Retirees following the grandchildren?

Retirees following the grandchildren? August 25, 2015

As I said, we are retiring and have moved to be close to grandchildren.  The thing is, virtually everyone I know in my generation who has retired or who is planning to retire is doing the same thing.

My parents didn’t move to be closer to us when they retired.  They remained the family anchors, and during the holidays it was over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go.  And they were certainly good grandparents.

Is moving to be nearer one’s adult children and grandchildren a trend, or just my limited sampling and personal experience?  If it’s a new trend, how do you account for it?  I’ll offer some of my theories after the jump.I don’t think we are helicopter parents or grandparents.  I think it has to do with the mobility of our generation.  We moved all over the country, following jobs, leaving our parents and our roots behind.  Now that we are retiring, we are still mobile.  We never particularly set down new roots where we found ourselves.  When we retire, we can live wherever we want to.  And where we want to live is close by our grandchildren, who exert an overwhelming force.  Children too–we typically get along well with them, especially now that they are grown.  And they aren’t opposed to our moving, recognizing that we can be of help.

Other reasons to move somewhere else upon retiring are finding a cheaper place to live, where retirement dollars can go much further.  And going back to those roots, which are becoming more precious at this stage of life, whereas at an earlier stage we were eager to escape them.   And if you can accomplish all three–being with grandchildren, with a less expensive cost of living, and at a place where you already feel at home–as we have, of course you should move.

Am I rationalizing some dire generational dysfunction?  I know, as Thomas Wolfe said, you can’t go home again, and maybe we’ll mess up our children’s and grandchildren’s lives.  Or do you think this is a positive trend, the re-establishment of extended families?

If you are part of this trend, either as a retiree or as adult children whose parents have invaded, how has this worked out?

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