To move or not to move?

Carol,  Age 69

I AM 69 BUT SOON TO BE 70 AND MY HUSBAND IS 73, AND FOR 5YRS NOW WE CANT DECIDE IF WE SHOULD LEAVE OUR FAMILIES FOR A WARMER LOCATION THAN CHICAGO. OUR GRAND KIDS ARE 11YRS AND 13YRS AND MY SON AND HIS WIFE WILL BE MOVING TO FLORIDA IN 8 TO 10 YEARS WHEN THE KIDS GO TO COLLEGE. BUT, THATS A LONG TIME FROM NOW FOR US, SO WE DONT KNOW IF ITS THE RIGHT THING TO DO, AND FLYING BACK AND FORTH TO VISIT THEM WOULD RUN INTO TOO MUCH MONEY FOR US BECAUSE WE ARE AVERAGE INCOME PEOPLE. WHAT SHOULD WE DO?

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15 Responses to To move or not to move?

  1. Rosemarie Clune says:

    The decision should be yours but like all decisions that involve others, it should be made considering all areas. If you are still considering after five years of thinking, I would say you want to go. At this point in your lives, the two of you should be the key, which means your comfort, security, happiness, etcetera. There is a lot of stress that comes with living in a weather zone that includes ice, sleet and snow — danger of injury, inability to get out for errands and fun (although it has been snowing in Florida this week!!) and the life style in warmer climates is definitely more relaxed. When you write the pros and cons, just look at the lists with more pros — that should help you decide!

  2. Linda Shelton says:

    Well, as we get older, unexpected health issues arise. If y’all make a move away from family, you will need to consider a backup plan, just in case. Or be prepared to move back, close to relatives, if necessary. My husband’s health fell apart in his early 70s and our life consists of doctor’s appointments for him. I’m blessed to live in the same city as my daughter. But enjoy life while still can.

  3. Fran says:

    Have you visited the city where you would like to live in Florida? At least twice?
    That is a must — you must do that first. With that said: Florida doesn’t have any state income tax — that is good. I think the cost of living is cheaper almost anywhere in FL than in Chicago — that is good. The Florida humidity shouldn’t bother you too much (because Chicago is so humid during the summers) — that is good. As long as you don’t live in Southern Florida, Miami or St. Petersburg — due to flooding — that is good. However, remember that Florida is famous for its hurricanes: would you know how to take care of yourself in a hurricane? I had a friend is FL who was without electricity for 5 weeks after a hurricane — wasn’t all that long ago. (I would ask her to refresh my memory on the details but she has now passed, due to old age.) Also, almost more than family, if you have really good friends, in Chicago, who you’ve known for a long time — do you really want to leave them? And as Linda said, as you get older, do you want to be without family support? And as you said, you’re not going to be able to afford to fly back to Chicago often to see your children and grandchildren. Lastly but not least: if you don’t live very near your adult children right now, could you possibly move closer? And I do know that Chicago is quite big but have you checked with City of Chicago Senior Services to see what they could offer you, to make your life in Chicago easier during the winter? Here is the link: https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/fss/provdrs/senior/svcs/information_and_assessment.html.html
    Or you could just call the city’s main number and ask to be connected to senior services.

    The only reason I would move away from family and (real) friends is if I couldn’t afford to stay in my home city.

    • Roseann Cervelli says:

      I have a friend whose children and grandchildren live in Colorado and Alabama, while she is here in New Jersey. She also has one daughter who lives here in Jersey with her husband and children. The difference in the relationships she has with these families is huge. With the Jersey daughter, she remains involved in their every day life- gets to babysit often, read books to the kids, make special memories – she has a close bond with her daughter. With the two families far away, it is always a struggle for her. Communication suffers, despite Facetime, texts etc. There are often huge expectations on both parties when she goes to visit, and she inevitably comes back disappointed because she is not accustomed to their routines and ways of child rearing etc. She feels more like a semi-welcomed visitor rather than the loving grandmother she wants to be. She feels bad missing the grandchildrens’ school functions, dance recitals etc. It is hard for her to accept “What Is…”

      If you have been an integral part of your children and grandchildren’s lives so far, I think you might miss this closeness. It all depends on what your relationship is right now…

      I have also heard that health care is not as up to speed in Florida- unless you go to areas like St. Augustine, near the Mayo Clinic…You want to make sure you will get the best care as possible as time goes on.

      There is something that only close family/friend ties can give as we grow older…Having those close by who can run to the supermarket or pharmacy for us, or meet us in the ER if we have to go…those things are important too. (though hopefully we won’t need these!)

