Should I move?

Anonymous, Age 74

Sitting here reading through this site, like what I’m reading and seeing, especially since it’s mostly women my age, yea, you understand.

I’m wondering if anyone else has done what I think I might want to do or feel like I do sometimes, Share some ideas, experiences, wisdom with me if you wouldn’t mind.

Long time divorced, worked long and hard, no career, just a lot of jobs, finally down to 25 hours a month. Just hanging on because it’s a decent job, pays okay, and how lucky am I that they still let me work there though in a limited capacity.

I’m feeling restless. Winter is not by best time, cold, snow, ice, dark, I am mostly shut in for the long winter months. Lost my ability to walk on my own, now using a walker, no complaints, I’m still mobile, get to just about anywhere I want to go on my own, except in the winter. Live north of Chicago. Weather determines when I go out in this season.

While I was busy working, my friends were actively doing life; I had to turn down way too many invitations to have fun because I had to work. Now quite a few of my friends are gone, there will be no long lunches, getting together for this or that. A few have moved to other states, those still married are joined at the hip with hubby.

My limited mobility also affects where I can go, what I can do.
I have 4 children, 8 grand kids, we are in touch by email, text, skpye, and cards. Everyone is really busy I rarely see the family except for 2 or 3 holidays depending on who isn’t busy. The rest of the year I’m pretty much on my own, which is okay.

This past year the kids have been bugging me to move south where it’s warmer, they think I should be out doing more, getting a life; sounds good, but there are a lot of “but’s” running round in my head.

One thing I do know, at 74 it’s now or never.
I do hate winter, even hated it before I could no longer walk on my own, don’t like driving in it either; in fact driving in this state is like driving on the Indie Speedway. Drivers are crazy, and driving behind an older person like me makes them crazier, I go over the speed limit by 5 miles which is never enough. I stay in the right lane, I do take my time when turning left, been hit twice, so extra cautious, me taking my time is sure to bring on a honking fest which only makes me more nervous. I try only to drive between 10 AM and 3 PM.

My income level is slightly above poverty, but I’m comfortable. What do you think about moving at 74? I’d either try FL or Az, maybe even Tx but thinking AZ might be more my style, maybe more affordable.

I would be moving where I would know hardly anyone, 2 very casual friends that live there year round might be of some help but limited since we are not “close” friends and are of different economic levels, and 1 that winters there. When I sell my home I will have some equity to put down on another place, definitely prefer buying to renting, doesn’t have to be big, just close to move in ready, as I wouldn’t have much if any for fixing up.

The thought of moving where you can get out all year round is appealing, no more bundling up then not being able to move. if it’s extra hot, guess you do errands early or late in the day?
I could get a dog, I’ve always wanted a dog, but who wants to take a dog out when it’s -20, dogs don’t even like that kind of weather.

One other weird thought that keeps spinning around the gray matter, I’m obviously aging, when you can’t walk without some kind of aide. I’m facing the fact my days and years are limited; thank goodness I don’t know the “when”.

It seems like a novel idea to do something “wow” like, move away from a life and style that’s the only kind I’ve ever known.

My kids are also talking retirement in the next 10 -15 years, I don’t want them to feel “stuck” having to take care of mom. They wouldn’t complain to me, but I don’t want them fighting among themselves, who does this or that, who might be doing too much or not enough. 3 of them are also talking about retiring to warm weather states.

Another quirky thought, there will be several weddings over the next 10 years, I don’t know if I want to be the “spectacle” at these events. Nothing makes me feel sadder than when I go to an event, see the grandma sitting there dolled up looking uncomfortable, maybe with too much make-up on, not being able to hear well, sometimes not being able to see either, or even unaware or understanding what is going on around her. Yes, it’s wonderful our families care and include us, but I think I’d like to be remembered when I looked better, could get around better, be remembered for my funny remarks, humor, etc. Anyone else ever entertain this thought?

What if I move and I don’t like it, I’d be stuck, but at least I wouldn’t be laying there on my death bed regretting what I didn’t do, and wondering what if I would have.

Any feed back? Anyone else move at this late age to a place where they had no one? How do you feel, would you recommend it, are you glad, did it make your life better or worse? Did anyone end up with less money in their savings which I probably would, how to you deal with it, do you feel selfish for doing something on the “wild” side?

