Retirement decisions after ruptured aneurysm

I am grateful for the nearly 20 years I have had following my ruptured aneurysm and that I have been able to work and raise the baby who was just 1 when it ruptured. As I am 63 and recently laid off and it doesn't look like I will be hired for another job, I have been looking into whether or not to claim Social Security early (before my maximum retirement age of 66), apply for Social Security disability, or live on my meager savings and husband's salary until age 66. Other than the aneurysm, on paper, I look headed for a longer retirement life. I don't smoke, I don't have diabetes or hypertension, I am not overweight and I'm female...despite my online name. (Of course, I'm not the same person psychologically or cognitively, but that's another story)

I have been looking for very long term survival information, just to make plans for retirement, since my doctors wouldn't give me any guess about my long term survival. There isn't much info out there, but I found a 2014 medical journal study that was food for thought. They followed people who had ruptured aneurysms from 1985 to 2010, so most had surgical clipping (like me). They looked at almost 2000 people and pooled everyone together, smokers and nonsmokers, those with and without hypertension or other chronic diseases, with and without a family history of blood vessel problems.

It starts out good. For those who survived three months, 93% survived 5 years and 85% survived 10 years. After 10 years, the gap in survival increases. 70% of ruptured aneurysm survivors lived 15 years and about 60% survived 20 years. Most died of diseases of blood vessels and heart (no surprise). The researchers didn't look at dementia (although I wish they had).

In some ways, the survival was better that I would have guessed, which probably would have been three to four times the risk of death than others after 20 years Remember that they included everyone, regardless of other risky behavior, other diseases, and smoking.

I guess the message that we have to live a heart-healthy lifestyle, more than other people, to be in the upper half of survivors at 20 years and beyond. Still don't know about Social Security since it's almost $300 less a month for the rest of my life if I take it now compared to taking it in 3 years. It's like gambling to make a decision and I'm not a gambler by nature. Your thoughts?

If you want to look at the original abstract it is this study:

February 2014. Journal of Neurology. Long-term outcome after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage—risks of vascular events, death from cancer and all-cause death. Author: D

Thank you for sharing...Good Luck on your retirement isn't easy after working so long...don't get to caught up in the death part of the one ever knows for sure when our time is up...~ wishing you better days ahead ~ Colleen

Interesting. However, research can be manipulated so not always clear what we should do- red wine is good for you one week and bad the next. I agree we have knowledge of our health and should take care to ensure a healthy lifestyle to ensure we have the longest life available to us. If the research banded everyone together I don't think it would be very helpful. We all know that smoking and high blood pressure are very bad for us so stopping smoking, controlling weight, taking exercise, reducing or excluding alcohol and keeping blood pressure under control will benefit us. We also have the advantage of improvements in medical care- 20 years ago is a long time in medical terms!

I would suggest that you retire if you can afford to just so that you can enjoy life- but then I would retire now if I could afford to (I'm 50) because I appreciate life much more and want it to go on and on. I took a big step down in my employment from being a nurse manager going back to being a junior staff nurse so that I had less stress which I knew was not helping my recovery. It has meant financially we can only just get by but I don't need any money to enjoy walking in the countryside and being able to do that without carrying a mobile phone that is ringing constantly with work problems (during what is supposed to be my free time) is worth more than a healthy bank balance can ever give me.

I wish you a long and healthy retirement. xxx

So good to hear from a nurse about interpreting this medical research! As time goes on, I am appreciating the peace and quiet and ability to do whatever I want to do. I need to look at it as not a forced retirement, but a chosen retirement. Thanks for the good advice. I can do all of them except excluding alcohol! Off for a long walk....

Thanks, Dkel. Good to know others are in my situation. It also seemed strange to me when the phone stopped ringing around the clock and the e-mails were reduced. Now the quiet is comforting. Taking each day as it comes. Thanks for pointing out the blessings that are underneath the clutter of my working life!

Thank you so much for this!

I had a rupture clipped 10 years ago and was wondering about my long term survival prospects as I'm about to make some major changes in my life. I'm 54 now (also female, non-smoker but FAT! better eat more salads eh? :) bugga, shouldn't have had that creamy pasta dinner lol.... )

Great article, and like you, I have found it difficult to find any formal information. I don't think there have been enough long term studies done, and they have not been broad, or conversly specific enough.

Cheers, and good luck with your tough decisions.

PS if it's any value, I've had cancer since my rupture. My point is that we can all die from anything at any time. I think it's best if we just live our lives not planning that we will die. but money is a tough one.

best of luck.xx