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Jul. 30 2010 - 8:53 am | 3,198 views | 0 recommendations | 21 comments

Moving Mom & Dad — Abroad

Scotney Castle, Lamberhurst,  Kent

Image by Lincolnian (Brian) via Flickr

Retirement village? Assisted living? Co-housing? Age-restricted or aging-in-place communities? Inter-generational cooperative? This space has explored many of the growing varieties of housing choices for boomers and elders when the time comes to downsize, rightsize, clear out or economize. Here’s a new one that’s making the news: think global.

Even with (and sometimes because of) today’s grim economy, increasing numbers of Americans are choosing senior housing overseas. Some are returning to former homes in countries with lower costs or better health care, some are finding bargain housing in inexpensive areas where they have friends or a support community.

But many are just making housing in another country life’s last great adventure.

According to Boomers Abroad, an ambitious online community/social network, the number of Americans and Canadians living abroad, already about 7 million, is expected to double and then some within the next 10 years — and you’re invited to join them. The site links to the top five locales listed in the just-released September/October issue of  AARP The Magazine the best of what Mexico, France, Panama, Portugal and Italy have to offer—”castles, palm trees, rain forests, grilled lobster—in their unique and unparalleled retirement experiences. ”


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  1. collapse expand

    it sounds like it would not be hard to find a country with a better health care system than the usa to retire in

  2. collapse expand

    Hi Fran – I hope to find you elsewhere after today. My last comments to you were stuck in limbo as escalating business and family pressures made my free-time choices narrower. And now it is down to the last day with T/S, a site I felt had a partnership with in an outer orbit way. Recently I checked into Uruguay, a very stable South American country with beaches, great living conditions, but, alas, a twenty four hour plane ride. Couldn’t stand being away from my grandson and SoCal is very beautiful. Tom Medlicott

  3. collapse expand

    Ms. Johns,

    I don’t know, while it is undeniable cheaper to live in Costa Rica than the US if you are retired and earning US dollars, I would have a hard time being so far from friends and family that I have known my whole life.

    Good Luck to you…

    Happy trails to you, until we meet again.
    Happy trails to you, keep smilin’ until then.
    Who cares about the clouds when we’re together?
    Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather.
    Happy trails to you, ’till we meet again.

    Some trails are happy ones,
    Others are blue.
    It’s the way you ride the trail that counts,
    Here’s a happy one for you.

    Happy trails to you, until we meet again.
    Happy trails to you, keep smilin’ until then.
    Who cares about the clouds when we’re together?
    Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather.

    Happy trails to you, ’till we meet again.

  4. collapse expand

    Costa Rica, France, Italy for retirement? Sounds pretty good except when one finds that one forgoes Medicare (besides old friends and family). We are oldish and live part of the year in Berlin. Because of a major medical situation hanging over us it’s impossible to get insurance and so every day is a gamble…medically. If a medical crises arises we are in deep trouble financially, even though medical costs are much lower here. What is your answer to the medical roulette one is forced to play?

  5. collapse expand

    sorry, I meant nothing bad about people who live abroad or know what they are doing, but some sites and news outlets are painting a rosy picture. Telling folks who have never been overseas to go and live like kings etc.
    Internatonal living is really pushing real estate in places like Belize and Ecuador which will be challenging to middle class Americans

  6. collapse expand


    I would love to chat about your “Cohousing: Not your grandmother’s commune” article. Please contact me at charles.durrett@cohousingco.com.



  7. collapse expand

    aarp is a devil is a devil it supports obama care why too steal money that will be forced out of people too buy his eligal health care debacle indiana has a plan that works for the poor . where is his promise that he would reform medicare>alie no reform cap antrade a money grab wake us send him real snail mail to wake him up PLEASE

  8. collapse expand

    the joke is we all see reality / contiune the TAX cuts there a lot of companys not hiring because of obama health care their afraid of whatit will cost them so cash flow is kept idle
    no hires’ cap an trade will kill america oh what will be my tax bill not hiring. because of obama now he want to tax the rich that pay 70percent of the tax bill more? clueless clean up the rip off people on social security an medicade

  9. collapse expand

    Nice article. Very sensitive and informative.

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  10. collapse expand

    It is pleasure a going through your post. I have bookmarked you to check out new stuff from your side.

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  11. collapse expand

    I was recently in Costa Rica, on business, and was surprised to find there are almost 100,000 Americans living there. No property tax, no income tax, free health care, and a government that leaves them alone certainly makes it appealing. There are over 6.6 million Americans living at least semi permanently overseas. With what’s going on here it’s tempting.

  12. collapse expand

    Great article Fran, where I’m living now (McAllen, Texas — here’s a link to the local paper http://www.themonitor.com/) is just miles north for the US/Mexican border and has virtually unlimited land and low-cost labor.

    It’s a servant class society that is undergoing rapid transformation. Your article has just affirmed in my mind that some of our existing, struggling, communities in the USA could be become meccas for those trying to retire with dignity.

    Btw, are you on twitter?

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    About Me

    I’ve been a writer since probably before you were born: newspapers, magazines, trade publications and websites beginning with Beliefnet.com’s start-up issue. Working as a hospice volunteer and with AIDS groups led to a 1999 book Dying Unafraid (still in print and apropos) and more involvement with end-of-life causes. This is how to end any cocktail party conversation: “I write a lot about end-of-life issues.” So with Boomers and Beyond I’m working backwards and sideways and wherever concerns of these generations lead. I grew up in beautiful downtown Ashland, VA) and migrated through Atlanta eventually to San Francisco where I live with my final husband, Bud (my college Senior Dinner Dance date before we lost track of each other for 37 years.) Manhattan/Asheville/Atlanta kids, parents of my five flawless grandchildren, keep me attuned to Boomerhood. Full rather braggadocio disclosure: the Manhattan daughter Sandy is married to T/S super-contributor Miles O’Brien.

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