Move Before It’s Too Late

My wife and I were discussing her mother’s dilemma.  She is 88 years old and in a nursing center rehab program now for two months with her fate becoming increasingly clear; she will not be able to live by herself anymore.   She fell in her home and couldn’t get up.

Only a little over a year ago she turned down a chance to move to a nice little independent living community when her name came up on the list.  She said she was still not quite ready for that.

She had placed her name on the waiting list for this independent living community maybe 5 years ago.  But each time her name came up she wasn’t ready. My wife and I couldn’t understand her decision not to move to a better place, where she could socialize more and be near help if she needed it.  This last time in an interview meeting, the director of this community advised her not to wait too long – enjoy in while you are still able.

Now it appears she will be skipping the independent living stage, going straight to assisted living or to the nursing center.  She didn’t want to move when she had a say so, but now it looks like she will be moving with no say so.

We see parallels in our own lives.  When we sold a business five years ago we started looking around for places to retire.  This process helped me to start Retirement Media which has turned out to be an enjoyable retirement job and I am still learning and exploring the options.

However it is now five years later and at age 63 we are still “thinking” about our options in retirement.  We came close last year to buying a home in a 55 plus community (see Analysis of a Move to a 55 Plus Community) but with the uncertain economy and depressed real estate market, decided the time was not right.

The time was not right for us.  Where have we heard that before.  Are we doing the same thing as my mother in law.  Just not ready yet.   It is not like we are giving anything up.  To the contrary, this should improve our lifestyle.  So why are we reluctant.  It is really the real estate market or is it something else.

Last year when we told our neighbor of our plans to move to a 55+ community, she replied “so that’s where you are going to end up?”.  Humm.  Didn’t think of it that way.  Or did we?

Even a change for the better is hard to make.  You are giving up what you are familiar with for something new.  Maybe now I can understand the mother in law’s reluctance a little better.

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More Advantages of Small Town Living

Dahlonega Georgia

Previously I wrote about the Advantages of Small Towns and all those points still remain. Those were the basic reasons to consider moving to a small town.

I have come across even more reasons to consider living in a small town in the present environment.

Home prices may have come down even more in some small towns, relative to suburban or city homes. Home prices were already reasonable in many small towns, but now they are really reasonable. Affordability is near the top of the list of many boomers nearing or entering retirement.

If you are waiting for your suburban home to come back in price you may be waiting a long time. The lower price you get by selling your existing home now, will be partly made up by buying a lower price home in a small town.

These days small towns reportedly are a more accepting environment and gay or minorities can feel comfortable calling them home.

With these tense times where the news is non stop negative and the employment situation is not good for so many, escaping to a small town can give your life a refreshing change of pace.

Moving to a small town that is increasingly popular for retirees can put you in touch with a lot of potential new friends and offer social opportunities with people to whom you can relate.

These days many 55 plus retirement communities are located in small towns, which is ideal for you to take advantage of this type community plus enjoy small town living too.

Remember that there is not best small towns or top ten small towns, but only the small town for you. Things have changed but retiring to a small town still offers many advantages.

City Living Touted

Is city living better than living in the suburbs or rural and small town living?  According to two institutions, one in New York and one in Boston, city living beats small town living.  I recognize there are advantages to city living, in fact my site CityRetirement.com focuses on exactly that.  Let’s take a look at each urban expert’s points and take them under consideration.

This weekend I watched on Cspan’s BookTV a hour long lecture given at the Manhattan Institute in New York by the author of a new book titled “Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier”.

The author Edward Glaeser argues that the city is humanity’s greatest invention and our salvation for the future.  Glaeser says that the 2/3 of Americans who live in cities (which take up only 3% of the country’s land mass) are healthier, more prosperous, and more environmentally conscious than other Americans.  Edward Glaeser is a professor of economics at Harvard University and director of Harvard’s Taubman Center for State and Local Government.  Mr. Glaeser is also a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor at City Journal.  You may watch the video here.

Mr Glaeser says that it is a paradox that in this Internet age that you can operate from anywhere in the world, but that cities are more successful than ever.  He says cities have remarkable productivity levels and that if
productivity levels rose in the rest of the country to the  level of New York’s, then the country’s GDP would rise by 43%.  The relationship between urbanization and economic prosperity is strong.  Cities are the paths out of poverty to economic prosperity for so much of the world.  He continues that cities also are fun, they are green, they are healthy,  they are exciting places to be where the magic of human interaction makes a place so much more exciting.  They are great places to learn from the people around us.

Next comes Joseph F. Coughlin, Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab. His research focuses on how the convergence of demographic change (specifically aging) and technology will drive innovation in business and government.

I watched Mr. Coughlin video of the lecture: The Future is Gray, Small & Female: Disruptive Demographics and Transportation Tomorrow and was delighted to find the Age Lab and all it’s resources.  The lecture covers a lot of ground and if you have interest in the subject of aging you might find it fascinating as I did.   But more to the point of this post, regarding aging and transportation, 70% of Americans over age 50 live in suburban and rural areas where transit is unavailable or a poor alternative. Mr. Coughlin points out that should we be so lucky we will at some point in time give up driving and when that occurs you better be near the people and services and you will  need.

He points out that as we age there is diminished physical capacity and the desire to navigate tough roads and highways and even transit systems.  This will limit where we go and how often.  By the way he figures the big box stores will soon be on the way out since they were made for a large family and they hard to navigate for shopping for only one or two peoples.  Anyway since we will be limited on our trips and it will be hard to get out, services will need to be come to us in our homes.  Also people need to work longer and will need to get to their jobs.

Bottom line is that urban areas will be better suited to have home services available nearby to come to your home to deliver the services you need if you are restricted in your mobility.  They also have better access to transportation. Mr. Coughlin warns about going out to live in retirement communities in the outer areas, which are attractive but transportation opportunities are few.  Instead look for a livable boomer ready community in an urban area.  There are not many around but they will be coming. So maybe think about cities as a place for retirement living too.

So there you have some compelling reasons to age in place in an urban area.  More advantages of city living are listed here.  To balance things out a bit, check out advantages of living in a small town.