I have thought about renting for awhile in 1 or 2 states but then I have to drive alone where I’ve never been. What will I do when I’m there for a month; can you really tell in a month if that might be the place to land? If I fly, then I have to rent a car, to be honest renting a place and a car, or even air fare, not exactly cheap and once spent the money is gone. How much do I want to spend just on the “deciding” factor? So much information on the internet, it won’t tell me everything but maybe enough?

I even thought about renting for several months every winter, again, have to drive to my destination no doubt alone, or I could hire someone to go with me, fly them back and do the same on the return. Then how do you spend your time when you know no one in the area. I don’t play cards, don’t gamble so not interested in junkets, with a walking disability hard to take tours. I have several hobbies, but would not have any of my tools with me, I don’t know if I could just hang out for 3-4 months at a time. I think I’d feel guilty about wasting so much time doing nothing. With life being on the short side at this age, I want to keep doing as much as I can when ever I can. I love to create, don’t want to stop for several months at a time.

My current home is okay, I had to put some money into the place, some major repair work, I would barely break even but I can’t stay here for 5 more years, goodness I’d be 79, way too old to want to move then unless it was to Assisted Living. I live in a very small complex, never see anyone, neighbors are not friendly, only know the people on both sides, retired couple on one side and the others are younger renters, both say “hi” and that’s it. I love to decorate but have lost interest since I only have company once or twice a year. I don’t think people my age are much into decorating, more into doing other things. Seems we like to go out instead of going from home to home for dinner or visiting.

Suggestions, ideas, comments, is my thinking too off the wall? Too negative?

I hope to contribute a few ideas and suggestions for others,in time.

This entry was posted in Family matters, Financial Challenges, Looking ahead, Our bodies, our health, Resilience, Where to live and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Should I move?

  1. Blog Mavens says:

    Your predicament is familiar to so many women considering relocation as they age. These are complicated decisions and hard to make alone.

    What you seem to be seeking is a community of like-minded people…thoughtful, creative, imaginative, and humorful…and transportation services that eliminate the need to drive.

    Many independent living options exist.

    Here’s the link to our Huffington posting describing the array of choices available. We’ll be submitting an article on transportation possibilities in the future.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jane-giddan-and-ellen-cole/living-choices-for-aging-women_b_6438980.html

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with our readers.
    We look forward to reading their ideas.
    Jane and Ellen

  2. Betty Taylor says:

    I’m a bit younger, but I had similar thoughts after the birth of my granddaughter 1200 miles away. Should I move closer to children? I decided to do a Vacation Rental by Owner for a month in my daughter’s city–to test the waters before making the leap. Is that a possibility for you financially? to rent a one-bedroom furnished apartment in the city you are thinking of relocating to?

    For me, I decided I was not ready to make the move and wholeheartedly dug into creating my life here. I was no longer torn because I knew which place I preferred. I will eventually move from my little farm, and when I do, I will “try out” the new place first!

    • Crystal says:

      I have considered renting and I think it’s a good suggestion. For some reason I just feel if I think I want to do it, just do it. Maybe because it means wasting more time trying to decide. I think if I was in my 60’s I’d feel less in a hurry to get going, I’m almost mid 70’s, time’s moving on without or with out me. Thanks for your reply and worth considering.

  3. Janet Schnettler says:

    I took that step you’re thinking of and moved from Michigan to Raleigh, NC 6 years ago. Sold my home and moved into an “affordable” community. Great decision on my part so far. Still looking for a “soul mate” but now have plenty of people my own age to share thoughts and ideas. Also plenty of money to enjoy the things in life I hoped for. I like just staying home and doing things I didn’t have time for when I was a working gal.

    When I moved here, I had two daughters and 4 grandchildren who had moved down here. Now one daughter has moved back north and my son has been here for a year and now also found new employment back north. Don’t see much of my daughter down here but we are together on all holidays and I know she is there when I need her. Of course, I wish the other two kids had stayed closer, but that seems to be a fact of life lately. I appreciate the times we are together and look forward to my visits with them, which my income now allows because of the great cost of living in North Carolina.

