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Old 02-04-2015, 07:35 PM
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 18,997,544 times
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So many posts about retirement location focus on climate, climate, climate, and understandably. But one thing that imo is equally important is ease in getting around to all the essentials as we age.

Being in our relatively healthier/stronger times now, a 20- or 30-mile radius within which we can get everything we need may be easily doable, but I can see for myself anyway that as I age I do not want to be running hither and yon, piling miles on the car and sitting so much in driving. If I drive long distances, I want it to be elective, not essential.

We will probably be moving one last time before the nursing home stage. Within my town, almost walkable is a great theater, bookstore, and convenience stores, and a bank and gas station at the end of my street. But the shopping and other needs are far. There was a nice supermarket around the corner till it closed last year. So now we travel 25+ min one way to get to another market. I travel 25 min one way to get to doctor, dentist, mall, and other regular stops. To some folks these may not be great distances, but these distances are on winding roads, not highways, and I am not fond of it all esp in winter.

In seeking a new smaller home in a few years, my first priority is location, location, location—quite near, if not on top of, the places we frequent and things we need, because this place is where we'll spend most of our remaining years.

Is there any place in America where an old(er) person doesn't have to drive more than 5 or 10 min to get everything? Where say a possibly more frail 85-year-old could get everything right in town? I'd like to hear from those who do live in such a town/small city, or who know of one from direct experience. Is anyone else factoring this in to their relocation plan?
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Old 02-04-2015, 08:01 PM
Location: Southern California
372 posts, read 449,055 times
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After many years of looking to figure out where we wanted to retire, and thinking about family and climate, we also realized we need to think about proximity to all the stuff we need in our daily life, as well as how we might get to those places as we age.

Our new location has just about everything we need within 1-2 miles--maybe 5 if I count the hospitals.

Doctors' offices and pharmacies are within 1-2 miles; several grocery stores and 2 farmers' markets, ditto.
Movie theaters are maybe 2 miles away.

Great shopping is 5 miles away.

A favorite Mexican restaurant, grocery store, gas station, vet, and Starbucks are about half a mile away.
Were I so inclined, I could walk if I wanted to. Really, I should :-)

We also have a senior center nearby, we have a local paratransit outfit for getting around if needed, and the local 55+ gated community even has a shuttle for its residents. If a cab service or senior concierge service wouldn't work, we could use those paratransit services. Assisted living and skilled nursing are also very nearby.

The one thing we don't have as close as I'd like is a good airport. The nearest 3 are 50 (Ontario), 60 (John Wayne/Orange County), and 70 (San Diego) miles away. We can go where we want, but it takes time and a jaunt through traffic that we're not used to.

So, yes, those things figured into the choice we made. Thanks for starting this thread. You've made me remember many of the great features that enticed us to move here!
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Old 02-04-2015, 08:08 PM
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,212,814 times
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Well, we will be only a few blocks from all essentials (everything from groceries, pharmacy, restaurants, gas, banks, hair stylist, church) once we move into our townhouse. And there is a bus that stops at our complex and can take us to a drop off location at the grocery store, a few blocks away, and also - a medical transport system that can be used to schedule trips to the hospital or doctor's offices which are less than 1 mi. away.

Also, the pharmacy will deliver meds, but most of ours are mail order, anyway. And the grocery store will also deliver after placing an online order. But we are doing more and more of our shopping via Amazon.com, so that means it doesn't really matter if we can't get out - we can have things brought to us.

We have also ordered online from WalMart and had those items either delivered to us at no charge or we have picked them up no charge at the local WalMart.

So we just don't anticipate much of an issue with getting around, even if we are in wheelchairs.

Our backyard backs up to a beautiful wooded area, with benches (park-like setting), near the pool and club house, and all with paths that will accommodate wheel chairs. We can roll right out the back and enjoy the outdoors.

I enjoy walking but with my back problems - who knows if I will be ambulatory at 85. My parents are, so I am hoping I will be, too, but I don't think I would want to walk and do much of anything, especially if it means carrying groceries or bags with me. Being close to amenities may only mean a short trip for caregivers and friends who are helping out at a future date.

I think this is one reason so many folks decide on a retirement community, as they are often built around a town center complex.
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Old 02-04-2015, 08:13 PM
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,212,814 times
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Goin' Coastal - yes, an airport would be helpful. We were thrilled to find that there is a shuttle service that goes between our new town and the regional airport (well, it is an international airport) which is 55 or so miles away.

Have you checked to see if there is some sort of shuttle service available for your area? It could truly be a godsend - no parking once you get there, either!
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Old 02-04-2015, 08:39 PM
6,545 posts, read 3,102,479 times
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I think the trick is to look for a small town that is self contained but also close to a large metro area and/or one or two cities larger than the one you are in.

Our town is about 30,000 and 7-10 miles from one end to the other. Town itself is about a 5 minute straight shot. There are two main roads through town and anything we need is on one of those roads.

No mall, but there is a local department store similar to Macy's within half a mile. Groceries/drug store/a few restaurants and take out places, bank, gas, at the end of our street where you hit the main drag. Not so great theater around the corner. Brand new one about 10 minutes away.

Hospital is down one main road about 4 miles and almost all doctors are clustered around the hospital which is becoming well known for cardiac care and is fine for routine things and uncomplicated surgeries.

