By: Patrick M. Kennedy
Senior citizens who relocate usually do so as a result of life opportunities, such as retirement, life changes like widowhood, and health changes. Although most senior citizens prefer to age in place at their present home and neighborhood, this may not be an option for everyone. Change is not always bad; sometimes it is really only a horrifying process. But it is an essential decision that can influence your future wardrobe and the newspaper you read every day for the next 20 years or so.
There are many factors that will probably influence your decision to relocate. How far to you want to be from family and friends? Do you want access to amenities such as recreation, health, and leisure activities? Do you want to be familiar with the region or environment you are moving to? Will you need assistance with daily activities? And more important, do you desire fewer home maintenance responsibilities?
The standard senior citizen dream is to be rocking in a chair on a porch while soaking in the year-round sun, wading in the surf while inhaling ocean air, or reading a book, or playing checkers or golf with the neighbor. Moving to maybe warmer weather and downsizing from a luxury level to a more comfortable level and leaving behind a lot of doodads is a hard decision. You have accumulated so much all these years, how in the world are you going to move it across country, or maybe not.
Or like some citizens, just deciding not to move and staying in one of the snowbound areas of the world, which is just as appealing to some; especially those inclined to believe that snow and cold nine-months out of the year are invigorating (sort of like the occasional root canal). It’s a difficult decision, almost as hard as: ‘Less filling? – More taste?’ Really, though, it is an unproven fact that most people would rather be warm than cold, unless they want to carry a carton of ice cream or a shrimp cocktail in their pocket or purse.
Relocation involves various adjustments and challenges that usually arise, like meeting and make new friends; finding a new physician, pharmacist, gardener, library, etc.; regrets about leaving in the first place; liking the new neighborhood; and how much of a burden will the distance be on my family?
Then there is the decision of buying or renting a new place. Financial concerns should be paramount for senior citizen homebuyers. In the past, we have counted on the sale of our old home to start financing a new house or condominium. In these days of economic summersaults, that may be harder to do. It can be done, but will be just a little harder. If you decide to rent, you will have all that cash from the sale of your home, and it will sell eventually, to do all the things you wanted to do in retirement.
Of course, there are the few senior citizens who are fence walkers, or euphemistically called, snowbirds who chose the best of both worlds; that is, eating tacos in the winter and fish and chips in the summer, relocate temporary in the south for the winter, and back north in the summer. This is the copout decision between change and continuity, choosing both.
Then there are the genuine victims of wavering, and possibly the most adventurous of us, who choose life on the road forever in an RV; wherever they park is where they are. That can go on for as long as you can drive and you have gas money.
Relocating to another country like Mexico is another option. But before you go,the Internet is full of great information, so take advantage of it. Learn some Spanish, as much as you can. Buy maps of the regions you are going to and get familiar with the adjacent towns and sights to see. You will need a visa and/or a passport for Mexico travel, no matter how long you are staying. Requirements change, so it is best to check with the Mexican Consulate or immigration office. Phone service is probably best with a cell phone, and some U.S. services have North American services, for a fee. And each town has a different type of mail service so you will have to figure it out and set it up.
Relocating to Canada, if you decide the north is better than the south, is a little easier because the lifestyle and language is not a big problem. But all the other issues must be addressed when moving to another country.
Just remember, be respectful of your new country, and remember, you are a guest. Watch the new foods you have not eaten before; take it slow to avoid traveler’s distress. There are other things you must consider, like banking, your car, your car insurance, the Internet connection and other things that will come up.
Over all, moving can be easy if done right. I suggest you make a list of things to do and things you will need. Sometimes it is best by starting with a list with 2 sides: One side with all the positives of relocating; and the other side for the negatives. This is an easy way to figure out if it is a good idea in the first place.