As life changes, we sooner or later have to mull over the pros and cons of changing our residence.
Maybe the move “just” involves downsizing, a huge project in itself. Or it may require relocating to a completely new zip code. Near or far, that kind of move has a huge emotional investment built in, not to mention the expense and hassles of the physical transfer of belongings we end up keeping.
Leaving friends behind
Do we really want to move away from the friends we have now, in expectation of making new friends? It takes time to learn to trust again. And even an outgoing person has to be a little cautious. The world is full of wolves in sheep’s clothing or clinging vines who will sap your energy.
If we currently have a medical team that we’re not happy with, we may relish the thought of finding a different team! Yippee! Hopefully it would be made up of physicians who actually listen to us and conduct necessary tests, instead of ducking the hassles of insurance company paperwork.
And wouldn’t it be nice to have a doctor read your chart to see that your normal body temperature is 97.6 or lower and has been that way for years, instead of 98.6. Therefore a reading of 99.1 in an adult with normally low body temperature is not “a very mild fever.” You are sick! (Low body temperature by itself often indicates a thyroid problem with all its possible complications.)
Good neighbors are a treasure! And often as rare. Rude, rowdy neighbors often trigger the urge to move away. Parties that begin mid-morning on Saturday and continue louder and louder with heavy drinking and cursing until midnight or beyond create rifts that can’t be mended. Ditto for raucous teenage parties that spill kids out all over the block. We older folks tend to wonder whatever happened to courtesy and consideration for others.
Owning Can Be Better than Renting
If we can afford to keep the house we bought, owning has many benefits. Not the least of them is that no one can kick us out into the street except the taxman and his minions, who are faceless and heartless for the most part. Depending on the state you live in, the taxman can seize, let’s say, a $200,000 home for non-payment of $432 or less in unpaid property taxes. That’s a hypothetical example but widows have been robbed of their homes for owing far, far less than that. Those stories are legion but true, and no one seems to be working on protecting a widow and her property. What has been happening for decades is literally highway robbery under the guise of law. We never actually own our homes even when the mortgage is paid off. In effect, we are leasing from the local government.
If a person moves into a mobile home park, the dangers can be hidden. Not all but most homeowners there have to rent the space the home is set on. Unscrupulous park owners jack up the space rent to a level no retired or widowed person of any age can afford. Ditto for some condo owner associations. The result is even more homelessness among our most vulnerable population. It is a terrifying prospect.
Renting Can Be Better Than Owning
Having someone else responsible for maintenance and repairs to a property can be a godsend to the elderly, especially widows, if landlords are honest and not money-hungry leeches. But the tenant may be responsible for more than expected. Always read the fine print before signing anything. There is also still insurance to pay for but it generally costs less. Check with your insurance agent before moving in, of course.
Do we really want to move right now?
We may decide to stay put until we need assisted living. Will we have funds left to pay for that? Do we have long term care insurance or can we afford its monthly premiums that increase by a huge amount every three years? (This is called inflation adjustment, and we can choose to elect it or not.)
Whenever older persons do move, it’s often to a 55+ community that has at least a modicum of manners and few drunks. I would guess there is nothing more pathetic or even disgusting than a drunken old coot. It doesn’t matter that alcoholism is considered an illness. The rights of other people are just as important. We need you to pass on something of value from your storehouse of knowledge by first getting help when needed, instead of insulting others and trashing your own self-worth.
Make it easy for us to decide where to live, especially when we have to consider that we can no longer tolerate the temperature extremes where we are now.