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Big Island The Island of Hawaii
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Old 07-17-2022, 09:26 AM
 
45 posts, read 88,103 times
Reputation: 91

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I'm a 75 year old retiree living in Washington state. I lived overseas most of my adult life in 12 countries as a teacher in international schools. I'm used to that sort of lifestyle. I'm getting very stressed as a retiree reading the news. I like to keep up with what's happening, and the politics here in the US has never been worse IMO.I suppose I could stop reading the news, but that is not going to happen.

I have always flown into Hawaii, mostly Honolulu. on my way to a new school year, and so I am familiar with Oahu. However, the cost there is too high. For the past few months I have been exploring the Big Island of Hawaii online, and perhaps I am being overly optimistic, but the lifestyle there, the ethnic diversity and the natural beauty appeals to me more than ever. My desire is to buy a house or condo in a small town, and live a lifestyle where I walk everywhere, and while I would have a car, I would not need it. I have my first dog in my life, a Lab, and he would share this simple life with me, and perhaps another dog.

I've considered retiring in Costa Rica or Panama, or Portugal, among others, but my Medicare is good (wish everyone had it), and I could use it on the Big Island. Somehow living there is still the US but with the feeling of being it's own culture and removed from the insanity I sometimes see here on the continent.

I'm completely open to anywhere on the Big Island but prefer away from Kona and the tourism there. Rain does not bother me at all, and Hilo seems nice, or anywhere smaller than Hilo.

If you have any thoughts on my plans, I'd appreciate it. I've run the numbers, and the cost of living there is a bit more than where I live not that far from Seattle. Perhaps you moved there for the same reasons.

Thank you.

Rob
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Old 07-17-2022, 10:07 AM
 
Location: Na'alehu Hawaii/Buena Vista Colorado
5,493 posts, read 11,795,045 times
Reputation: 6086
A couple of thoughts:

1. Major consideration is health care. The BI is rural with a relatively small population. Getting good health care is one of the reasons that people return to the mainland. 75 is getting up there in age (I'm the same age, so I speak from personal experience), and even if you are in good health it's the age where more things start to go wrong. We have Kaiser on the BI and while they provide good basic care, we have to either wait months or travel to Oahu for specialized care. I suggest that you research what doctors accept new patients with Medicare.

2. I suggest that you make a visit to the BI since you've never been. Plan to spend at least a week exploring the whole island and learning about the different areas. There are some small towns that are "somewhat walkable", but you'll still need to drive for health care any major shopping beyond the basics. You might consider Hawi or Honoka'a or Mountain View or Pahala or Volcano Village.

There is a lot I love about living in a rural area of the BI -- the nature, the climate, and the people. But it's not for everyone and you have to find out for yourself.
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Old 07-17-2022, 12:00 PM
 
Location: Hawaii Island
31 posts, read 27,615 times
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Let me reinforce the question of medical care. The doctor shortage on the Big Island is severe and worsening. My experience with finding a doctor that was accepting new patients with Medicare a couple years ago was one doctor on the whole island, two hours from where I live. I am lucky now to have a good doctor by membership (doesn't accept health insurance).

The Big Island does have a lot of what you enjoy, but has very few areas that are supportive of a walkable lifestyle. Waimea would be one, where you can live in a safe area and still be walkable to grocery stores. Honokaa is a nice little town with a nice little market. We find we need to drive 90 minutes from the Honokaa area to: do our banking, do a Costco run, buy lumber, visit the dentist, go to the beach.

It's usually a bit of a shock to realize that most of the items you could get in a day or two on the mainland will take three to twelve weeks to get in the middle of the Pacific. If your refrigerator dies, you either buy the $4000 floor model or wait weeks for the model you prefer to be delivered - and that was pre-pandemic timelines. Your Audi needs work -- it may have to be barged to Oahu since service for less common brands has dried up on the Big Island. Internet service is a biggie - the wonderful connection that people on the mainland often take for granted can be hard to find here. Satellite internet, quite common on the Big Island, means no streaming movies, struggling with Zoom calls.... you get the picture.

