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Old 12-08-11, 12:40 PM   #1
yrrej
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Is it time to hang it up?

Hi,

Here is the story...

I am 73 years old and my wife is afflicted with dementia and several
other infirmities and is no longer able to care for herself in any way.

I have a great helper that comes in for 32 hours a week to give
me a break *and* help care for my wife.

My problem with respect to bicycling is that if I have some kind
of accident and break *something* ( collarbone, hip, etc) then I
will not be able to care for her. i.e. get her out of bed, dressed, take
her to the bathroom ( and cleanups ),etc...

This would mean that I would likely have to place her in a nursing home and
I do not think this would be good for her in any way.

Has anyone here had to deal with this sort of problem or have a friend
in a similar situation?

Thanks

Jerry

PS: I am putting the bike on a trainer today...Daughter number 1 insists that
I continue exercising.
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Old 12-08-11, 12:56 PM   #2
Pete In Az
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I agree with daughter number one.

Do get outside though, even if it's just for a walk or puttering around.
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Old 12-08-11, 12:58 PM   #3
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I'm with daughter # 1. Your health is extremely important to your wife. I know too well as my dad speeded his death by not caring for himself properly as my mom slipped further into Alzheimers. He ignored a problem and hid it from all of us (he did a pretty good job of hiding how bad mom had gotten as well). By ignoring it, he ended up in the hospital and never came out.

My wife is currently primary caregiver for her mom (dimentia) and I make sure she gets releived often to take care of herself and that includes exercise.

You need exercise for your physical and mental well being. You will be a much better caregiver if you remember to care for yourself as well.
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Old 12-08-11, 01:01 PM   #4
jim hughes
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If you're in reasonably good shape, doing short rides and not cycling downtown or in traffic, your chance of getting seriously hurt is really very low. I'd say the benefits to your mental and physical well-being outweigh this small risk. We're more likely to get hurt falling on a sidewalk in winter, or driving on a highway.
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Old 12-08-11, 01:03 PM   #5
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Keep exercising. The trainer is a good idea, but as others have suggested, do some outside walks.
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Old 12-08-11, 01:29 PM   #6
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Keep riding, but lower your exposure. Stick to MUP's and avoid vehicular traffic.
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Old 12-08-11, 01:33 PM   #7
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Yes some of us know where you are coming from. Still if you plan on staying around to care for your spouse exercise at our age is even more important. Injury can come at anytime and any place. If you are concerned about falling look into a recumbent trike but don't give up your time to get away and just be you or you won't last. Cycling is more that physical health it adds to mental health as well.
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Old 12-08-11, 01:41 PM   #8
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If riding your bike helps you maintain your mental and emotional health, don’t give it up, but like others have said, lower your exposure. You could just as easily trip and fall in your house and break something.
And, best wishes your way. My Dad has Alzheimer’s and it’s no picnic.
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Old 12-08-11, 01:43 PM   #9
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Ride anywhere. Consider a Trike with a highly visible orange flag.

I'm a sole bread-winner who works with his hands. If I get injured, no income.

So I ride carefully.
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Old 12-08-11, 01:55 PM   #10
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I'm going to join the "Ride the trainer" group. It may not feel 100% like riding outdoors, but the important thing is that you are riding and keeping yourself healthy and that is good for the both of you.
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Old 12-08-11, 02:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim hughes View Post
If you're in reasonably good shape, doing short rides and not cycling downtown or in traffic, your chance of getting seriously hurt is really very low. I'd say the benefits to your mental and physical well-being outweigh this small risk. We're more likely to get hurt falling on a sidewalk in winter, or driving on a highway.
I am pretty essential to my family in a variety of ways.

I have rather carefully assessed the dangers of various types and places of riding, and have purposefully lowered my risk to as low as I can get it.

One of my risks is lack of exercise, another is losing my mental health. I balance these against the low-level risks associated with the types of bicyling I do and keep on riding - but just as safely as possible.

One can have an accident anywhere. The more in shape one is the better to survive an injury or other problem. So, keep in shape, keep your mental health good, keep bicycling, even if short rides.
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Old 12-08-11, 02:21 PM   #12
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A friend of mine was in a very similar situation when he was 84. After someone else in our bicycle club had an accident on one of our rides he decided that he didn't want to accept the risk and quit riding.

