Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

Do I move or do I stay?

(43 Posts)
Benina Sat 06-Aug-11 12:27:43

May I tap into the collective wisdom and experience of gransnet? My children (2) and therefore my grandchildren live 250 miles away from me and around 2 hours apart. I have just returned from a visit and am in a quandary. I have lived on my own for 12 years and have built up some sort of social life and feel that I belong and contribute to my village community. And I know where to find a plumber etc.! The thought of starting again in a new place is daunting. But - I want to be nearer my family as they mean so much to me and with them I am a "member", we all have a shared history.

So, do I move or do I stay? I do not want to be socially dependant on my chidren and starting from scratch is tough - but I am still young and fit enough to do it. Though if I stay here then they have somewhere to visit.

Any advice will be gratefully received.

Baggy Sat 06-Aug-11 12:33:19

Have your children asked you to move near them?

Benina Sat 06-Aug-11 12:49:01

Good point - and we have discussed it. They would like to have a mother/grandma nearby. It is up to me. And I suppose that there is no guarantee that either of them will stay in the same area as they are now.

Baggy Sat 06-Aug-11 12:57:15

That's the problem, isn't it, Benina? If you knew they were going to stay put.... My mum never moved to be near any of us (I'm one of five) and it turned out just as well, really, because we all moved about quite a lot. Plus, like you, she has a good social network where she is, and where we all grew up, and is still seeing most of the people she's been seeing for the last forty-odd years. Difficult decision.

One advantage of my mum staying where she is, in the family house, has been that there's always plenty of room for grandchildren when they visit. She has fourteen, and now two great grandchildren as well.

Benina Sat 06-Aug-11 13:24:18

Thanks Baggy (I once wrote a children's story about "Baggy" short for Bagatelle - ho hum). Trouble is I am no longer in the family house - 6 bedrooms and 2 acres - since divorce I live in two-up two-down terraced house. Bit too cosy for family reunions!!

There is no easy answer is there?

crimson Sat 06-Aug-11 13:40:15

Benina; Could you rent out your property and rent one close to your family [say for @ a year] just to see how it works? I know someone who moved close to her daughter and spent 2 years desperately wanting to move back again, which she did.

jackyann Sat 06-Aug-11 15:32:49

I think that one of the issues is - do they like to come & visit?
I see that your house is small, but presume 1 family can fit in.
When mine were little, we were at some distance from gps: my parents lived in the area they had been in all their lives (and back hundreds of years) but DH's parents lived by the sea, so kids liked to visit!

Sounds like you have no family ties where you are, just a social life that you have built up - and can again if you move.
If you went inbetween, you'd be about an hour's drive - OK for a day visit and access in a family emergency; but far enough to make you build your own life.

However, these days, house prices are an issue - would you get more (or less) property / pound?

I think that renting in a new area is often a good idea as you get a "feel" for the place, shops markets, social amenities, transport, that you just don't otherwise.

Benina Sat 06-Aug-11 16:05:31

Thank you all so much - the idea of renting is definitely worth thinking about, especially as selling/buying is not easy at the moment. It is nice to know that you are all there!

supermum48 Sat 06-Aug-11 19:04:33

We are in exactly the same position Benina. Our son and daughter and soon to be 2 grandchildren are in Hampshire and we are in Cheshire. We have a great social life in Cheshire - but the pull of family is too great. We are thinking of moving next year. It will be a wrench but hopefully the right decision.

AmberGold Sun 07-Aug-11 14:29:10

I think as long as you throw ourself into a new place and become part of that community too - and not just involve yourself totally in your family, you should be fine. It's a question of balance. We returned from France to a totally new place, have made new friends and have enjoyed being a BIG part of our daughter's life and little GS. Now they are thinking of moving to the States and we are devastated.
If there is a chance that your family may move, you need to have friends around you so you are not left on your own again.
I think renting is a great idea. Good luck

Megamutts Sun 21-Aug-11 19:54:52

Have just registered with Gransnet and the first thing I read goes straight to my heart. My daughter has 2 lovely girls and I love them so much it hurts, but the decision to move nearer to them is tearing me apart. They live about 4 hours drive away and my husband and I find it exhausting but we have lived in lovely rural Worcestershire for 30 years and to leave is going to be the hardest thing we have ever done.
This has to be the dilemma of our generation. I don't believe our parents' generation would have given it a moment's thought. I am 63 and my husband 68. He says if we are going to move we ought to do it before he is 70 as it will only get harder as we get older.
When I was young I honestly believed life was settled and easy when you retired. Not true. In some ways it's so tough I'm not sure I'm up to it.

Zephrine Sun 21-Aug-11 22:22:25

Three years ago we moved 200 miles to be near my children and grandchildren. One of my grandchildren is severely disabled and we are now on hand for emergencies and just to be generally helpful. It was a big step to make, we didn't know anyone else here so we knew we had to join things and throw ourselves into the community. It has been the best thing we have done. I love it here, we have made new friends taken up new hobbies. We live about a half hour away from the family so not in each others pockets. Looking back we were very much in a rut before and could easily have stayed there. It would have been much more difficult I think had I been on my own. I think the renting idea sounds good.

