3 Questions to Ask When Looking for a Retirement Destination

3 Questions to Ask When Looking for a Retirement DestinationAre you thinking of settling into San Diego for your golden years? San Diego is a worthy option for your golden years. From mountains to beaches, the area has a little bit of everything for everyone. If you’re considering making San Diego your retirement spot, Rock Your Retirement wants to help ensure you make a good choice. Here are a few questions to think about to help guide your decision-making.

What kind of community will you live in?

Seniors have many options when it comes to living arrangements. Some seniors choose to age-in-place and will need to make a few home modifications as suggested by Geriatric Medicine — like installing non-slip flooring and grab bars to protect against falls — to make their home as safe as possible. Other seniors may decide to live in a retirement community, where they can be social and worry less about their needs. If this sounds like your cup of tea, there are lots of options — but the two most common communities are assisted living and independent living.

In an independent living community, you may have a private condo in a building with common spaces and special services and amenities. If your health is a concern, an assisted living center might be a better choice in the long run. Here you’ll get more specialized care with everyday activities like bathing, dressing, and taking medications while still maintaining a level of independence.

What do you want to spend your days doing?

San Diego is a city that is bursting with vibrant life. The city offers options for art, music, shopping, theatre, cuisine, and cultural exploration. Visit the Gaslamp Quarter for history and the arts, La Jolla for snorkeling, Little Italy for craft beer, and world-class chefs. Sports lovers can hit the links at Torrey Pines or watch racing at Del Mar. From museums to hiking, there is a little something for everyone to savor.

But you don’t have to take our word for it. Experience the opportunities yourself by staying in a San Diego vacation rental, such as through TurnKey. You can get the lay of the land by staying in one of the city’s many unique neighborhoods and get a feel for what it will be like living in one of the neighborhoods, finding your niche among its diverse and friendly residents.

When is the right time to make a decision?

There is a lot to think about when making retirement plans. It’s important to zero in on the things that matter most to you and prioritize your needs and wants. Before you move consider:

  • Proximity to family. Do you have young grandkids you want to help raise? Some seniors like the idea of giving their family some space and becoming a vacation destination.
  • Cost of living (especially on a fixed income). Is San Diego a place you can afford with your savings, 401k, Social Security benefits, and any other income you can expect to pull in?
  • Healthcare services. Does San Diego offer the right kind of doctors and facilities for your current and potential healthcare needs? If you aren’t sure, assess your family history and current health. Start making lifestyle changes now — like getting sufficient sleep, getting more exercise, and eating more fruits and vegetables — to make health concerns less of a challenge for retirement.
  • Downsizing challenges. Will the items in your home all fit into a new space or will you need to downsize? Downsizing can be a bittersweet process for many seniors, as Mymove points out. Take it slow, and with manageable steps over time so you aren’t feeling rushed on making a decision about what stays and what goes.

Living in San Diego can be a thrilling adventure, especially for people over 65. Whether you love the city life or the great outdoors, San Diego is a place where you can have a little — or a lot — of both. Know your retirement priorities and immerse yourself in San Diego life to get a good idea of your options.

Connect with Rock Your Retirement for more tips and advice that will help make your golden years shine!

As a senior herself, Sharon Wagner understands that an older body and mind impacts the daily lives of many seniors. She created SeniorFriendly.info to offer advice geared specifically toward seniors to help them make healthier choices and enjoy their golden years.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!Can you believe it is finally 2021!  

Looking back on this past year, it is hard to believe that we’ll ever forget it.  Will it become a distant memory or will we always remember this as the year of the pandemic?  In the future, will we think of it as a major historic event, like 9-11 in 2001 or the “crash” and worldwide economic downturn of 2008? There have been so many changes for all of us.  Some are temporary but others may be a bit more permanent.

After this, I think employers will have to consider giving more choices.  In the future, I imagine it will become standard practice to allow more employees to work from home, especially now that we have shown we can do it.  I wonder if the idea to convert all the empty office spaces into more housing will catch on. Encouraging people to work and live where they want to could reduce commutes and eliminate some of the traffic jams that were a regular occurrence before the pandemic.

How will health care and education change?  Will we be able to travel, go to restaurants and bars, attend a sporting event or a concert in the same ways we did before? I really hope so, but somehow I think it won’t be the same.  I remember that we used to be able to say goodbye to someone at the gate in the airport, we could wear jewelry and shoes and there was no such thing as a security line.  We never went back to the way it was before.  Could it be that we’ll have a rapid test for the virus before we can get on and off planes?

Everything seems to be different.  For the first time in many years, we are not skiing in Eastern Washington on New Years Day with our friends.  We are staying home and spending time with two of our four grandkids.  Since we are being hit with a major winter storm, which means lots of wind and rain, instead of sliding down the mountain, we’ll be reading books, playing with Christmas toys, putting together puzzles, and baking a cake.

