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Old 11-16-2018, 01:08 PM   #1
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Age, Health and Liveaboards?

Interested in the ages of liveaboards. I am 64 and my wife is 54. We love boats and have kept a boat in Key Largo for 18 years spending 2-3 weeks aboard at a time. Now full on retirement is nearing and would love to leave dirt. Only concern is age and health. We are both pretty healthy at this time but little things pop up from time to time. How does age and health affect the normal retired liveaboard? I know this is not worded very well but hopefully you will get the jest of my concern. Thanks in advance for your thoughts. GOD bless, JC
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Old 11-16-2018, 01:34 PM   #2
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I'm 70 and lived aboard most of my life in ships and boats. The big issue is probably mobility and arthritis. Life is harder than house living. As you know everything you use on a boat has to be hauled across a dock. Most people get a dock cart and things like laundry aboard make hauling less of a chore.
For me the issues of living aboard and cruising makes all the extra effort worth it and I don't have to mow the lawn. I'm a vet with some disabilities, but get around them by taking care in moving around and hiring young gorillas to move heavy stuff. I mostly solo and don't worry about what if. You're in the Caribbean and from Captain Ron I know there are plenty of gorillas there.
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Old 11-24-2018, 10:10 PM   #3
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I'm 37 and having been living aboard full time for 2 months. Sorry, I can't help you that much!

Lepke: Any pics of your boat?
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Old 11-24-2018, 10:26 PM   #4
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I’m 76 and wife is 67. Been living aboard for 8 years. Have other live aboard friends our age and older. One us 95. We think living aboard keeps you active and healthy.
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Old 11-24-2018, 10:39 PM   #5
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We are full time cruisers at 60 and 69 for the past 5 years. Love it.
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Old 11-24-2018, 11:14 PM   #6
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We are full time cruisers at 60 and 69 for the past 5 years. Love it.
Jeez Tom, I always thought you were 40 (?)
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Old 11-24-2018, 11:14 PM   #7
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At just 67 it seems I'm a spring chicken here, and not liveaboard fulltime either. But I did just complete a 5 month cruise.

I think one of the keys to enjoying a relaxed and extended time aboard is having a car, or access to one when required, in places that you spend chunks of time. And walking docks, up and down stairs etc is certainly beneficial health-wise.
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Old 11-24-2018, 11:39 PM   #8
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Jeez Tom, I always thought you were 40 (?)
Well I am, just thought I would increase my age as this looked as an old geezer thread!!!
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Old 11-25-2018, 02:52 AM   #9
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Welcome aboard. I would not let age stop me from living aboard if that was the only factor. My mom lives with us so we have to stay in our house. If you go for it, make sure the boat will work as you get older. Maybe no vertical ladders and such so you can get around on the boat easily. We like recliners for our backs rather than built in uncomfortable furniture. Good luck.
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Old 11-25-2018, 05:39 AM   #10
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Age isn't the issue it's health.

Just remembered, if something serious comes along while cruising the boat, you may not make it through it.

It's like being in the wilderness even in populated parts of the ICW if your partner can't get you to shore in minutes.

At a marina near populated areas...not much different than a waterfront condo.
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Old 11-25-2018, 06:28 AM   #11
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The easiest boats to occupy in old age have little vertical travel required.

A wide stair case , instead of a ladder and perhaps a simple system to climb aboard if the boat has high free board.
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Old 11-25-2018, 10:51 AM   #12
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Liveaboards move off the boat for all kinds of reasons. Forced off the boat comes down to just two issues. Money or Mobility. Money is rarely the reason but I have seen it.

Mobility is what has forced most my neighbors off their boat. Itís not the vertical or the getting on and off the boat. Itís the long walk to and from the boat. Mobility is not just an age thing. Diabetes is taking out one of my neighbors. His feet hurt all the time. He rides a bike up and down the dock but he tells me when the wheel chair arrives he is leaving the boat for good. Another neighbor suffers Parkinsonís. Eventually balance issues became to much for being on the dock. The boat was fine, he always had something to hold on to.

Knees and hips used to be an issue but much less the cause with modern medicine.

The progression of mobility issues. Boat moves to the slip next to the ramp. Later a chair shows up at the gate. Not much later boat goes up for sale.
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Old 11-25-2018, 11:24 AM   #13
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In the last three years Iíve had a knee and a hip replaced. When I did the hip, I went from the hospital back to Hobo with the surgeons blessing. For the knee, I was back 3 days after leaving the hospital. With the handholds, few stairs and narrow doors/passages I think thereís less of a chance of falling than in a house. Plus all the boat yoga is good physical therapy.
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Old 11-25-2018, 12:09 PM   #14
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I think it is as much mental as it is physical when one decides to stop living aboard.

I am 72 yo and can still do the work of maintaining the boat myself and living aboard. But a few years ago I decided I didn't want to maintain the boat myself and if I couldn't do it myself I didn't want the boat. This decision was more a mental one than physical.

