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Retiring Abroad: What You Need to Know

It seems these days that with an increase in global connectivity and more easily accessible air transportation, destinations once thought to be exotic are more like a hop, skip, and a jump away.

Plenty of elder folks have seen their children and grandchildren head off on study abroad trips or backpacking tours through Southeast Asia in the depths of post-graduate malaise. It’s about time that the older generations get their fill of international exploration and a bit of reckless abandon. If you’re lucky enough to be able to retire at a relatively young age, you should look into taking advantage of your opportunity to set foot in distant landsmaybe for good.

But be wary, intrepid traveler! Monsters, evil spirits, and hidden taxes lay lurking in the shadows of uncharted waters. Here are a few things you must consider before heading off.

Lifestyle Shift

If you’re looking for an escape from the home you are most likely seeking refuge from some of the high demands of the fast-paced lifestyle that helped you get into a position where you actually could afford to retire in the first place.

It’s no surprise if you’re burnt out after decades of grinding away in the workforce. There exist a myriad of reasons for what has revealed itself to be a steady surge in work hours in recent decades, leading to what many classify as an extreme work culture. According to a 2007 study, we even walk faster in major cities these days than we used to.

All of this physical and mental exertion related to career work can have an extremely taxing impact over the years, and by the time a well-earned retirement comes around, getting yourself out of the pressure cooker environment of your home country might be health and rewarding.

Health Insurance

Unfortunately, retiring abroad involves some necessary sacrifices. One of the big ones is that you won’t be able to receive your regular Medicare insurance if you live outside the country. That means you’re going to have to look into another option for getting covered, and although there are a few things you can do to make sure you’re covered.

Firstly, your home insurance may cover certain costs while you’re living abroadit depends which country you’re coming from and which plan you have. But secondly, and perhaps more importantly, there are a host of international plans and plans within the foreign destination that may be able to accommodate you. If you’re coming from the U.S., you can assuage slightly your fears of losing Medicare with the fact that standard, high-quality insurance comes at a much lower cost in many other countries around the world.

¿Hablas Español?

It’s undeniable that English is the language of the world these days. In most any other country you go to, the people familiar with handling tourists will probably have a solid grasp on English. That being said, if you’re really looking to make a life somewhere else, it’s best to at least try and learn the native tongue. This could be difficult at an advanced age, as the brain cells aren’t quite what they used to be, but that’s not to say it’s impossible. At a minimum, becoming comfortable with basic phrases will do wonders for making you feel at home in your new hometown.

Cost of Living

This may be the best reason to retire abroadbut also the area in which you will have to do the most research before you make any decisions. Forbes recently compiled a good list of some of the best countries to retire inand as you can see, almost all are in Latin America. Due to the laid-back pace of life, the low cost of living, and the incredible weather, countries like Ecuador and Costa Rica are topping the charts for expat retirees. But you have to do your research too. Costa Rica MLS and similar sources will help you find the best deals on property to make sure you get well-settled with enough change in your purse to keep you stress-free.

Gadgets to Make Our Elderly Years Much More Pleasurable

The purpose of technology has always been to make the lives of humans easier. This means that if anything makes life harder, such as getting older, technology is what we can rely on to even the score. There are an increasingly large number of gadgets that seek to make the lives of the elderly easier in just about every category. This can stretch from moving up stairs, to reading the news. Here are a few examples.

Health Monitoring Devices

More and more of smartphone apps and individual portable or home devices are available that help you and your doctor to monitor your health and physical functions. These gadgets not only make life safer with chronic diseases but may also assist you in disease prevention. Blood pressure, blood sugar or simple heart-rate monitors are already available for home or portable use with smartphones and as these are always connected, they make it easier to log data, monitor and keep track of your health condition.


It’s a sad truth that something as simple as getting up the stairs can become a herculean task as you get older and your knees give out. Fortunately, modern innovations such as the stairlift has you covered. These devices can be a little confusing to figure out, but you can use a stairlift guide by Thyssen to make sure that you don’t injure yourself while maneuvering up and down the stairs. This way, you can simply sit in the chair, strap yourself in, and give your knees a rest. The lift will do the well, heavy lifting, while it powers you to the top of the stairs.

Even in situations where you could probably get up the stairs yourself, a lift is often a good choice anyway for the following reasons.

