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  1. #1
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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.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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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.
    "Why is it that one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a barbecue?" Anonymous

  3. #3
    Senior Member CACycling's Avatar
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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.

  4. #4
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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.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Bikey Mikey's Avatar
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    Keep exercising. The trainer is a good idea, but as others have suggested, do some outside walks.

  6. #6
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Keep riding, but lower your exposure. Stick to MUP's and avoid vehicular traffic.
    Last edited by Barrettscv; 12-08-11 at 12:47 PM.
    2014 Trek DS.1: "Viaggiatore" A do-it-all bike that is waiting in Italy
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Mobile 155's Avatar
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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.
    Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein.

  8. #8
    Senior Member missjean's Avatar
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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.
    "I bet German has a word for it. German has a word for everything."

  9. #9
    Free Velo Vol! Dudelsack's Avatar
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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.

  10. #10
    Senior Member John_V's Avatar
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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.
    HCFR Cycling Team
    Ride Safe ... Ride Hard ... Ride Daily

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  11. #11
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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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.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  12. #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.

  13. #13
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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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.
    2014 Trek DS.1: "Viaggiatore" A do-it-all bike that is waiting in Italy
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  14. #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.

  15. #15
    Senior Member donheff's Avatar
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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.
    Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson

  16. #16
    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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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.

  17. #17
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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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.
    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.

  18. #18
    Century bound Phil85207's Avatar
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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.
    Chief Executive In Charge Of Diddly Squat.

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    In God we trust

  19. #19
    Senior Member gcottay's Avatar
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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.
    George
    Laissez les bon temps rouler

  20. #20
    Senior Member capejohn's Avatar
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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.
    Bike riding New England gentleman.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Wildwood's Avatar
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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.

  22. #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.
    Last edited by jim hughes; 12-08-11 at 06:51 PM.

  23. #23
    Half way there gmt13's Avatar
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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

    -G

  24. #24
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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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.

  25. #25
    Senior Member jdon's Avatar
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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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