I now have an outboard powered trailerable cruiser and so far my mind is ok with that.

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Old 11-25-2018, 12:42 PM   #15
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I had foot surgery last June. I needed to be mostly off my feet for the better part of a week, though I could walk short distances with the surgical boot. Best place to spend a week is the boat. So a couple hours after getting out of surgery, I boarded a seaplane and flew to the boat. I had some significant anxiety on the ability to climb the three rungs up the side of the plane, and that last hop off the float to the dock. Only pain meds I took all week was just before leaving, just in case, but only one as I did not want to risk getting sick on the plane. The fear related planning was good for getting prepared. Reality was that the climb was easy, the flight scenic, and the few hundred yard shuffle from the floatplane down the breakwater to the boat was anguishing slow, but workable.

For the rest of the week, the view was truly therapeutic and uplifting. The head, galley, salon and berth were all close by. Unlike the house, the boat comes equipped with lots of handholds, even overhead, making getting around easy.

Would I do it again? Probably. For a week of recuperation, it was ideal. It was tempting to be overactive, I found myself climbing up to the fly bridge on day two, getting after a challenging mast wiring drilling issue and overdoing it a bit. If I was at home, I would have simply found myself in the shop, so overall a wash.

Had anything gone wrong, While there was a local hospital clinic and ferry service, I have to say the risk was greater than being at home.

Overall Iíd do it again, and as I look to the future, it helps to calibrate what is possible and what is preferred. Having options is a good thing.
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Old 11-25-2018, 12:55 PM   #16
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Wifey B: While age may bring higher probability of physical issues, I'd like to spin a little different thought. Regardless of age, you're subject to a severe debilitating injury or illness. You can't know when or where. So, for me, it's about having a Plan B. What can or will you do when you can't any longer? At one time I went through life without any Plan B's, although doubt my hubby ever did. Young and foolish, brave and stupid. I thought Plan B was stupid and negative and why worry. I learned. I remember vividly hubby and I sitting down budgeting (oh at 22 years old what a new experience doing it formally like he did), and then he wanted to do a "what if", for instance what if he lost his job. Then I found out that Plan B was his mechanism of not worrying. He was assuring himself that we'd be fine, that my education I was starting wouldn't be interrupted, that we wouldn't have to move or sell our cars. I was young and never thought of him losing his job as a possibility. I came to appreciate having a Plan B at all times.

Many will go through their entire boating life able to remain live aboards. Yet, it only takes one injury or illness to change life forever. Without a Plan B, it could destroy a couple. With Plan B, you simply move on to the next phase.
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Old 11-25-2018, 02:04 PM   #17
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Even plan Bs vary greatly with people's attitudes and determination.

As long as money and cruising wishes don't interfere.... But living aboard and cruising can be 2 separate lifestyles.
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Old 11-25-2018, 03:01 PM   #18
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Our slip neighbors had hubby suffer a devastating brain cancer. The boat life was mostly his dream. Now, the situation looks bleak.
At 64 yo for both of us, we are making a plan for land-based house to be wheelchair friendly and no stair use. I relish the friends I have up and down the dock. We look out for each other and help the other guy. I need that community. I do suffer balance issues and medical guy is baffled that it does not affect me on Our Happy Place. My teaching schedule allows plenty of time aboard, and I can grade or read papers in peace. The Admiral spends less time at this point, but our blood pressure drops about 20 points.
I did have a fall aboard alone, but aside from hurting for weeks, it was not serious. I do have to haul laundry down the dock to house or marina laundry. Grocery shopping is the pain be it on land or sea. TV is limited to broadcast channels, unlike satellite at home with DVR. I have a hot spot for internet, which I have to have for teaching. Cell phones make land lines silly in either place.
In short, we will probably never be full time live aboard, so I guess we have a water front condo. I love doing the small things to maintain the boat, but them young gorillas have their uses. I just have come to realize what I can do and what to defer to paying for. Irks me to pay for what I could have done 20 years ago, but get realistic Captain!
I am having withdrawal having spent Thanksgiving on land frying turkeys and suffering Christmas movies. Flounder run has been a bust, but the speckled trout and redfish are biting. The next cold front should get the flatties moving late this next week.
Sail on!
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Old 11-25-2018, 05:30 PM   #19
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Not counting sudden onset illnesses or injuries, sometimes the argument can be made for keeping things like ladders and multi-level layouts. Having to use them on a regular basis helps maintain strength and coordination to use them. The axiom "use it or lose it" applies here, IMO.
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Old 11-30-2018, 01:06 PM   #20
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I'm 60, my wife 46. We're up and down stairs all the time on our boat, and so far, that's fine. In fact, it's probably the best exercise we get most days. One of these days, I suspect it may become an issue, but if it does, it probably means I'm no longer seaworthy, and should start looking for a dirt home.
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