DEAR ABBY: In response to "Contemplating Change in Rhode Island," who is considering retiring with a friend to a city with a warmer climate, she should know that she'll need to be proactive in developing a social network in her new location.
My wife and I also moved far south when we retired. We purchased a house in a "normal" neighborhood instead of a retirement community. But we soon realized that, unlike us, our neighbors had jobs, family responsibilities and little time for us.
Without jobs to occupy our time and give us a framework for social contact, we found ourselves isolated. To solve that problem, we joined organizations and did volunteer work to meet new friends. Our story has a happy ending, but it took some effort to make it happen.
- Mike in Sparks, Nev.
DEAR MIKE: "Contemplating Change" asked if readers had experience moving far away at her age (late 60s). You, and many others, wrote to share overwhelmingly positive feedback:
DEAR ABBY: I want to encourage your Rhode Island reader. Renting first is excellent advice. Research what you want in your new destination. Make sure it's a growing community where transplants will be welcome.
Be outgoing. Join a church, community center or other place to meet people. No one will beat a path to your door or care about your former home. Don't make negative comparisons to locals, and don't cling to your old friend. I'm glad I moved. I now have more diverse friends than ever before. - Retiree in South Carolina
DEAR ABBY: As to a new social community, check out nearby colleges or universities. Many offer programs for creative learning in retirement or something similar. One can make friends with shared interests through classes. Also, find a local "newcomers club."
- Nancy in Asheville, N.C.