Family or friends? Community or grandkids? 72

Let's Talk


View Profile

A member of the Starts at 60 community recently shared her experiences of having made a difficult choice – and getting it wrong.

Janine had decided, after much consideration, to pack up everything and move closer to her son and daughter-in-law, and their three children. She left behind her community groups, her volunteering job and her friends.

At first, it was great being near the grandkids, but when they hit their tweens they had less time for her. Meanwhile Janine’s son and daughter-in-law were focused on their own lives. Janine was left lonely, feeling alienated, and missing home.

Many of us might assume that being close to family is the only way to spend retirement, but it may not always be the best choice.

There are pros of retiring near your family, including playing an active role in your grandchildren’s young lives, helping your children as they juggle the most demanding period of their lives, having a built-in social network. It can also mean support and extra help for you as you care for your parents and, eventually, for you when you need in.

But there are risks, too. Sometimes, close can be too close – there are plenty of families that get on just fine, so long as they don’t spend too much time together!

Other considerations are that, as with Janine’s situation, you might find you are marginalised in your family’s life and have lost your support network all together. You children could move, meaning you will have to move too. It’s increasingly common these days for young families to move around.

It’s also possible you might resent being the go-to babysitter or feel you are being taken advantage of. You may also resent the fact you’re not living your dream, for the sake of being closer to family.

But then, if you live far from your family, will your visits to them become less and less frequent as you get older?

When you’re choosing where to live in your retirement, all these things must be considered. Obviously every person’s situation is different, so let’s share our experiences to help others make the choice.

Tell us: did you choose to move (or remain) close to family? Or do you prefer to have your loved ones at a reasonable distance? Are you happy with your situation? What advice do you have for others? 


Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. My children all came home with there husband and children to live near us where they were brought up so we never had to follow them We all get on but we have our moments like any family but my husband and I have a holiday home that we escape to and have a wonderful time together so we have the best of both worlds

  2. At 60 years young I made a decision to move to the Gold Coast and loving the life style.

    1 REPLY
    • Hi Lynette
      I was interested in yr comments. Am thinking of doing the same. Where did you move from ? What did you do to make new friends and what part of the Gold Coast are you in ? Cheers

  3. Different for everyone. No knowing what will happen people move about more now.

  4. Have seen this happen many times, often from pressure from the kids, if you are a couple it might be ok, but on your own it can all fall apart. Stick with friends and visit family is my choice.

  5. Shirley get off this site / your diet crap isn’t what this story is about / can’t believe how dumb some people are / oh yes I can / I see this happen a lot on sites

  6. Know of a lady who left her friends and family in England to be there for her Daughter who had moved to Australia a few years earlier. She sold her home in England and gave the proceeds to her Daughter and husband to help pay their Mortgage as the daughter had fallen pregnant and couldn’t work through ill health. She soon had a beautiful granddaughter which she virtually raised while mum and dad returned to work and enjoyed the benifit of having a built in baby sitter come housemaid. 4 years later her daughters marriage broke up, the family home was sold by the bank as the small mortgage repayments were not being met. Her daughter and grandchild moved onto another relationship leaving her in dire financial straits, relying on a pension and rental assistance to survive while the reason for her uprooting her life, gaily went on her way from partner to partner. This ladies greatest wish was to return to England or when she died to have her ashes scattered by her husbands grave in England. She did pass away and her ashes lay in an urn for over 5 years in a distant relatives laundry in Australia until another relative who was over in Australia on holiday took her ashes back to England. If you’re even contemplating to uproot your life, friends and familiar surrounds to serve your grown up children, give yourself a good slap and remember you must help yourself before you can help other people.

    7 REPLY
  7. At the moment we have no intention of moving to be near our children as their lives are in a state of flux with job security. They could both move any moment for a secure job. So the plan remain hopefully fit and independent and see what the future brings. I cared for my parents in their old age and it was exhausting. They refused to take advantage of home support services until I threatened to leave and never come back. Not nice and I would like to think that I will be practical and take advantage of all the support services available. I am desperate not to be a burden to my children. I guess time will tell whether I will succeed.

  8. I have two daughters who need my help and support – one lives close by, the other a two hour drive away in a small country town. I have chosen to stay living in the suburbs where I have friends and access to community groups and facilities. I visit my other daughter monthly to help where I can. It’s not always ideal as I can feel ‘torn in two’ but I am basically happy with this decision.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *