Seniors: Choosing to Relocate Abroad

Feb 5th, 2011 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

The other day this column looked at the issues related to senior citizens relocating within the continental United States.  Today, we turn to the consideration of moving to another country, a different cullture, an unfamiliar territory.

The first and most consuming question is where.  Where would you want to consider living and in what kind of socio-economic-cultural environment?  Language, of course, will be an important issue.  Communicating, speaking the language rank high in appreciation for where ever one chooses to live. Governmental and political stability are of course major matters. No time is a good time to be in countries where discord is high.   And, in some countries the rumblings are such that while things seem peaceful on the surface, a major disruption may occur in short order. 

Homework is the key to exploring available options.  Listing the considerations, such as the ones here, will  help get you started.  And, there is no means for information more helpful than that available by way of the Internet.
 

  • Do you have support of your family for such a move?  Although they may not have veto power, the support of your loved ones weighs in on this question.
  • Are you prepared for the contrast in living style by moving to another country?  Check the country out on the Internet; find what descriptions are available for senior citizen lifestyle in that country; find what others describe as the pros and cons of living there.
  • Are you aware of the cultural, political, social, economic climate that exist in that country?  Again, check out what news reports are available on the Internet.  This is the most reliable source of information that is current.
  • Are you in a positiion financially to support such a move?  Create a budget for the move and expenses for the first year to determine if you are able to manage it financially.
  • What will it take to live in another country, cost of living issues as an example?  A good way to take a look at this is to walk through what you think would be a typical day and week in that country.  Such an exercise gives you the option to evaluate how you would be able to handle the differences.
  • What are transportation considerations?  Will you have your own vehicle?  Is public transportation available?
  • What would be your need to return to the US and with what frequency?  Do you have the funds set aside for that purpose?
  • What medical support and needs will you require?  Will they be available?  Do you have medical insurance for treatment outside the United States?  What medical services are available in the country/area where you want to live?
  • What innoculations will be necessary?  The US State Department website provides requirements for most countries.
  • Will your home abroad be a desirable place for members of your extended family to visit?  Will you have space to accommodate them, or will they need to secure rooms in nearby hotels?
  • What are the kinds of things in this location that will occupy your time and interests?  Again, do the ‘typical day’ exercise to be sure the local resources meet your needs.
  • What are the restrictions on the amount of time you may live there, if any?  Use the Internet to get the answers to this question.
  • Is the climate such as you feel you would be comfortable and satisfied with your choice?  Take a look at the weather charts available on a gazillion websites.
  • When you decide, if you decide, to return to the States, what will be involved?
  • If there is an emergency, requiring your return, what will be necessary for your return?  How can you travel quickly should the need arise?
  • Should you maintain your home in the US, while you are away? Will you rent or lease it?  Who will be in charge of any maintenance and repairs?
  • Do you know anyone who has moved abroad who could offer counsel based on their experience?  Ask friends.  Check around.  Again check what others on the Internet say about the area where you want to move.

And, so it goes.  While it may seem romantic to travel to far away places, much research is smart and necessary to be sure to lay to rest any serious considerations.  Even at that, there will likely be matters to surface that will expose other questions worth asking.   Making a trip to the country of choice is an absolute must.  Do not jump in the middle of the ocean; start from the shore.  Be sure you both (assuming there are two of you) share your intuitions, thoughts, concerns as you explore the possibilities.  Once you are comfortable with most of your questions having been addressed, take your time to ruminate so that you will feel entirely assured with your choice and decision.  If you discover that you get cold feet, delay it a while until the weather changes.  It is better to have asked, explored and decided no than to wish you had.



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