Annobel Sun 21-Aug-11 22:41:58

Welcome, Megamutts. I can understand your dilemma. My sons' families are respectively in Hampshire and Oxfordshire. I decided to stay in Cheshire when I retired to be near my oldest GD, DS's daughter by earlier relationship who did need me around to provide stability. However, now she is a student and beginning to live her own life and although it's good to be able to take her out for lunch occasionally, she doesn't really need me the way she used to. I am put off the idea of moving because I have known of several instances when the gran has moved to be near the family who have then had to move elsewhere because of a job change or promotion. The curse of social mobility!

supernana Mon 22-Aug-11 13:23:50

Benina We live in a small community in a remote area of Scotland. Family live in Rutland and London. We enjoy family gatherings as often as we can but parents need to work and grandchildren have school, uni and jobs of their own to attend to. Every time I return home [600 miles one way from here to London] I ask myself the very question that you have raised. For me, this caring community is home. Should I survive my husband, I shall hope to remain here and continue to enjoy travels to visit my family. Should I become infirm, well, maybe matters will have to be tweeked - but that's another

Quiltinggran Mon 22-Aug-11 17:51:10

Supernana For personal reasons over the last two years I have spent a lot of my time in a remote area of NW Scotland but during that time three grandchildren have been born and they all live in the south of England (over 600 miles away one way!). I find that very hard to deal with. I never realised how much having grandchildren would change me.

supernana Mon 22-Aug-11 18:37:47

Quiltinggran Indeed, grandchildren do add a whole new dimension to the lives of we grandparents. My thoughts are never far removed from family matters. Our eldest gc [of seven] is 22, and the youngest, just 17 months. It costs us dear to travel to be with our family. We both work at "the big house" husband tends the garden and I clean the interior. From time to time, we sell some of our artwork or handmade greetings cards. All proceeds go into the travel-fund box. If your heart urges you to move to be close to those you love, then, in due course, you'll find a way to put your plan into action. If, like me, you feel at home in Scotland, I guess that we'll both need to enjoy what time we have with the family as often as we can afford to and accept the lump-in-the-throat partings into the bargain. Life isn't altogether fair,but compared with countless others, we are blest. x

Quiltinggran Mon 22-Aug-11 20:09:31

supernana thank you so much for reminding me of how blest we are, compared to those gransnetters who have much more difficult problems. But I am finding it very difficult at the moment to decide what to do. I'm torn between the places and people that I love at completely different ends of the country and at the moment I'm spending too much time, money and emotion travelling between the two! and pleasing no-one! I'm on holiday for three weeks from Wednesday so that might give me some thinking/deciding time. In the meantime I like the idea of a travel-fund box and may well start one of my own. Thanks again for your understanding thoughts. x

elizabethjoan Mon 22-Aug-11 22:36:18

Benina......Tricky! I reckon it would be an idea to do some homework where your family is, about what's available in your current interest areas, and the ones you would like to develop. eg art classes, walking groups, book groups etc Also if you spend time in the local shops and get chatting, you can get a feel as to whether it's a friendly spot or not. Voluntary work is always a good way to meet lovely people. Renting definitely great idea.
Also, it's not so far that you and your close friends can't visit back and forth.
Why not just have a little adventure?
Good luck with your decision, and I hope the pluses and minuses find the right balance!

iona Thu 25-Aug-11 11:56:54

I did it three years ago. I have a married son and a married daughter living round here so I moved to be near - but not too near. I made the conscious decision not to rely on them for new friends. I bought myself a show dog - the best thing I ever did! I have met people through dog club and shows and I also have to walk them every day which keeps me fit. I say "them" - I now have 7. I only just have time for the grandchildren!

dolphin Thu 25-Aug-11 12:18:29

I am delighted to read all your views because this is occupying my thoughts a great deal. My only daughter is about a hundred miles away with my one, so far, granddaughter and I am in London. I was widowed last year and live in a 4 bedroom house on my own. BUT I have very many friends and social activities here and am reluctant to have to start again. BUT number 2 - my daughter and partner live in a very, very small flat and can't afford to move to something larger. IF I sold up and moved to be near them, with the prices of London houses, I would be able to buy myself a reasonable flat and free up money for my daughter and co to buy a house. More BUTs - my daughter still has many London friends and they all come up quite often so where would they stay if I moved nearer them. Another difficulty - I have become disabled and because of my immobility it could be harder to make new friends and develop new social activities in a new environment. So I am in a quandary -almost every day I change my mind about making any sort of decision. We have lived here for over 36 years and I have so many memories of our time together in this house, and now my husband is no longer here I am reluctant to lose all that past by moving.
At the moment they come here quite often but I can't go to stay with them because the flat is too small and it would be difficult because of my mobility. I can't afford to go and stay in hotels.
I shall look forward to continuing to follow this thread to learn about all your dilemmas and solutions. Thankyou for starting such a relevant thread.