If more specialized medical care is needed, theres an interstate 45 minutes to the large metro area. Theres also more care in two larger towns that are a straight shot on state highways about 20 minutes away. Also, a mall about 15 minutes away in either direction although I rarely go to a mall.

I'm still in my 50's, but my parents are in their 80's and they have no problem going anywhere here to get what they want; also to the two larger towns. They no longer like to drive on the interstate, so if they need to go there we take them. If we weren't available they probably would use the state road that parallels the interstate.

I cant see myself walking for groceries at 85 even if the set up permitted it. I hope that soon they will be available online from the main grocery stores here. But, I could cab this town easily and relatively cheaply if I had to. In reality, this probably wont be our last home and if we get to the point driving is not feasible, I would probably move to an over 55 community or assisted living that had shuttle service. Both of those are available here for later if we need them or we could decide to go somewhere else.
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Old 02-04-2015, 08:41 PM
526 posts, read 510,187 times
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Where are you? What state are you living in?
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Old 02-04-2015, 08:56 PM
Location: Edina, MN, USA
6,956 posts, read 7,401,444 times
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My city of Edina has everything you could want within 15 min, including the Mall of America. From 1/2 - 2 miles I have 3 major grocery stores, multiple (6) movie theater, the first indoor shopping mall in MN (big), many smaller boutique shops, the best furniture store, many medical offices including a major hospital, a new heart clinic and lots of good restaurants and the Intl airport is 20 min. Downtown Edina is 5 min and downtown Mpls is 15-20 min. I have 3 city lakes within 5-15 min.

The Mayo Clinic is 90 min.

Now for that climate, climate climate.
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Old 02-04-2015, 09:04 PM
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I'm sure they exist.
I live in a smallish town (35K) that's an exurb to a large Texas city. Within walking distance of my home:
- 2 supermarkets
- 4 banks, including the one we use
- A Walgreen, Eckerd's, a locally owned pharmacy, and a compounding pharmacy
- several dentists (altho mine is a 20-min. drive away)
- several doctors (including my gyn; our family doctor is a 10-min drive away)
- our optometrist
- 2 walk-in clinics
- our community hospital
- 2 churches
- fire station
- 2 small department stores
- Lowe's
- movie theatre
- a golf course
- several restaurants (mostly chain places), a doughnut shop, and a couple of Starbucks.
- The Assisted Living Center where my MIL resides

All of the above are within about 1.5 miles, easily walkable as we have good sidewalks and crossing lights. Or they're within a 5-minute drive.
Within a 5-15 minute drive (on local surface roads, not interstate) is just about everything else we could possibly want, including several really good locally-owned restaurants, a Costco, and retail shopping sufficient to meet all our needs.
What we don't have is regular public transportation. There is a transit service.
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Old 02-04-2015, 10:11 PM
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,759,876 times
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This whole deal is pretty easy, it seems to me. Many large supermarkets have residential streets a couple of blocks away. And most of the time, a large supermarket will have other retail establishments immediately adjacent and/or very near (banks, barber shops, etc.). So all one has to do is get a place on one of those residential streets close to a supermarket which has other associated businesses close by.

That describes my townhouse, which I bought 14 years ago without even realizing how convenient the location is. Within easy walking distance (one mile), I have:

A large supermarket open from 6 A.M. to 2 A.M.
Several barber shops
Several banks
Over a dozen restaurants
Two pharmacies
A multiplex cinema (alas, not an art house)
An auto club office
Two copy shops
A pretty good library
A post office
A fire station
A large gym
A car dealership of my brand
Several dentists
A dry cleaners
An alteration shop (tailor)
A tire dealer
A senior center (which I've never been to)
A camera shop
A bus line that goes to downtown L.A.

It would be easier to list what is more than a mile away, but still pretty close:

Auto parts stores (about three miles)
Home Depot (about two miles)
My own doctor's office (about 6 miles)
Art house cinema (about 4 miles)
Walt Disney Concert Hall (L.A. Philharmonic and L.A. Master Chorale) about 10 miles
Major clothes shopping (about 3 miles to a Kohl's or a Target, neither of which I care for)
Major trauma center hospital (about 3 or 4 miles)

Over 90% of my grocery shopping trips I make on foot. Yes, I have to make more trips that way but it's only five to six minutes one-way by foot and I enjoy walking.
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Old 02-04-2015, 10:39 PM
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
7,330 posts, read 4,176,914 times
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Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
Is there any place in America where an old(er) person doesn't have to drive more than 5 or 10 min to get everything? Where say a possibly more frail 85-year-old could get everything right in town? I'd like to hear from those who do live in such a town/small city, or who know of one from direct experience. Is anyone else factoring this in to their relocation plan?
Omaha. You can get from the far western edge of the city to the Missouri River in about 30 minutes. Where I am now, I can get everything I need in a 10-15 minute drive (and not on freeways, just lower-speed roads). The climate isn't great, but the convenience can't be beat. I'm in the early stages of retirement planning, and I'm really torn between moving somewhere warm and less stormy versus staying here and either buying a condo unit in a lovely new high-rise building that's walking distance to a good grocery store and right on a bus line or renting an apartment in a senior living complex that's got transportation services available.
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