to move or not to moveOver the past year, we here at the AARP Oregon state office have been contacted several times by AARP members and our own family and friends living in other parts so the country with requests for information about relocating to Oregon.  When they hear about people coming to Oregon, native Oregonians often jest and quote a sign that Governor Tom McCall supposedly ordered to be put up at all major state borders, “Welcome to Oregon, enjoy your visit.” But it seems the word has gotten out!  Oregon is beautiful and a wonderful to place to live. And based on the requests we have received people from a variety of places seem to be considering moving here. 

Portland is known as the place “where the young come to retire.” And a recent national poll ranked Oregon last for recommended places to retire; however, Portland and our state has many attractions for older adults looking to relocate and find a home for a lifetime. Our state ranks high nationally for long-term care services and we are a national leader in home and community based care. Portland is renowned the world over for its great public transportation system; Ashland boasts world-class theater; Medford had great medical facilities; and Eugene is not only great for bicycles, they have the Ducks and is Track Town USA! One could go on about the virtues of our beautiful state as only a non-native zealot could.   

However, a couple of local aging-in-place experts we consulted recently suggested that making a decision about relocating to a new place should be undertaken with not only what the potential destination has to offer, but first and foremost an understanding of your own motivations and values and an examinations of your needs and expectations.  We couldn’t agree more.  They also pointed out that folks need to keep in mind the climate and culture of the destination community. For example, if you are deciding to move to Oregon based on a visit to our state during the summer, you could be in for some trouble. 

There are some important things to think about before relocating to a new place. While AARP Oregon doesn’t have a brochure or specific literature about moving to Oregon, we have come up with a few suggestions and tips to share withanyone looking into moving.

  •  Here is an excellent article that outlines some of the key issues to consider before moving.  
  • Bank Rate has a cost of living comparison calculator on their website that you may find useful as well.
  • A critical element for successful living is the supports and services you will have available to you where you live. Are you moving to be close to friends or family? Who will be your support network? Does the place you are considering relocating to have the support services you may need in the future.  Here is a community checklist to consider.
  • The State of Oregon had recently launched the Aging and Disability Connection of Oregon where you can learn more about aging services in Oregon, including local Area Agencies of Aging and other local organizations.
  • Often we see people move to a new place and choose a home that may not meet changing needs. Whether you are renting or plan to own a home, in addition to affordability, accessibility is an important consideration when choosing a home. Here is a great blog post about Universal design. Remember to check out the HomeFit Guide which has great checklists you can use.
  • What about your new neighborhood? One of the best websites for comparing neighborhoods across the country is Walkscore. It will tell you how close you are to shops, transit and how walkable the area when you enter the neighborhood name or street address.

 For those of you, particularly interested in the City of Portland, following are some links to explore:

  •  Here are a couple of links where you can explore Portland neighborhoods. http://www.portlandneighborhood.com/portland-neighborhoods.html  and
  • http://www.neighborhoodnotes.com/maps/
  • You may also want to check the Trimet website  to see how accessible by bus, train or max  potential neighborhoods are. Right now the Max line is somewhat limited, so most trips will be multimodal and you’ll want a place that had many options.
  • You may also find this article interesting. It has a few maps in addition to information about the metro region and how we are aging.  You may particularly find this map (Density of Seniors Aged 65 or Older and Access to Services in Portland) interesting