      The nice weather truly is a magnet to go to Florida… I have a friend who, at the age of 72, recently divorced her husband and went to Sarasota- she loves it there- a vibrant community. She was ready to begin a whole new life- and has found her way for sure. She is the kind of person who is not afraid to put herself forth, meet up with new people, welcomes new adventures. I think a lot of adjustment in moving to a new place also depends upon our personality- how outgoing are we, how willing are we to make new friends, explore a new way of living. That takes some honest, non-judgmental reflection about ourselves- what we truly feel we can and cannot do.

      We each have to weigh what are your priorities as you grow older…What nourishes you and your husband the most…What brings peace to your hearts and a sense of well-being…Are you one to whom family connections are essential? Are you a couple that enjoy being together all the time, or do you need independence as well? Lots of things to consider…

      Many wonderful suggestions are offered by all who have written. Perhaps I can sum up my offering best by just saying, “Know Thyself…” Know what is energetically that which makes you feel most loved, most alive… Perhaps that is how you and your husband will find the answers you seek…
      I wish you all the very best on your Journey…
      Sincerely,
      Roseann

  4. I think it’s perfect! I think you should go to Florida with all the technology you can visit with your grandchildren live. They could come on school break by themselves and you would have them all to yourself when they visit.

    We work all our lives to be able to do what we want and I am sure you both deserve the warm weather and am sure you used to dream about it. C

  5. Cheryl Harris says:

    So many of us have faced the same dilemma and, as previously mentioned, you need to make the decision based on what is best for you and your husband. You also should be making the decision as quickly as possible. A major move is a major trauma in your life, no matter the reason.

    We moved to NC to be near family and four grandchildren five years ago. The first year was difficult acclimating to everything new and emotionally. Looking back, I realize had we not moved when we did, we physically, mentally, or emotionally could not have done so just three or four years later. (I was 65 and husband 72 then.)

    Another consideration is the age of your grandchildren; their lives become so busy. We have to schedule dates to get together with ours as they have so many activities and our daughter not only works but is a full time chauffeur. You’ll probably see your grandchildren more when they visit you for extended periods of time when you’re in Florida.

    On a personal note, I lived and went to college in the Chicago area. Even as a young person, it is a challenging place to live. The cold weather makes everything more difficult. You will be amazed how much better you will feel being able to be outside more and an increased active life.

    The major concerns we had were finding good medical care and financial considerations. I believe you will find excellent health care givers in Florida and expertise in world class geriatric medicine. Financially, you WILL be better off the moment you pass over the Florida line. Think about your heating bill! You may find that you are saving so much that you will be able to include trips to Chicago….there are many special rates with Southwest.

    Do those pros and cons but do it quickly. How exciting and fortunate that you have an opportunity to be making a decision like this. Whatever you decide, time should be one of your major considerations.

  6. Bob Coulson says:

    Two cents…both of you do a retirement options life options profile with a retirement options certified coach to look at your preparedness and options and create a plan. Second, get a certified senior advisor to consult with and get objective facts. These two people should have the skills to help you sort out fact and fiction and fanciful thinking. A few bucks up front will save you a lot when you have a firm answer that five years has not resolved. You and hubby must live your own life too. Last thing to check on the net is sageing international and connect with a local wisdom circle they will be a good support for sorting out your bonus years of longevity and legacy you want to intentionally leave.

    Keep in mind a move is a major major change so the life options profile will help you decide if your adaptability and flexibility are strengths to sustain your journey. You are not alone…it’s a concern by many in this stage of life. I hope this is helpful in some way.

  7. Cathy Hooley says:

    Why do you want to move? Cold? Too much maintenance here? What will you do when you get there! Do you have a place to go in Fla where you have friends and won’t miss your family? Do you have connections there or make friends easily. Have you lived in Fla in the summer in the sweltering heat? Have you done the research – Have you priced places in fl and what you will get get your home?

    I guess if all are positive then go for it. But if you’re having reservations, especially about being away from family – may be best to wait a couple more years if you can.

    Cathy

  8. Diana says:

    As you can see, it’s an issue that many of have given serious thought. I think it it comes down to your relationship with your son and his family. Are you close? Is he there for you when you need him? And are you there for him? Is your relationship a source of joy or tension?

    Now close your eyes and imagine dealing with a medical emergency with him there. And without him. Which would be easier for you?

    Does your relationship with him and his family add to the quality of your life or detract from it?

    There are no wrong answers; just honest ones.

  9. mary hirsch says:

    Carol,
    I hope that after reading the wonderful suggestions and advice from other sisters, you will continue to ponder your many options and consider the PROS and CONS, as someone suggested: that exercise really works!! As well, I was wondering…

    Have you had the opportunity to sit down with your family and chat about what’s on your mind since it is bound to impact their lives as well?