    NC still has all 4 seasons but those winters do not last nearly as long as Michigan winters and I can get out all year round without the worry of ice and snow. And also bus transportation as well as taxi service is easily available and affordable. Check into affordable housing, and I think you will be surprised at the amenities offered.

    There is lots of new construction in this area and most of it is condos, apartments, community living.
    Best of Luck to you. Hope you give it a try and if it doesn’t work…just move back! What have you got to lose?

    • Crystal says:

      Thanks for responding and sharing your thoughts. North Carolina, worth checking out, had not been on my radar. Thank you again.

  4. Patience Bourne says:

    Start small. Start soon. Take $500.00. Pack your car for one week. Drive west for 100 miles (give or take); then south on a US highway (not an Interstate) or any road that calls you. Motels and hotels outside of big cities are only about $40.00 a night. I use Motel 6 because I travel with a cat.

    Get a quick breakfast at McDonalds. Eat lunch at Senior Centers along the way. Look at the HUD housing options – usually duplexes and fourplexes. Three days out, turn around and go home, but take different roads. Next time you can spare $500.00 do it again, in a different direction. Save hard, and in the spring go further – five or six days out.

    It is a very different country outside of Chicago. Life is slower. Traffic is less honking. Look at small towns (5,000 – 15,000 population); they are very laid back. Look at 55+ communities – trailers or apartments. It may take more than a year to find where you want to land. In the meantime you will see a heck of a lot of this wonderful country.

    The main thing is, JUST GET STARTED.

  5. Crystal says:

    Great idea and doable. Can I ask have you done this? Where do you live, how did you end up there? Maybe that will be my next post question, always interesting to find out where and why someones end up where they end. Thanks for the great suggestion and for replying to my post.

    • Patience Bourne says:

      I live in northern Missouri; today, January 26, the temperature reached 64F degrees! I am probably about 500 miles from you. I was going to suggest you pack for your week and come and visit, but then I looked at Chicago’s weather – about 24F and not getting much better. But come if you want.

      I moved here in 2004 after 40 years in Denver. This is a very small, safe town. I am beginning to think of traveling again. I would feel comfortable leaving my house empty for a month or more (provided I hire someone to take care of my cats! and mow the lawn). I drive back and forth to Denver about two to three times a year. I can often go from here to there in a day; but returning I usually stay in a motel.

      Phoenix is on my horizon, too. I go onto Craigslist.com and look at rentals under $500 and in the manufactured home section. I do not want to live in a pristine community; would prefer something slightly more downtrodden. I don’t want to fully move yet, just look around. I still need to drastically downsize all my stuff and junk!

      I plan on doing a number of trips of ten to 20 days’ length this year. Staying in extended stay motels is not too pricey if I just pick a city to explore. I will also be going to Denver for an extended stay. Visits to Key West and Cape Cod are also anticipated in 2016-2017.

      JUST GET STARTED.

  6. Crystal says:

    Love it – just get started, sounds so easy, however old school here, how I wish I could. With me, its like I’m afraid to step off the curb, what if…….However, I’m getting closer than ever before to doing something, I know what I have it’s good but there is no incentive to feel like I’m “really” living. I’m doing what I’ve always done walking on the right side of the street. I need to feel there is still life left to live. I’m not in the condition I’d envision I would be at this age and not financially where I wanted to be, still I’m here. I still can get around, why not pick up the pieces that are working and bust out. Hopefully it will happen, the Replies to my post are very encouraging. I hope you can keep in touch, would love to hear from you as you travel and where you land.

    • Patience Bourne says:

      Start a new post when you take your first big little step. Or is it first little big step?. You will be on your way then. Good luck.

  7. Sue says:

    I live in a beautiful mountain community in NC. But at the age of 66, I’m hungering for amenities I don’t have in this community. Museums, parks, zoos, and good public transportation system. I’ve been here 10 years and as of yet, I haven’t found close friends to “hang” with. I’m living on social security and student loans (yes – still in college). Though I have Arthritis, I can still get around. But as my condition worsens, driving these mountain roads, especially in the winter, will become a challenge (thus my need for public transportation).

    My dream has been to return to my childhood state of California. But alas, the cost of living and the hassle of trying get across the country by myself is daunting. I’ve got this vision of living in a tiny apartment within walking distance from the ocean.

