Where to Love Next

Seniors Deciding Where to Live Next

This is the fourth in a series of articles in answer to requests for more informational help with “downsizing” issues for seniors. The focus here is on getting started with the process in a systematic and gradual way.

Table of Contents

Best to Plan Ahead

From my experience in counseling seniors, 75% do not want to move at all at that time. Many prefer to stay where it is familiar, even though it may become more difficult to manage. Others do not want to pay the government any more taxes than absolutely necessary, so decide to stay where they are for as long as possible. However, eventually most will decide to relocate, or circumstances may lead to that as a necessity.

In some cases the decision about where to live next is an easy one, often because the original motivation was to be closer to family members. For many, though, the location choice is almost as overwhelming as the actual preparation to make the move.

What’s Your Motivation For Moving?

I have found it helpful to narrow down what people really want. Deciding where to live can be easier by breaking the broad question down into a series of questions, considering a wide range of elements and characteristics and how important each one is to the seniors. Once a list of items has been created, it can be helpful to rank each one in terms of degree of importance, either on a scale of 1 to 3 or 1 to 5.

The decision as to where to consider moving to then becomes much more efficient and highly suitable to their own personal needs and values. Some examples that may aid in getting started in this prioritizing are:

Proximity to major health facilities, near relatives or friends, average temperature in preferred range, high percentage of people in similar age range, handicap accessibility, proximity to theater and arts and symphony, gardens and green spaces, walkability, culturally and ethnically diverse or homogeneous, weather either constant or with definite seasons, access to a variety of shopping and quality restaurant options, near an airport, high energy or laid-back feeling area, and so forth.

Of course one viable option is to stay near one’s current home, perhaps in the same community. While some people prefer to move to a senior citizen community, and others want to move closer to grandchildren, many just want to move to an easier context such as a smaller single story home in the area they have friends and familiar environment.

Focusing Your Search

Once the highest-priority list has been completed, the search for alternative locations becomes more focused, assuming they don’t now live where they will want to next. Research into options can include asking friends, travel agents, or simply browsing online for ideas.

This process may yield several possible locations that would meet most of the highest-ranked preferences, and then in turn these locations can be ranked in order of preference. At this point, it may be useful to write out any questions about each location and then seek out the answers.

There are several approaches to finding out more information about each area or city that are on the final list. Most people would go online and see what various sites have available, including local chambers of commerce. If people know someone who lives there, calling them may be an excellent start. For those who use social media, posting a question and asking to talk to people who live there can result in many contacts.

Once the list has been narrowed down to a few that rank the highest, scheduling a trip to check each out is essential. It may be worth taking a week or more to become fully familiar with the nuances of benefits and drawbacks of a particular locale.

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