for our life situations.

The importance of reining in possessions really struck home when I had to help move my uncle out of his three bedroom two story condo into a single room + bath efficiency where his only real possessions were a TV, clothes and personal effects. A couple of weekends spent emptying the basement and closets had made a dent in the condo clutter but there was still a whole house full of goods to be disposed of which took his kids a solid week. As nice as so many of his things were, there wasn't much of a market beyond the charity shops. From there he moved to full nursing care where his meager possessions were downsized further. It struck me then how hard we work and how much treasure we spend to accumulate possessions that can so easily become burdens later in life. The old warning against allowing your possessions to own you is very apropos for this article.

I do think technology helps in managing much modern clutter by allowing photos, music, books and such to be archived digitally, and streaming services help avoid accumulating DVD's as well. I also think the younger generations may less inclined to accumulate as well, at least items that can be saved digitally.
Maryam Dad
Posted: Thursday, March 20, 2014 6:18:36 PM

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2015Febechukwu E105 wrote:
You enter the world with nothing, you gotta leave with nothing.

Posted: Friday, March 21, 2014 12:08:19 AM
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Location: Laguna Niguel, California, United States
I'm 65 and sometimes I don't think it would be so bad if a fire came along and burned everything I have--computer files, writings, photos--everything!!. It would be like a rebirth, starting out with a clean, empty slate again. There are so many things that I would never purchase or accumulate again. I'd keep it very simple next time. But to get to that point by my own will, now that I have all of this stuff (and a lot of it quite expensive), it's hard to let it go.
Alice M Toaster
Posted: Friday, March 21, 2014 9:52:14 AM

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I've lost all of my possessions four times in my life. The first time was shocking, but I got over it, and when I moved into a new place with nothing but some cushions on the floor for a bed & some clothing, I felt like it was a brand new beginning.

The next few times that it happened, I welcomed that feeling of a clean sweep. At this point in my life, I'm so very glad that I do not possess everything I've ever owned. I'd need a humungous house with lots of rooms. And it's easy for me to go through stuff every few months and give away what I'm no longer using.

My mother is now in a nursing home, and some years before this happened, I managed to convince her to get rid of all the stuff that she no longer used or really needed. This turned out to be an excellent move on my part, as I now live in her small place.

I see my older half-brother and his wife (children of the Great Depression) tenaciously holding onto everything, even if it's ruined or broken (case in point: they recently got a new living room couch, and the previous one is in another room along with the couch before that one). I didn't exactly grow up in an affluent environment myself, so I looked forward to a time when I'd be able to go out and buy whatever I wanted, but the meager upbringing never really made me want to keep everything I'd ever owned.

I often wonder if there was a certain mindset that went along with being born in the 1930s that makes people in that age group have such a need to clutch their possessions around them. My brother is affluent and has been most of his life, yet there's all this old, broken stuff around. Neither of them are as physically capable as they used to be, yet when I offer to help unload some of this stuff, I get a firm "NO," and that's the end of the subject.
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