Opinion: Dear Susi Q

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Martha Hernandez, LCSW, Susi Q’s Director of Care Management. Photo/Susi Q

Dear Susi Q, My wife wants to move across the country to be closer to our grandkids. However, I don’t think it’s a good idea. How can I persuade her to stay here, where we have built a wonderful life?

Martha Hernandez, LCSW, Susi Q’s Director of Care Management, responds: 

Yours is a very valid concern. It can be extremely tempting to want to live closer to one’s adult children and grandchildren. However, it can be a risky move for a variety of reasons. I recently had a case where a couple did exactly that, only to find that their child was transferred to another city within a month of arrival. With house prices the way they are, they couldn’t afford to buy back in Laguna Beach. 

You might want to suggest renting a home in your child’s city for a certain length of time, perhaps three to six months, to get a sense of the community and a realistic assessment of how much time you would actually be able to spend with your grandkids, given the busy, commitment-filled lives that families lead these days. The dream may not be the reality. 

Either way, be sure that you both do your research and evaluate the pros and cons of relocating. That includes affordability, access to medical services and transportation, proximity to social activities that you enjoy, and the suitability of the environment for older adults. 

Might it be possible to increase contact with the grandkids in other ways, perhaps with regular Zoom calls or more frequent visits? 

I’d also offer the caveat that relying on your kids for your happiness isn’t a good idea. This leads to another thought: is your wife’s desire to move possibly a sign of depression? She may not feel fulfilled with retired life, or perhaps feels isolated. At the Susi Q, we have a wonderful program called “Feeling the Blue”s to help older adults with these and similar issues. Individual counselors are available to suggest strategies to cope with the emotional challenges that come with aging. In addition, talking to a professional third party can be helpful when making decisions about major life changes.  

I’d be happy to chat with you or your wife. All calls and communications are completely confidential. My email is [email protected], or call 949.715.8104. You can also visit www.thesusiq.org to learn more about our services to help older adults comfortably – and happily – age in place. 

“Dear Susi Q,” brought to you by nonprofit Laguna Beach Seniors, is intended to provide helpful advice for readers on matters including relationships, retirement, home safety, transportation, mental/physical health, and local entertainment and educational resources. It’s “Dear Abby” for the Laguna Beach crowd. 

Qualified staff, support group leaders, and volunteers stand ready to answer your questions, so please send them to [email protected]. We can’t wait to help. 

No identifying names will ever be used. Some questions, such as today’s, may be a composite of several submitted.  

For more information about Susi Q and Laguna Beach Seniors, visit www.thesusiq.org. 

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