    I’ve looked at cities within NC. Raleigh/Durham area come to mind. But – I’m alone and have very little emotional support for such a thing.

    I got on Google and typed in “Relocating at the age of 70” and found this blog. Oh how it spoke to me. Thank you to all who posted here. I no longer feel alone in my restlessness. Maybe this is the year I move (or not)! There’s so many obstacles! And yet, I’m not dead! I want to hang out in science museums and go to the zoo. I want to sit by the ocean and contemplate my existence. There’s so much to see and do yet. Who knows what the year will bring.

  8. Louise says:

    First time on this site, and saw your message. Reminded me of so many things I think about. You should definitely move to a warmer climate, especially since you don’t like winter and cold weather. I know it’s hard to make a move, but I believe once you’re in a warmer climate just enjoying the weather every day will make a difference in your outlook and ability to overcome challenges like meeting some new people and taking care of everying yourself.

    Try looking and researching some older, more established 55+ communities, they usually are less expensive then the newer developments. The older developments usually have clubhouses with activities that you could get involved in and meet people.

    The reply from Patience about taking $500 and driving the 100 miles is a good way to start to scout out an area. I would love to that myself, but it’s a brave thing to do on your own and wonder if I could. Sounds so easy, and sensible on finding out about an area, but I know I would be nervous and skeptical to actually do it. Maybe I need to write down the pros and cons of taking such a trip and write out “what is the worst possibel scenario” and come up with a solution and then I’d be ready to do this.

    Regarding the weddings, if you’d be uncomfortable going, don’t go. You don’t have to attend just because you got invited. I would definitely opt out of attending if I felt that uncomfortable.

  9. Carolyn says:

    Let me ask, may be to personal. Is the not being able to walk well because you are inside to much in winter and don’t get enough exercise? Is there a possibility if you move south where its warm, have access to a heated pool in a complex and more activities that you could improve? Just wondering because thinking you might be able to also improve your quality of life.
    Good luck on your decision, at least you are thinking about it, but don’t wait too
    long–life has a way of passing us by.

    Carolyn (age 69)

  10. Janet Sandlin says:

    Your note about moving at 70 or older is just what I needed to see. I am blessed in that my career allowed me to live in many places in all parts of the country. I was in the Army during Vietnam era and moved from my home in St Louis to Army basic training (OK WAC training) by myself, in Alabama, professional training for my Army job sent me to New Jersey, and advanced training for a new job sent me to my own special Heaven on Earth, Sierra Vista, AZ. Loved the desert from the moment I walked outside the airport.

    After 13 weeks training went back to New Jersey, then got transferred to Okinawa Japan. I have no children, unless you count husband #1. He was a soldier till he retired, only thing wrong with him was he felt it was OK to continue to date other women while we were married. After 12 years I said enough. Much as I loved living in Sierra Vista (I was now out of the Army after 7 years and working for them as a civilian) it is a small town, and I would run into him and wife #3 a lot. Got offered a promotion if I would move to Barstow, CA (High desert half way between Vegas and LA). From there I was offered another promotion 3 years later to move to Detroit (that was awful, I hated to cold and snow) so I found a job in Kings Bay, GA (exit 2 from the Fla state line north of Jacksonville. Left that job when my mom passed and moved to Lexington KY near my sister and dad.

    Got hired by Dept of Vet Affairs and realized when dad passed I didn’t like it here, so when a opportunity came to transfer to the VA in Las Vegas, I grabbed it. I was finally back in desert and happy and at peace. When I retired 5 years ago, for some reason I returned to KY (OK I had a lot of friends here, a great church etc), But now I realize my soul is in the southwest, so I am putting money aside every month and will be leaving here and moving permanently back to Sierra Vista 11 months from now. Getting rid of everything except clothes and personal items that fit in my car.

    BUT, I had started thinking maybe I am too old to make that long drive alone, although I did it less than 6 years ago when I drove here from Vegas. I guess I’m saying, it is good to check out any area where you think you want to go. Contact chambers of commerce and other local groups and have them send you info on the area. See any travel video’s and look at lots of pictures.

    Also have an idea of how you are going to meet people. 95% of the places I moved I did not know a soul. I like Bingo, so with a few weeks I found someplace to play and got to know others sitting by me, Then I found a church with a senior group and joined it (It does take some time to find the right church that “fits”).