  • Takes pressure off your body. Putting less pressure on your knees will mean that they will work for potentially much longer, so you can keep walking around normally without pain.
  • Taking a lift will remove all the risk. Many people fall down the stairs every year and cause themselves serious injuries even when they aren’t elderly.
  • Keep your autonomy. While relying on a gadget to get you up the stairs can be off-putting, it’s often much less so than having to rely on other people. This usually means either having someone come over, which can be expensive, or having to go to a nursing home, which can be expensive and depressing.


Another unfortunate effect of aging is that it can make it more difficult to see. Additionally, typing on a traditional keyboard can be hard on elderly fingers. This is where gadgets like iPads come in. Tablet computers like the iPad often have vibrant colors and big, easy to see touch screens with more intuitive interfaces than traditional computers. Additionally, many of them come with games that you can download for free that can help with keeping memory and critical thinking skills sharp. Some studies have shown that conditions like Alzheimer’s can be delayed through such exercises.


It’s probably the case that when you think gadgets for the elderly, the phrase robot exoskeleton isn’t the first thing that you think about. But no matter how farfetched this might seem, exokseleons for the elderly are quickly becoming a reality. These are metal braces that go on over the outside of the clothing that help reduce stress on joints. As a result, persons who have trouble walking for whatever reason will be able to continue their workout as normal due to the aid. After all, exercise can keep you healthy in other ways,and it’s rather unfortunate that joint problems force many elderly persons to miss out on the many cardio and other types of benefits of exercise due to unrelated aging problems. But this gadget will give the elderly the option of continuing their jogging and walking routines well into the future.

Technological innovations such as these will hopefully continue to steal back years for the elderly, allowing them to enjoy their lives for longer and longer as scientific understanding improves.

On Elders and Automobiles

image from Pinterest

Our aging parents/grandparents are not as spritely and agile as they used to be, but for as long as they have good use of their physical and mental faculties, they should still be able to get behind the wheel and drive. Healthy walks are good for them (and us), but there are just some distances that need to be traversed by a vehicle, and sometimes, public transportation just isn’t available.

My folks are of senior level as well, and even if I know that my father is a notoriously careful driver, I just can’t shake the concern that with him nearing seventy years of age, that his body is a little more prone to misfiring in one way or the other. I can’t really stop him from driving, but there are a few precautions that I insist on so as to ensure that he doesn’t go out there unready for an event that might compromise his health or safety:

Towing Service/Auto Club Subscription

Changing a tire may be peanuts to a young one, but it might prove to be more exhausting for someone advanced in years. Make certain that your driving senior citizen has an active subscription to a 24-hour towing service that covers the areas that he usually drives to.

In addition to that, also make certain that the vehicle has the right tools to make rudimentary fixes on the road, just in case the towing service can’t reach his/her vehicle. Given that they can’t exert themselves too much, have easier to use; power tools where applicable. Of course, spare parts and compounds like fan belts, brake/power steering fluid, auto fuses, and of course, spare tires. Yes, it would be ideal that you stuff an extra tire in addition to the default spare. You can never be too prepared.


Technical Aids

There are gadgets you can add to their vehicles to help them drive safely and drive well. Along with your usual GPS (one of the less-technical, easier to read and understand models, with a clear voice), there are devices to keep them from falling asleep when on longer trips, as well as backing sensors to avoid any fender benders when parking. Medical alert systems on smartphones or as stand-alone devices would also be great.

Just make sure the aids are easy enough to use as the elders are not always savvy with current technology. Oh, and just like in the picture above, if they have glasses, make sure they use ‘em.


A Companion

Have a responsible adult tag along. This solution may not always be available, but when it is, insist on it. Having a secondary driver and a conversation mate will certainly make driving easier and safer for your beloved senior.

If you can, be the companion. It’s a great way to spend time with them, after all. Just don’t be too much of a backseat driver; it annoys any driver, senior or not. Still, if they have difficulty negotiating the road or the weather conditions, do not hesitate to offer to drive for the rest of the journey.


I wish you and your beloved elders a safe journey on the roads!


About The Author

Stacey Thompson is a professional writer, marketer, entrepreneur, and a lover of weird little animals. She is based in San Diego, California, and still drives her mom to the mall now and then. Stacey and a group of her closest friends have a blog, Word Baristas.