I’ve never been a big New Year’s resolution person.  I can keep something up for a few weeks, but by February I usually forget whatever it was I resolved to do.  If it is not a habit by then, nothing will change.

But for 2021 I thought about some words and phrases I want to focus on.  These are my Top 10 big ideas that I hope to implement at the beginning of my retirement season.  Instead of trying to plan everything out in detail – I’ve “resolved” to see what happens and stay flexible.  Instead of a resolution, I’ll never keep, I’m printing my Top 10 list and sticking it on my bathroom mirror.  As I begin each new day, I’ll read these to remind myself, at least for a few months, to think about these things:

1. Be open to new possibilities

2. Care for others

3. Embrace Change

4. Be Patient

5. Look for the Good

6. Reconnect with old friends and family

7. Don’t be in a hurry

8. Remember “Every day is Saturday”

9. Make new friends

10. Find joy in simple pleasures

Whether you are considering retirement, retiring this year, or are already retired – I wish you all the best in 2021!  I hope you will “Rock Your Retirement!” Happy New Year!


MilestonesI’ve been thinking about milestones this week.  Our lives can have many different milestones.  When we start kindergarten, graduate from high school, college, leaving home for the first time, starting work, getting married, or having kids, all of these are considered milestones that mark a life event.

Milestones were stones placed beside a road to mark the distance in miles between destinations. Today, we use the term to describe a significant event in our life or an important change in the stage of development of a person.  We are all familiar with “childhood” and “adulthood” Maybe instead of calling this next stage, “retirement” a better term could be “elderhood.”  Although that makes me feel old!

Just this week, I noticed I reached several milestones:

My husband and I made it through 2020 and thankfully, so far, we haven’t been exposed to the virus.

My daughter in law, a registered nurse for a heart surgeon received her first of two Covid vaccines.

I made all of the calls to the agencies, offices, and places I can think of to get information and all my questions answered.

I’ve analyzed, considered, and made all of the financial decisions that I think I need to make, at least for now.

Since I won’t have the same insurance coverage after I retire, I completed an annual exam, mammogram, bloodwork, bone scan, skin cancer check, dental cleaning, replacement of some old fillings with two crowns, and had my vision checked.  (Fortunately, I don’t need bodywork like getting a hip or knee replaced.)

This week I applied to our state retirement system and I submitted my application with a real date.  I “pushed” the button and the only thing left to do is to send in a copy of my husband’s birth certificate.

I counted how many “working days” I have left – something I never expected to do.  There are 48 by the way.

All of these “milestones” are making things more real and it feels really official.  In less than 90 calendar days I’ll join the ranks of those who have reimagined their life. I’ll give up the friends I’ve made, regular contact with my colleagues, a title, benefits, and a wage.

Sometimes I get nervous and ask myself, should I be retiring in the middle of a pandemic?  I also wonder what I’ll be doing every day after I’m no longer employed.

How will be both adjust to me being retired?  When my husband retired three years ago, he said it took him about a year to get used to his new way of life.  Now he is wondering what will need to change for him, in terms of his activities and schedule, when I retire.

I think since a big retirement party is currently out of the question, my next milestone will be to turn in my badge, keys, and computer equipment.  There really isn’t much more to do.

So this is Christmas?

So this is Christmas?Travel restrictions, mandates for smaller groups, quarantines, no in-person church – this is the holiday season that wasn’t.  But at least we finally have a vaccine now!  It just wasn’t quite in time to make Christmas, well, Christmas.

Nothing is the way it has always been for our family this year.

I’m wondering if celebrating Christmas in July, like the Hallmark Channel did last summer will make more sense.  At least we can be outside.  Maybe by next summer, this will all be a distant dream and the pain will be less sharp.  A little like childbirth, you know it hurts but time dims the memory.

This year instead of gathering with lots and lots of people, we quarantined and so did our kids and grandkids.  This way at least six of us can be together.  Our 35+ family members will stay in their own homes and we won’t see aunties, uncles, cousins, and second cousins.

For this year, it will only be my son, daughter-in-law, and two of our four grandkids, plus three dogs. We’ll be quietly playing games, doing puzzles, and enjoying a simple meal instead of the crazy “hen house” we usually experience. 

A year from now, hopefully by the end of 2021, we can have a blow out of a holiday. I have to admit that without Christmas parties, traveling the roads, and gathering together it just doesn’t feel the same.

Last year we were in Oregon and we went to my daughter and son-in-laws’ Christmas Eve church service.  It is called Candles and Carols.  After prayer, worship, and guest musicians, the best part of the night is when they darken the church to pitch black.  Then each person is given a tiny little candle.  In the front of the church, the pastor’s grandkids begin to light a candle at the ends of each row.  In just a few moments the darkness departs and the church is lit by candlelight, each one of us holding aloft our little tiny candles.  Then we all sing Silent Night, a cappella.

