The only solution to old age problems is dying young. There are many myths regarding old age:

1. As your age increases your needs go down: Many old people (age exceeding 80 is old, I presume?) continue to do things the way they were doing 10-13 years back. None of their needs have gone down – if they were eating a lot, they continue to do the same. If they liked travelling, they are travelling – needing help but travelling, if they liked gold, the continue to wear jewellery…

2. Habits change as age increases: Unless the body says it is not possible to do, people do things the way they were doing

3. My father died at 70, I will die at 75? Completely wrong. If your father died at 70, you can die at 99. There is no co-relation except in our minds. If you still want to work on an average take the average of all the seniors in your house – your grandparents, their brothers, sisters, all other elder to you who have died of natural causes, then add 10 years to it. That is a better bet.

4. Old age homes are for poor people: Old age homes (well run ones like Athashree in Pune built by Paranjape builders) are a place where similar thinking people can live together. My parents LIVE THERE BY CHOICE – and enjoy it. Will hasten to add they also have a Mumbai house, but they are in a minority. For most others it is THE PRIMARY residence.

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  1. Hello Subra,

    I am a long time reader of (and recipient of good advice from) your blog. I, however, would disagree to a certain extent to the points in this post.

    1. It should actually be phrased, “as one grows older, ones *wants* (desires, demands) recede”. But you are correct in saying that needs (necessities, as opposed to luxuries) will pretty much stay the same. This decrease in the desire for luxuries is something I have experienced myself. For example, I no longer want a flashy car (opportunity cost for purchase of other goods is too high) or even clothes – I have cut down from about 50 shirts + 40 trousers + 80 t-shirts to 7 + 7 + 7. Anytime I buy a new article of clothing, I would donate one of my existing sets to charity – thereby maintaining the number. Yes, I grant that, at the age of 28, I may not be the foremost expert on this point.

    2. Again, personally, for me – habits have changed as I have aged. Or to use the correct term, matured. For example, I now value an early morning head-start at work (to finish 60-70% of my day’s work before the office fills up with noisy folks). Or that I just quit smoking all of a sudden about 3 months ago. You are correct that age is not a cause for change of habits but maturity is; and – as maturity goes hand-in-hand with experience, and therefore age – there would be a strong positive correlation between age and change of habits.

    3. There is actually a strong correlation in cases of hereditary diseases: particularly heart ailments and diabetes. Of course, nobody can pinpoint the death age with accuracy, but if we were to sift through various sets of father-son death-ages data, I wager we would find that in cases where the age is pretty much around the same, the cause of death would be disease.

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