Rural Areas May Not Be Your Paradise

Long-time friends have been trying to sell their retirement home in the Texas Hill Country for six months.

They area they live in has beautiful lake scenery with custom built homes all around the lake. That’s the problem. The homes are high end but designed to a specific taste. Most people who want to live in that area want to have their own custom home built so it’s been tough to even find people wanting to look at the house. (They’re using the top realtor in their area.)

The reason they want to move is that the husband has cancer which requires surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. All of these are being done at a major cancer center about a four-hour drive from their house.

That’s the reason for this post. No matter where we want to live, we have to realize that the likelihood of serious medical issues, including orthopedic problems if not cancer or heart disease, increase as we age.

When you’re looking for a retirement area, look at nearby medical facilities. That means more than a local or regional hospital. Those might be fine for routine and common emergencies such as a heart attack, but where would you be treated over a long term for something like cancer? Will you have to drive miles and miles or are you in a place like Houston that has multiple outstanding cancer treatment centers within its city limits?

Not many single women I know are thinking about something as remote as my friends,’ but I do meet single women who have a highly romanticized view of small town or rural area retirements.

Granted, city living can be congested, dangerous, expensive and generally stressful. On the other hand, it can offer facilities for anything you need, public transportation, social services, commercial home aid companies, active senior centers and lots and lots of activities. A safer suburb of a large city could be an ideal retirement location for you.

Smaller and rural areas may be tough for a newcomer, especially a single female one. They can be cliquish even if not intentionally but because so many people have long-standing relationships and relatives they do not think to include newcomers in their plans.

Don’t assume a small city or rural area will be safer. Those areas are hotbeds of illegal drug activities and your neighbors may be extremists of the right or left who fear and distrust anyone outside their small circle. It’s a very different lifestyle to be 45-minutes or more away from any police, fire or ambulance service.

The area you consider for retirement should be accessible year round. If you live in an area that is subject to extreme bad weather, you could be faced with days when you have no one to depend on but yourself.

Consider this a reminder to assess potential retirement areas without the rose-colored glasses. The older you are the more expensive and stressful it is to move. Just ask my friends.