The most common reason to move in later years is to be closer to children and grandchildren. Regardless of your reason for relocating, unless you plan to live with family, there will be many hours of the day when you are just plain newbies in town. How will you spend your time?
If proximity to younger kin is compelling your thoughts, clarify the role you want to play and see if it’s a shared vision. If you have hopes they will help as you get older, be sure to discuss that, as well as any childcare expectations they may have. Also think through if they need to relocate (e.g., job transfer), what will you do then?
Relocating can be a late-life adventure of discovery. Some issues to consider:
- Social and cultural options. What do you enjoy now? Does the new location have similar opportunities: Nature, museums, social or religious groups? If having friends and an active social circle is important to you, how will you make new friends? Is this a snowbird town? What will you do in winter?
- Access to health care. What if your health status changes? Are you comfortable with the local emergency services? Is state-of-the-art medicine available for serious conditions such as cancer? What about home care or assisted living? Meet with a local Aging Life Care™ Manager to discuss costs and likely prospects.
- Transportation options for older adults. Most of us outlive our ability to drive safely by seven to ten years. Is there good public transportation or ride-sharing options in the new community? Research neighborhood walkability at WalkScore.com.
- Cost of living. There will be differences in your day-to-day spending. Look at real estate websites for local housing, property tax, and insurance costs. Look up available health insurance plans. (Medicare Advantage, for instance, cannot be transferred to a new region.) Use the CNN Cost of Living Calculator to get a comparative sense of other expenses (food, utilities, recreation). Factor in transportation to far-flung relatives. Meet with a certified financial planner to verify that you can afford this change.
Give it a trial run. Before pulling up stakes, rent an apartment for a few months. Get a sense of the town, its resources and culture, and its neighborhoods.
Optimal timing: As soon as possible! If you know a move is in your future, don’t wait. Research shows successful transitions occur when you relocate while you still have the ability to get around easily and establish a strong social circle. Plus, decluttering is not easy. Even with hired help, packing up and unpacking is taxing—physically and emotionally.
Are you considering a move?
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