Who doesn’t love reading real estate listings? It’s fun to dream, and lists of the “best places to retire” are fodder for the imagination.
However, you shouldn’t rely on such lists when deciding where to retire. Your own best-of list has to take your own life and particular needs into account. That is something no one but you can do.
Enjoy those lists, but keep digging before you go. These questions can help you decide if a place will really work for your retirement, now and in the future:
1. Who will help care for me?
Most older people require help eventually, and many need a lot of assistance.
Of course, no one wants to burden children or friends. But, in reality, loved ones often must step up when elders need care.
So, make things easier for your kids and be realistic when you make a move. Adult children who are holding down jobs and rearing children will be severely burdened if they must travel long distances to help elderly loved ones.
2. Is good medical care nearby?
Living longer usually means living with a chronic disease. About 80 percent of older adults have at least one chronic disease, the nonprofit National Council on Aging. And 77 percent of older Americans have two or more.
With age, medical tests become more frequent. So do visits to specialists like oncologists, cardiologists, pulmonologists and orthopedists. Managing a chronic condition well — avoiding hospital stays and emergency room visits — requires easy access to care you trust.
The joys of living in a scenic but remote retirement mecca are diminished if you have to drive hundreds of miles — frequently — for expert care. So again, consider not only what you need today but what you’ll need in the future.