We received word last night of something that happens far too often among aging adults. A widowed family member knew she needed to relocate near one of her children, and was very agreeable to such a move "when the time came" that she needed more help. She was convinced she would know when the time was right for such a move. Wrong. The time came last evening and she was not where she needed to be. Now it will be up to her sons to make the decisions. Over and over, all across American this happens.
We hear a lot about planning our retirement years. Generally we're encouraged to downsize from the family home, find an exciting place we've always dreamed about, and move there. You've seen the ads, wonderful golfing, tennis, and all the rest. Some couples fulfill their dreams by full-time RV living and travel. That's all good for a number of years and then what happens? Oops, no plans.
When age related health issues develop and they can no longer play golf every day, or travel in their RV they often find they have a problem. They aren't living in communities near doctors, hospitals and all the things they need close by.
When our children were young, and Bob and I were working, we bought a home in a neighborhood and stayed there thirty years. That was the right decision for our family at that time in our life.
When I was a year out from retirement I looked around my neighborhood and realized I would stagnate in that environment. I needed more stimulation. I began to read and think. We are native Texans but Texas was not a good fit for me. It was a good fit for Bob, anywhere is a good fit for Bob.
Our son, his wife, and son (only grandchild) live in Hillsboro, Oregon. The first time I visited Oregon I knew this was where I was meant to be. In 2004 we sold our home and moved to Oregon. Best decision we ever made.
As an only child caring for my aging parents I learned the things I did not want to put on my children. When I retired I set about to make sure we had our business in order.
I did not want to leave a house for them to clean out and dispose of that we'd lived in for 30 or 40 years collecting 'stuff.' I wanted to travel light through the rest of my life uninhibited by material 'stuff.'
I never wanted to own property again. I hated owning a house. I wanted to be able to move easily if the need arose. Bob's health was not good and he wasn't up to the work it takes to maintain a house.
That's two stages in life. Now we're entering a third. One of us will eventually be left alone. What happens then?
This is the plan. Bob can handle very little stress these days. As long as he lives we will stay right where we are, convenient to doctors, the hospital and all the stores we need. We're in a good location.
Should I be the one left I will make changes. Bob is 84 and I will soon be 74. I would like to live in a high rise. Bob would hate a high rise. I want to live where I don't need a car. That's unthinkable for Bob. I want to have my groceries delivered. Bob hates that idea. You get the picture.
My point is people stop short when making retirement plans if they don't consider the second stage of retirement. Very few people have the same needs at 65 that they have at 90.