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Old 04-06-2022, 04:19 PM
11 posts, read 5,950 times
Reputation: 36


I live in Toledo, and I work in home healthcare: serving clients who are either disabled or dying, who are often also elderly. I would like to share some comments, based upon my experiences.

Toledo or Cleveland?

The original post asked for opinions about choosing to relocate to either Toledo or Cleveland. Toledo is a small city; Cleveland is a medium city. According to the US Census (2020): Toledo’s metro area has about 600,000 people, and Cleveland’s metro area has about 1.6 million people. Cleveland is about 3 times bigger than Toledo. Thus, while Toledo offers some nice amenities, Cleveland has more and better amenities.

Because of their different sizes, it’s kind of like comparing apples to oranges when comparing Toledo to Cleveland. Instead, you might want to compare Toledo and Cleveland to similarly sized cities. For example, you might want to compare Toledo to Dayton, Ohio or to Fort Wayne, Indiana; and your might want to compare Cleveland to Cincinnati or Pittsburgh.

Economically, Toledo is like a mini-Detroit. It’s a post-industrial, rust-belt city which has (so far) mostly failed to reinvent its economy. There is a lot of poverty here. However, that makes it a very affordable place to live: if you have a middle class income or better. Cleveland, in contrast, has reinvented its economy somewhat; it has more to offer, but the cost of living can be higher too.

Geographically, Toledo is relatively compact; you can drive pretty much anywhere in Toledo within 30 minutes. Cleveland is more spread out, and it can be a longer distance to travel somewhere inside the city. With the recent (March 2022) price of gas over $4 / gallon, travel distance can be an important consideration. (Toledo has an adequate bus service for public transportation, but it does not have a train system like Cleveland; and you can get cold and wet while waiting for the bus.)

Culturally, the people in both Toledo and Cleveland are friendly and salt-of-the-earth Midwesterners. Both cities have a fair amount of cultural and religious diversity. Sadly, both cities also have serious racial and ethnic tensions. Also sad, but typical anywhere in America, both cities have problems with crime: especially drugs, and the violence etc which follow. Both cities have a strong blue-collar, industrial basis; but both cities have an intellectual side too, and Ohio has a noteworthy public library system and plenty of colleges and vocational schools. Both cities are sports towns: Cleveland has its own major league teams, while Toledo has minor league and college teams.

Essential Questions

The essential questions for this topic are (1) Is a person preparing generally for old age, and (2) Can a person afford to deal with winter in Toledo or Cleveland?

That is because the original poster and at least two others reported :
-- they are in late middle age,
-- they are considering where to move to finish their careers and to settle into retirement,
-- they are planning in advance for their old age,
-- they are considering moving either to Toledo or Cleveland.

(1) Is a person preparing generally for old age?

Planning for old age, like so many things in life, is a question of needs versus wants.

When you get old (which starts for most people sometime around age 70), you might still WANT amenities like shopping, dining, parks, sports, arts and entertainment, etc.

However, for your health and safety, here is what you will NEED: You should have a home that is all on one level: with no stairs or split-levels (to reduce fall-risk). Likewise, you should have an entrance to your home without stairs: either on the first floor, or with an elevator to take you to an upper floor. Your home should have reasonable security measures against intruders. You should live someplace where you or the staff can easily remove snow and sprinkle salt on the ice during winter. You should have all indoor appliances (including laundry) and within easy reach. Your home should have doors and rooms that can accommodate the use of a cane, a walker, or a wheelchair: especially the bathroom. You should have safety devices deployed as needed throughout your home (for example: handles next to the toilet and next to the shower/tub, and a shower chair or bench, etc.). Your home should be located within a 15 minute drive of most necessary goods and services: including the grocery story, the pharmacy, and a hospital. You should downsize your possessions (to cut down on clutter and fall-risk). You should have some people whom you trust living nearby who will help you with managing your affairs and who will check on you. If you live alone, you should have a “Life-Alert” kind of button that you wear like a necklace and which you can press to call for first responders. You should also have a cell phone that you know how to operate. You will need adequate healthcare resources (insurance, doctors, prescriptions, etc.). You will need a safe neighborhood with an adequate police force: because, sadly, old people can be easy targets to criminals. You will need adequate transportation: especially when you are no longer able to drive yourself. While you are still living at home, you should explore options for long term care facilities: in case a time comes when you can no longer live safely in your own home. You also should put your affairs in order, in preparation for your death. None of this means giving up on living or enjoying life; it means responsible planning for your future and for your loved ones.

(2) Can a person afford to deal with winter in Toledo or Cleveland?

We do have winter here in Ohio. There is less snow and ice in Toledo than in Cleveland (because Cleveland gets more moisture from Lake Erie). Nevertheless, both Toledo and Cleveland can have cold winters, especially in January and February.

Most older people easily feel cold, as their bodies slow down while they age. Winter therefore can be a challenge to them. There is the cost of heating one’s home during the winter in order to feel warm enough. There is also the increased risk of falls and other accidents due to ice and snow. Many older people also feel miserable due to the cold itself: aches and pains, especially in their joints; and this is often exacerbated by a humid climate (like in Ohio).

As a result, older people in Toledo and Cleveland must pay in order to live in a warm and safe environment during the winter. This can be challenging during retirement and while living on a fixed income. Or else, they need to move (temporarily during the winter, or permanently): to a place which has milder winters.


If you have the money (middle class income or more) to provide for safety and warmth, then people can successfully finish their careers and retire in either Toledo or Cleveland. In that case, the question becomes one of lifestyle: a small city versus a medium city. I agree with one of the comments already posted: Maumee is an affordable, quiet, and safe suburb of Toledo; and it is one of northwest Ohio's best kept secrets.

However, if you have limited financial means, or if winter just doesn’t agree with you, then I recommend looking elsewhere than Toledo or Cleveland for retirement. I don’t mean any disrespect to either city. It’s a simple fact: harsh winters are riskier and more expensive and more unpleasant for older people, and both Toledo and Cleveland can have harsh winters. Instead, I recommend examining cities with mild winters that also are safe and affordable.
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