absentgrana Thu 25-Aug-11 13:07:13

Moving to somewhere quite different is quite hard going at any time and harder still when you're getting on. I imagine it is particularly difficult if you are on your own. My only daughter and her four children live in New Zealand – just about as far away as it's possible to go. Indeed if you went any further, you'd be coming back. That is not the reason why she lives there. grin In fact, she, her husband and the littles are desperate for absentgrana to become presentgrana. Mr absent and I are anxiously awaiting to hear whether we have been granted a residency visa. When we go (and I will not contemplate the prospect of the visa being refused) it will be a huge upheaval. We moved to the North-east from London, where I had lived for nearly 60 years and my husband for nearly 40, about 18 months ago. This has proved to be a good trial run – though that wasn't why we moved. He has family here (lovely people) but we had no friends here. However, we feel very much at home and happy here and I shall actually be sorry to leave, but shall feel confident about building a new life, making new friends and being part of a new community the other side of the world.

I think the idea of renting for a little while will do the same thing for you. That or convince you that you would be better staying where you are. Either way, you have your answer without doing anything irrevocable.

scwatson Thu 25-Aug-11 13:13:29

I moved just over a year ago to be nearer family. I agree with Iona, find something to do which does not depend on the family and use a 'hands off' approach. I am here for my son and daughter-in-law and my grandson but only when they need me. I volunteer at a local National Trust property and have joined a local Probus group. My brother and his wife live a few miles away so I see them quite often, plus we have a mutually convenient dog sitting arrangement. My dog keeps me active and I meet quite a few people walking her. I keep in touch with friends using Skype and the occasional trip back to my old haunts. My other 2 bachelor sons visit regularly. I am very glad I moved when I did.

allule Thu 25-Aug-11 13:39:22

We had this decision to make 6-7 years agoo, but in many ways it was easier for us as three of our four chidren had finished up living in the same village, but the other side of the country. We had been thinking of moving from our home at the far end of Cornwall, which we loved, to somewhere more convenient for visiting all members of the family, but they suggested that it made more sense for us to move into the same village, and our fourth 'child' was quite happy with this, as it would give her somewhere to stay for visits to us all.
It has worked out well. Being close is so handy for baby-sitting; parties; barbecues, and there is always someone around to look after pets while their owners are away (though this summer has produced some tight scheduling).
More importantly, when my husband had a serious illness, the practical help and moral support were invaluable. I would have hated to have faced that on my own.
Snags? Well, we do miss Cornwall and the countryside, and our larger house, but this was something we enjoyed in its time. We are lucky in that we all get on well together, and the grandchildren are a delight. We get unstinting help with odd jobs, and computer problems, and are kept fairly up-to-date. I would not like to live here on our own, but people are more important than places.
I would say it is good to do it as soon as possible. Moving home after 20 years is not easy, and better done while you are fitter. The younger company will help delay decrepitude - I have even gone back to cycling, not done since a teenager, and am now 'granny on a bike'.

Suki Thu 25-Aug-11 13:49:37

Hi. As a "child" living 250 miles from my mother, I just couldn't do the round trip every month, and it was so far if anything happened to her and she needed me quickly. She was 93 when I forcibly kidnapped her, and I felt awful doing it but as I am an only child, felt I had no choice. She was becoming a nuisance to her friends and they were phoning me up constantly complaining - she'd phone for someone to get her a jar of coffee when she already had 3 jars in the cupboard, and that sort of thing. If anyone visited, she'd get out the best china, lay on a sumptuous tea and entertain them royally but then they couldn't get away. I suggested a home for her nearby, I researched live-in carers, I showed her round a home up north near me, but she had excuses why nothing was right at that particular stage. I understand she had her friends but she was beginning to abuse friendships and she couldn't see it. Indeed, she'd get hurt if I suggested this to be the case. As far as I was concerned, I felt it grossly unfair on me as well, with the long distance travelling and emotionally I did feel she didn't want to be near me - or rather - that she'd prefer to be with her friends than me and my family.

After she'd been up north for a year and her house left standing empty all that time, I went down - still monthly - to clear the house which took about 6 months, and sell it which was horrible, because she was still alive and I felt like I was pulling her life out from under her.

I will not put my children in that position, and I'll make sure I live within easy distance of them. I'm clearing my house too, so they have minimal work and emotional drag. Life's about relationships, not "stuff" .

jennyg Thu 25-Aug-11 14:25:42

in 2007,at the age of 65, I went through three of the most stressful life-events (allegedly) - I divorced, I retired and I moved house, to be nearer to my daughter, partner and 2 GDs. I have to say I haven't regretted any of it (with crossed fingers ).
with a positive attitude, close (but not claustophobic) family contact, joining activities you love, and relishing all social encounters, I think it is possible to make a fresh life without cutting all ties with the old one. I made some lovely new friends/acquaintances by joining a language class, and being a real part of my family's everyday life is a joy.
I can now say that even if my family were to move away, I'd be more than happy to stay in cardiff - city living offers so many possibilities. maybe I've been lucky (I do count my blessings, believe me ), or maybe the welsh in cardiff are super-friendly !
the ' rent-it-and-see ' option is a great idea, as long as you give it enough time to see if it sticks.