    While you are still speaking as “a couple,” and have the comfort of having each other for support, etc., as the years go by (and they will!) there might/will come a day when ONE of you may need additional support due to illness or unexpected circumstances. How will you deal with this away from your family?

    If you can take your time to sort things (and options) through, that might be the best way to approach this plan: research the pros and cons…

    And just know we are all here for you for support!
    Happy New Year!!!

    Mary

  10. This is a tough situation. We live in Florida in the reverse situation, but have grandchildren in Houston and upstate NY, so miss almost all special events that they have. It is sad. The two in Texas are 12 and 15, so we don’t have so many more years to see their events.

    If I were you, I’d absolutely want to stay close to my family as the grandkids will have lots of athletics and special events over the next five years. Could you keep your house there, but maybe rent an airBNB for a month in Florida? When we lived in the Chicago area, we always planned a winter getaway to a warm place, just to break that cold, grey cycle.

    Or, do you have any friends in Florida whom you could visit? We had California friends who used to live here and wanted to return to visit without spending too much. They found a week’s rental and then expanded the visit to two weeks by visiting two sets of friends, one for three days at the beginning and one for four days at the end.

    It takes the edge off January if you are getting out shorts and swimsuits and planning a trip south.

    We are 73 and trying to figure out the next housing step and hating the “country club” cost of the local independent living places. Not for us, but what is the alternative?

    • Diana says:

      Laurie, we’re there too at 72 and 73.

      I’ll start a new thread and perhaps we can all talk about ‘what’s next?’

  11. Mary LePiors says:

    The good news is that you have very many good years ahead. I don’t know how involved you are with grands, but I always look at them as an added bonus to parenting. Another chance. Mary

    • Fran says:

      I am 69, and I am in the best health of almost anyone I know at my age and older. My ex-BF is turning 81 this month, and when he was 75, he was still downhill skiing — now he’s starting to slow down — was down. I have lived in two 55+ communities, and I know that he and I are not the norm. The OP stated that she is almost 70 and her husband is 73. How many years do you think OP and her husband have left? And what is your definition of ‘good’? And lastly: I can’t imagine moving to a new city/town at my age and trying to learn my way around. I did move out of my home state when I retired at age 57. It took a few years before I really felt like I knew my way around my new city and a few more years after that before I began to feel that my new city was home (and I was and still am the adventurer). I can’t imagine going through that again — not at my age now. A few people here have said that their move (OP and husband) should primarily depend on how close they are to their adult children and grandchildren. I tend to agree very much. Even more so, I think it depends on: do they have long-time, close friends in Chicago? If they do, I think they should stay. They’re not going to be able to ever have long-time friends again at their age, and the odds of them making close friends in FL are not good. Another poster mentioned medical care not being good in FL Medical care hasn’t been good almost anywhere throughout The US (except in major cities like Chicago) in years, and it’s predicted to get worse (and not just because of potential cuts in Medicare — kids are not going to medical school, for a number of good reasons, but that’s another topic for another thread). So if medical care is important to OP and her husband then perhaps it’s best to stay in Chicago. //// I really wish I could have stayed in my home state — California — Southern CA — where I lived for 57 years, but I just couldn’t. Traffic was horrendous when I left 13 years ago, and it certainly hasn’t gotten any better. And after 57 years of earthquakes and fires — which have increased in the past 13 years — I had had it — I was done. But if it hadn’t been for the traffic, if Southern CA had had a decent public transportation system (it still doesn’t), if there hadn’t been earthquakes and fires — I would have stayed. And as much as I’ve come to love my new home (Albuquerque, NM) — I still get homesick — I still wish I could have stayed. But every time (not often now) I think of going back to SoCal — there isn’t a snowball’s chance in the hot place that I will go back. //// My point is (sorry this is so long-winded), Chicago has bad winters but it doesn’t have earthquakes and fires; Chicago has a great public transportation system; and, from the looks of it, Chicago has a great department of senior affairs. If OP and husband have good friends in Chicago and they are close with their family — I think they should stay. //// Sorry if this post of mine sounds snarky — I really am — but it’s 5 a.m. in the morning here, I just got up, and I haven’t put on my ‘nice-person’ body yet. LOLOLOLOLOL //// It would be nice to hear from people who moved to another place later in life and if they are glad they did or if they regret it — and why. OP and husband shouldn’t base their decision on how many posters like their move or don’t like their move — but it would give them some things to think about.

  12. Very interesting! As many of my “retired” friends are moving away I hear them struggling with the same question. For most of them it has come down to how involved are you in your children and grandchildren lives.

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