But he joined a local hiking group instead. His wife has since passed away and he's still hiking regularly at 91.
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Old 12-08-11, 02:31 PM   #13
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I read The Art of Cycling to help me avoid injury: http://www.google.com/products/catal...d=0CF0Q8wIwAA#

Robert explains the risks and how to lower the odds of having a fall or other issues. Cycling can be very safe.
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Old 12-08-11, 02:38 PM   #14
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I'm almost 3 decades younger, but my late return to cycling has yielded expected improvements in physical conditioning, as well as, tremendous unanticipated mental benefits. I'm sure your situation is taking a tremendous mental toll.

Think of regular exercise not as time off, but as a time to recharge, and be more effective in your role. As such, elimination shouldn't even be a consideration. However, if can understand perhaps limiting cycling to more protected areas. And, should the need arise, you could always go to tadpole configuration trike. I've seen many a younger character flying along is these beasts, although they sit rather low, and as such, I wouldn't ride one on a major route.
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Old 12-08-11, 03:49 PM   #15
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Your worry about leaving your wife without a caregiver is admirable but you can't avoid all risk. If something has changed to make biking more risky (e.g. balance problems) make changes, like a trike. Otherwise, it sounds like biking could be what saves you in this period of stress. Just take sensible precautions. Remember, you are more likely to have an accident driving to the grocery store or tripping on the front steps.
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Old 12-08-11, 05:27 PM   #16
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If it worries you, make arrangements for a backup in case you are laid up. You could be injured by all sorts of things besides cycling. Or you could get sick. Chances are your daughter or other children could step in and help for a while.

It's important for you to do something for yourself, and to keep your self in shape.
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Old 12-08-11, 06:08 PM   #17
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You need to keep riding. If danger is your consideration, then stick to the paths and mups. Look into some of the nice trikes that they have these days so that you can stay sporty. You need the exercise and you need the time outdoors.
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Old 12-08-11, 06:49 PM   #18
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Everyone is different. I would go nuts if I had to ride on a trainer. We live in the Arizona desert so I can ride year-round. I am very careful but you can trip over a rug in the hall way too. Its a hard choice and I wish you luck in it. For me, it would be outside ride time until I can't do it anymore.
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Old 12-08-11, 07:18 PM   #19
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Exactly what DnvrFox said above.

When my wife's father was in a similar situation, both his daughters were plain in expressing their hope and opinion that he continue his own life to the full extent possible.
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Old 12-08-11, 07:37 PM   #20
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What would happen if you got in a car accident? Fell down the stairs? Got hit by a car in the supermarket parking lot? and on and on. The only way you lose is if you change your lifestyle unnecessarily.
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Old 12-08-11, 07:45 PM   #21
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At some point, both you and your wife will benefit if she can be cared for in a Memory Care assisted living community.
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Old 12-08-11, 07:45 PM   #22
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Whatever you decide to do, yrrej, it will be the right thing.

Next time I hear some fool trying to sound macho while blabbering about sports, or politics, or the warfare he only watches on TV, I'll just quietly think to myself - I've seen "tough", buddy, and it ain't you. "Tough" means just trying to do what needs to be done when the time comes, as best you can.

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Old 12-08-11, 08:07 PM   #23
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I am a firm believer that exercise can reduce the effect of an accident (which you could have doing anything). Sedentary folks lose both muscle (affecting their stability and resilience) and bone, so even minor events can have life-changing effects. I enjoy cycling, but I do see that some of the risks I choose (like being speedy downhill) could catch up to me. I have started to enjoy rowing a lot, but don't get on the water often. Even so, I spend some time on my Waterrower almost every day.

Good luck

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Old 12-08-11, 11:16 PM   #24
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For your own health, both physical and mental, continue riding like you always have.
Someone is already helping 32 hours a week; great.
You can get hurt/incpacitated in hundreds of ways; so will you just curl up on the couch?
We are in our late 70s and continue riding . . . it is a great stress reliever!
Good luck.
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Old 12-09-11, 08:47 AM   #25
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Ride the trainer for exercise, go ride a bike path for a time-out. ps, You are a saint!
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