Be sure you know all the information needed about quarantine requirements for your dog. That's another big moving cost, requiring several months' preparation.

Good luck in your research!
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Old 07-17-2022, 12:31 PM
 
Location: Na'alehu Hawaii/Buena Vista Colorado
5,493 posts, read 11,795,045 times
Reputation: 6086
Quote:
Originally Posted by knit2purl1 View Post
ch.

It's usually a bit of a shock to realize that most of the items you could get in a day or two on the mainland will take three to twelve weeks to get in the middle of the Pacific. If your refrigerator dies, you either buy the $4000 floor model or wait weeks for the model you prefer to be delivered - and that was pre-pandemic timelines. Your Audi needs work -- it may have to be barged to Oahu since service for less common brands has dried up on the Big Island. Internet service is a biggie - the wonderful connection that people on the mainland often take for granted can be hard to find here. Satellite internet, quite common on the Big Island, means no streaming movies, struggling with Zoom calls.... you get the picture.


Good luck in your research!
Good point about shopping. If you want a large appliance, like washing machine or refrigerator from Home Depot or Lowes, they tell you it will take 6-8 weeks for delivery. And that was prior to the current supply chain issues. Friends of ours bought (i.e., paid for) a floor model at Home Depot, and when they went to pick it up they found it had been sold to someone else! When we recently needed a new tv, the only place that we could think of to get one was either WalMart or Costco. We ordered it on line at Costco and they actually delivered to our rural location (which was a big help).
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Old 07-17-2022, 02:07 PM
 
45 posts, read 88,103 times
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The biggest deterrent is the difficulty of Medicare services. I looked online to see if there were any doctors in Hilo that accepted Medicare, and there are none. I would assume that if I moved there I would eventually find a doctor that accepted Medicare, or would that be too optimistic?

The rest of what you mentioned about shopping I was aware of.

Thank you
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Old 07-17-2022, 02:26 PM
 
Location: Juneau, AK + Puna, HI
9,133 posts, read 5,716,580 times
Reputation: 13148
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreaming of Hawaii View Post
... You might consider Hawi or Honoka'a or Mountain View or Pahala or Volcano Village....
Good suggestions, except perhaps Mt. View. It's almost entirely along busy Highway 11.

Hilo and possibly Pahoa would be my picks for OP.

Rob, if you have specific health care issues requiring regular visits to a doctor this could be a problem as the others have mentioned.

Renting first could be advisable, although dog ownership makes this signficantly more difficult.
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Old 07-17-2022, 02:33 PM
 
Location: Na'alehu Hawaii/Buena Vista Colorado
5,493 posts, read 11,795,045 times
Reputation: 6086
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob66 View Post
The biggest deterrent is the difficulty of Medicare services. I looked online to see if there were any doctors in Hilo that accepted Medicare, and there are none. I would assume that if I moved there I would eventually find a doctor that accepted Medicare, or would that be too optimistic?

The rest of what you mentioned about shopping I was aware of.

Thank you
How long can you go without medical care before you find someone that accepts Medicare? Years?
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Old 07-17-2022, 03:03 PM
 
Location: Kahala
11,967 posts, read 16,361,745 times
Reputation: 5987
The poster is 75. It’s a matter of when not if regarding medical care.

Male life expectancy is 79.
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Old 07-17-2022, 04:42 PM
 
Location: Juneau, AK + Puna, HI
9,133 posts, read 5,716,580 times
Reputation: 13148
The hospital ER accepts medicaire. There are plenty of old folks who either have no need or simply don't bother with doctor visits.
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Old 07-17-2022, 05:26 PM
 
Location: On the water.
20,741 posts, read 13,700,164 times
Reputation: 18550
Quote:
Originally Posted by whtviper1 View Post
The poster is 75. It’s a matter of when not if regarding medical care.

Male life expectancy is 79.
And many in both sides of my family tree live mid-90s and up over 100. Without any particularly healthy lifestyle. I’m not aware of a single relative that ever went to assisted living even.

So, unusual as my family may be, average life expectancies aren’t laws of physics. If the poster is healthy and disinclined to doctoring, so be it.
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