Urban living has pluses and minuses for seniors. Here are some of the factors older citizens should consider before deciding whether to retire to an urban environment.

First The Good News


There comes a time when all of us should consider getting out from behind the wheel. Cities offer a variety of transportation options from buses and subways to taxis and car services. Cities also offer more opportunities for walking or riding a bicycle. More dedicated bike lanes are making getting around on two wheels safer for everybody. Recent studies show even walking back and forth to a bus stop or subway station has important health benefits.

This is also the time of the sharing economy, in which people don’t own things any more. Instead, they rent them on an as-needed basis and return them when they are done using them. The sharing economy by definition is an urban phenomenon. Now a senior with a smart phone can find a driver willing to go wherever necessary in comfort and on demand. No more waiting out in the rain for a bus or traipsing through snow banks on the way to the subway. Try that in South Succotash or East Smallville.

Health Services

Everything older citizens could possibly need is just a phone call away when you live in the city. Health care clinics and hospitals are often just a few blocks away instead of over the horizon somewhere. Meals on Wheels, the Visiting Nurse Association and personal assistants are easier to find in an urban environment, too. Physical therapy or yoga are always available nearby.

Cultural Enrichment

NetFlix is great, but sometimes you just need to get out of the house. Cities have theaters, museums, concerts, lectures and outdoor festivals all year round. Senior discounts can make all of them more affordable.

And Now The Bad News

It Can Be Expensive 

Let’s face it. These days, everyone seems to want to move back to the city. It’s like the great migration to the suburbs in the 50’s was an outgoing tide that is now flowing back in again. Higher demand always leads to higher prices. A typical two bedroom home in suburbia may be less expensive than a studio apartment in a good neighborhood in town. And it will have a place for the grandkids to spend the night, too, which can be a plus.

City Living Can Be Hectic

Getting around in the city, dodging taxis and pizza delivery cars at intersections, can be stressful. The pace of life in the city may be more than some older people are comfortable with. An apartment in the city can also be stifling during the heat of summer when there’s no back porch where a person can sit and catch the evening breeze.

Too Much To Do Can Be Stressful

Everybody has their own idea of what retirement should be like. Some may crave the active lifestyle that goes with living in the city but others may find sitting beside a lazy river with a fishing pole is more their speed. This is an issue that couples need to consider carefully, especially if they have vastly different ideas about what retirement should look like.

The Bottom Line

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing to live in the city in our older years. Urban living can free us or ensnare us, depending on your point of view. Consider all your options carefully before selling the family farm and moving to Broadway. Think about who you want to be close to and what activities are most valuable to you. Then make the choice that best serves your needs.

Source: CBS News / Photo Credit: Shutterstock