This year, her church sent out “Christmas Eve in a box.”  My sweet daughter sent a box to her brother where we will spend the night.  Each box has a set of candles and a devotion. It won’t be the same, but on Christmas Eve at least we can have the light of Christmas, say a prayer for the new year, and light our little candles.

Next year will be so much sweeter when we can all be together again.  Merry Christmas!



Winter Solstice

Winter SolsticeI’ve decided that the day I experienced for Winter Solstice on December 21st is like a picture of 2020.  The day included high hopes and dreams, canceled plans, lots of turbulence, and broken records.

My plan was to see the once in a lifetime Christmas Star.   https://www.keloland.com/news/local-news/photos-jupiter-saturn-and-the-christmas-star/.  I would take a walk in my little town along the path near the river which would be lined with hundreds of luminaries.  It would be a beautiful quiet moment to reflect on the year that was past and contemplate the year to come.  

But so much for hopes and dreams! After all, it is 2020 and I should have known better than to plan on anything!

The day before, a broken 35-year-old water service line meant digging up over 400 feet of our front, side, and backyard with a backhoe and installing new pipes.  Never mind the cost of the plumber, it will take months this summer to restore the grass.  We have a muddy mess to clean up.

My high hopes for my winter solstice walk were dashed when the monsoon-like rains started.  We had nearly 2 inches of rain that day.  The ditches were overflowing, there were puddles everywhere, our drainage systems overloaded.  With a high of 57 degrees and the freezing level rising to 6000 feet (our local mountain pass is at 4000 feet) all the snow our ski resorts had received the last two weeks, started melting.  Flood warnings were issued in the valley for our local rivers.  Landslides were predicted by our emergency managers because the soils were saturated on the hillsides.  Lovely!

Then the winds started blowing with gusts that toppled trees in our neighborhood. I reluctantly decided that I wouldn’t try to drag my tired husband to the cute little event downtown.  He had spent the entire day before working in a ditch and on a tractor helping to fix our leaking pipes.  He said, “You go ahead, have a ball!”  Ahhh no, I think I’ll pass.

Feeling a bit disappointed that evening, I grabbed a “summer beach novel” made some hot tea, and sat by the fire to escape.  The temperature dropped rapidly from the warmth of the afternoon.  Incredibly, in just an hour the weather went from warm to freezing.   On top of all of the rain, we suddenly had ice and two inches of snow!  Okay, 2020 – knock it off!  We don’t need any more broken records.

Well if that wasn’t enough, with the weight of the ice and snow on the power lines….you guessed it.  The power went out.  At this point, I gave up on all my plans for the winter solstice of 2020. I grabbed my flashlight, went upstairs, and was in bed by 8 p.m.

The next morning, the skies cleared a little but the snow remained.  I keep realizing what a crazy year this has been.  Why would it end any differently?

Beyond Oyster Dome

Beyond Oyster DomeLast weekend when I wanted to hike, my husband didn’t want to do any climbing so we stayed on the level path near the river and were rewarded with views of the mountains.  This past weekend we had unseasonably warm weather (for December) and it was 58 degrees and sunny.

I convinced him to grab a backpack, put on some hiking boots, and head to Oyster Dome, where I had wanted to go the weekend before.  This is a great winter hike because it is along the shores of Puget Sound.  Most of the mountain hikes in our area are covered in snow so we’ll have to wait until spring to do those.  For us, just a one hour drive from our home provides the reward after a few miles of climbing to a huge rock vista that gives amazing views of the San Juan Islands, but only if it is a clear day!

Oyster DomeThere were many people who had the same idea.  When we are all locked in our homes due to the pandemic and the weather, if the skies clear and the sun shines – we go!  I’m glad we left early because we were actually able to find parking.  This isn’t an easy hike for older folks like us, there is a fairly significant elevation gain on the way up, but happily, we made it.

Sitting on a rock, socially distanced from our fellow hikers, we enjoyed our picnic lunch with a fantastic view.  We had a great conversation on the way up, even when the younger hikers were passing us.  I was extremely grateful that every person we saw including little kids, teenagers, young adults, and parents were fully masked. People were polite and stepped aside and turned their backs when coming in the other direction on the trail.

On the way back, we took a different trail through the forest to a little lake. This made a loop of about 6+ miles total.  The acres and acres of ferns, the majestic Beyond Oyster DomeDouglas fir and cedar trees and huge rocks left after the glaciers receded during the ice age made the hike back down the hill really pleasant.

What I enjoyed the most that day was spending time with my husband.  Is this what it will be like to be retired?  Not being on a work schedule, going places when the weather is good?  I’m imagining what a treat that will be!

That day I loved breathing the fresh clean air, talking about our future, basking in the soft light of the winter sun, enjoying the gorgeous green forest, and imagining taking the ferry out to the islands next summer.

Now I’m wondering, what is Beyond Oyster Dome? Whatever the future holds, as long as I can go to the mountains, explore the beach and spend time with my husband – my retirement will be just fine.



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