The things that drive the decisions about where to live in retirement have little to do with glossy brochures about nearby theaters and bike paths and much to do with where your family and friends are.
Age in Place or Start Over Somewhere Else?
Where and who are your support system? What keeps you engaged and active? Church? Gardening? Boating? Cards? Book club? Tim Horton’s every Wednesday for coffee? Whatever it is, moving out of the area means starting over with new social groups. Sure, you will share conversations with those your age regardless of location, but it can take time to develop rapport and trust so as to discuss really personal matters. Even moving as little as an hour from where you used to live means loosening ties with current friends and events. On the other hand, friends and activities may be a lower priority than access to children and grandchildren. There can be great value to moving closer to family, especially if you are lucky enough to live into your late 80’s and 90’s. As the “go-go years” turn into the “no-go years” the decision becomes easier.
Relationships, relationships, relationships!
Primarily, living well at any age means frequent and meaningful interaction with those you care about and who care about you. Wherever those life-giving folks are (whether near or far) will probably be the deciding factor.