    Wishing you well in whatever decision you make, but remember you know what you have, only you know if at the end it is worth what could have been.

  11. Maria Mc Coy says:

    I just found this blog and am reading it with much enthusiasm. I am feeling the same as most. I am 79 and live alone but feel a need to be with people more. I found much encouragement here just knowing I am not alone in my desires do move at my age. I live alone widowed many years ago. I spend holidays and birthdays alone. Just the thought of getting away for a time is so uplifting for my spirit. Thanks to all for sharing this with us. One thing I would like to know is about accomodations when traveling alone. Any advise?

  12. Dear Anonymous,

    You’ve received a lot of good input from others on your decision to move. I just want to comment on one thing you said you’d like to do: adopt a dog.

    I turn 70 on August 11th. I’ve had dogs for the past 45 years and am a great advocate for living with a dog especially if you live alone. Here are a few thoughts to consider:

    Be sure you choose a dog that is the right size and temperament to be your companion. With your walker it will be a challenge to walk a dog, but you can buy a scooter. I have days when I can’t walk my border collie mix and I use my scooter which she loves because I can go much faster than my walking speed.

    The second thing to consider is climate. I’ve lived in Prescott, and Wickenburg
    AZ. Prescott has four seasons and some snow but is lovely. You just have to find a location that doesn’t have hills. Wickenburg is about an hour north of Phoenix and is much hotter and it doesn’t have four seasons. Walking the dog even for 20 minutes during the summer is pretty uncomfortable for both you and your pet even at 6 a.m. This goes for anywhere in the south or southwest. I live in Pensacola, FL now and the humidity is another factor.

    One last thought: since you are somewhat physically challenged try to find an apartment, condo or house that has access to a back yard or patio so that you can let the dog out without having to go along. This limits your choices but you will be so glad that you don’t have to take the dog out 3 or 4 times a day.

    My last move was from Ventura, CA to Pensacola, FL at the age of 67. I drove my car with my dog riding shotgun. I strongly recommend finding someone to share the driving if it is at all possible.

    Do your best and leave God the rest!

    Judith, age 70

  13. Unique says:

    It’s a good shame you don’t contain a give money button! I’d definitely give money for this fantastic webpage! I suppose for the time being i’ll be satisfied bookmarking together with including an individual’s Feed. Definitely will share the web site utilizing my best Facebook or twitter team: )

  14. Annie says:

    This dilemma reminds me of something I was reading lately — about the Buddhist notion of moving ever so slightly outside our comfort zone into the next zone, the challenging zone, but not yet into the big-risk-impossible-to-do-now zone. That by doing something just a little bit into the challenge zone, we expand ever so slighlty our comfort zone and this is what learning/growning is about. As we get older, without going into the challenge zone by a conscious decision I suppose, our comfort zone keeps shrinking as we get older so that walking outside, or driving, or saying hello to a grumpy neighbor, or having a tea with your new millenial boss become more than we can bare. Hm… this morning I’ve been looking at that in my own life and seeing that, like the writer here, I am in the fork-in-the-road point this year of deciding to go or to stay in my city… the money problem… ah…

  15. Kathy hamilton says:

    Did you ever make the move? I am 70, feel a need to be near my daughter. I do have a husband, that makes it easier! Want to sell our home of 35 years, move to Colorado. So scary, but it’s now or never

    • Blog Mavens says:

      Kathy,
      Yes, scary…and exciting.
      We moved from Ohio to Texas to be near our children and grandchildren, and have had no regrets.

      There are lots of big steps…down-sizing possessions…selling a house….finding a new residence…meeting new people…exploring new terrain…figuring out what to “do” in the new place. It helps to create a plan, get help when you need it, and stay the course with optimism.

      Leaving old friends is hard, but visits and frequent communication by phone and FaceTime help a lot.

      Making new friends is a challenge, and takes time. Seek activities that you enjoy, and chances are there will be people there you’ll eventually want to spend more time with.

      It seems that “newcomers” are everywhere, so know you’re not the only one. Towns here all have active Newcomer’s clubs and Meet-up groups for every sort of interest. Religious venues, recreation and senior centers offer further opportunities to get involved.

      You can read more stories on this topic if you click on ‘Where to live’ on the right side of our blog page.

      Take your time exploring and enjoy the process!

      Jane

  16. Wisteria says:

    I am very stressed at the moment because the mobile home park I live in may be sold and I am quite worried at being displaced. It is in California, and there is no place affordable to live in California anymore.

    I am considering moving back to Buffalo, NY, where I am from, and I have a sister and a couple of old friends. It is more provincial there, and I worry about fitting in. I am divorced, 70 this year, and my daughter is moving to live in another country (she is 27).

    I never made close friends here because when I moved to California, I had just gotten a divorce, and my child was only six, and I worked two jobs. So most of my time was working and raising my child. When I retired, I realized the people I thought were friends at work, were really just co-workers. We don’t get together.

    I feel lonely and depressed, and I need to make a decision before the park is sold (it could be another year) so that I have something to put down on a “real” house someplace. I cannot stay in CA any longer because the costs are outrageous. Thus, I am forced to look elsewhere cheaper.

    I’m just not sure I would fit into Buffalo anymore. Yet, I don’t have any close friends in other states. I have a few old friends in various parts of New York State whom I might be able to visit.

    Winter is a problem, and I am hoping as long as I am able, that I might take a month out of the winter to go to Panama or South America. I did a Spanish Immersion program last year in Mexico.

    When my daughter is settled (probably in Asia) I can get a 90-day visa to visit. That would get me out of the area, too. But with this looming ending of a lease in a 55+ park, I am panicked. I am cranky, crying, worried, and I feel like a little kid who just had her toys stolen.

    I sound like a baby, but the thought of starting over again is daunting. I lived all over the country, but there is no place affordable to return to, except Arizona, but that was way too hot and unpleasant.

    I’m just not sure what to do, and hope that I hear more from other women in their 70s and how they are successfully (or are trying to) move to another area. Why are you choosing the place, do you have a network established, costs, etc.

    Thank you for this blog!

    • Blog Mavens says:

      Hi,

      Yes, moving can seem daunting!
      You are smart to explore all options now, while you have some time.

      This topic is important to many women our age, as we’ve seen at our 70Candles! Gatherings.

      Have you visited Buffalo in a while? You may think of it as “provincial” but chances are there are people there from many other places, and of all cultural and political stripe. It might be a good idea to spend a week or so there, to see how your sister and old friends spend their time.

      There are some novel homeshare arrangements that might be of interest.
      In Los Angeles Affordable Living for the Aging (ALA) matches women seeking a home with those who have a room, or a house to share.
      Online, Roommates4Boomers.com matches up women who apply to share a residence. Perhaps your sister and old friends are also looking for their “next” home.

      To find new friends, there are lots of options. In most cities, Newcomers groups are most welcoming, and membership can continue on for years with rich activity schedules. To find folks with common interests, you can follow your own passions. I see there’s a Spanish conversation Meet-up group in Buffalo. No doubt other topics on Meet-up web sites as well.

      Senior Centers have become active and interesting places, with lots of group activities, from exercise to volunteering, to travel. They’re for people 55 and older, so more like summer camp than nursing home.

      Wherever you go, it will be up to you to make connections happen. This next chapter in your life might turn out to be a good one after all!

  17. Renee Horn says:

    All legitimate questions and concerns- I too am driving my self nuts trying to make the RIGHT move- Florida is what I’ve been looking at for several years, middle to West Coast- there are several really nice 55+ neighborhoods. Stay away from The Villages, overpriced and too big. Taxes are lower in Lake County; Stonecrest in Marion County (Ocala) is very nice with lots of things to do, incl heated indoor and outdoor pools- HOA is $108 per month. My problem is I need a fence for my dogs, and none of the 55+ permit those.

    Someone mentioned affordability- if you have Equity in your current home, you can do a Reverse “PURCHASE” Mortgage, and have plenty of money left over. Down payment depends on age- for me it works out to be 43% (75 yrs)- no more loan payments, loan pays off when you sell or die. If you consider this GREAT option, make sure you deal with a Loan Company who does these loans, not all do, and not all understand them. Home prices for a nice house run @ 185K – 250K or more of course- I’m looking in SUMMERFIELD, Leesburg, Tavares and Mount Dora, all are pretty with lots of activities if so desire.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *