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Thread: Contemplating a big move...

  1. #1
    Senior Member elarson's Avatar
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    Contemplating a big move...

    Hi Everyone,

    We are contemplating a big move in the next 2 years, and we are starting to research possibilities for other places to live. We currently live in the Netherlands. It is quite a daunting task because we have a lot of criteria (healthcare, accessibility, business/employment, etc.), and because we are of different nationalities (US/Dutch), and not rich, immigration hassles are also a biggie.

    Our list of potential countries/areas is quite long (mostly the America's and Europe) and I'm making a spreadsheet so we can use it to help us make decisions to narrow things down. I've made a list (below) of some of the things dealing with disability. I'd be interested in hearing input from others of things we should be looking into.

    To give some background, my husband uses a chair full-time and requires care during the day and full-time when I travel for business. I will be looking for work, but he is for the most part not able to. He also has problems with regulating body temperature, so climate is important.

    Near a good major medical center with neuo/rehab facilities
    Good health care with choices and without too long of waiting times
    Reasonably priced health insurance, deductables, co-pays
    Handicapped accessibility in and around home
    Handicapped accessibility in the community
    Handicapped acceptance socially
    Funding available for personal care
    Within driving distance of an international airport with direct flights near family/friends
    Recreation outside that is accessible
    Ability to transfer disability pay and pension
    Mild climate with neither very hot summers nor cold snowy winters.
    Sunny, not too much rain, wind or humidity

    It's really strange needing to quantify all of this, but because we are both 50, we do not plan on doing this again. We would rather take it slow and think it all through as much as possible, than have regrets later.

    Thanks for any ideas you may have of other things relating to disability.

  2. #2
    I would add low crime rate, low frequency of harsh weather events (hurricanes, tornadoes, and not weather related but earthquakes - this from someone who lives in the San Francisco area of California) ;), access to adult educational facilities and cultural events to your list.

    There are a few publications you might want to try to buy. The series Places Rated Almanac has several books that can be quite helpful because they rate cities for livability using some of the criteria you have mentioned and more. Ambience, housing, jobs, crime, transportation, education, health care, recreation, and climate are included in their rankings of cities. There are a couple sequel publications to this one, Retirement Places Rated and World Retirement Places Rated. These books are frequently, if not yearly updated. Several publishers have similar editions out.

    Several US magazines publish yearly list, including Forbes Magazine and Money Magazine.

    There is a website Sperlings Best Places at http://www.bestplaces.net/

    Then just for fun, I googled "Best Places to live with a Disability." You'll find quite a few options to explore with that search criteria.

    Good luck with your study. Let us know your plans as they become clear to you.

    All the best,
    GJ

  3. #3
    Senior Member elarson's Avatar
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    Thanks GJ. I had some of the points you mentioned, but not under the disability area. Below is the full list as I have it right now (just started today). You might laugh at some of them, but as someone who has lived in a few countries and traveled a lot, believe me, there are reasons for them.

    Thanks for the links. I've been looking at most of them already for the US. I've found "Best Places to Retire" a good search topic also, even though I unfortunately need to work. Strangely, I had not searched on "Best Places to live with a Disability" and that brought up some good hits. Our list also includes other countries, and that is a bit harder to come by.

    Medium or small sized town, but close to a city for services
    Mild climate with neither very hot summers nor cold, snowy winters.
    Sunny, not too much rain or humidity
    Near a good major medical center with neuo/rehab facilities
    Good health care with choices and without too long of waiting times
    Reasonably priced health insurance, deductables, copays
    Handicapped accessibility in and around home
    Handicapped accessibility in the community
    Handicapped acceptance socially
    Funding available for personal care
    Wheelchair transportation, taxi or public possible
    Some family and friends within driving distance
    Within driving distance of an international airport with direct flights near family/friends
    Culture: arts, music, theatre, etc.
    Access to adult educational facilities
    Recreation outside that is accessible
    Ability to transfer disability pay and pension
    Low violent crime rate
    Progressive laws (euthanasia, no capital punishment)
    Natural beauty and open spaces
    Enough room to not have neighbours on our back
    Government: Political freedom, secular separation church/state.
    Republic, no dynastic monarchy
    Friendly open people
    Not too calvinist or puritanical - Joie de vivre
    Food choices, medeterianian, international, vegetarian
    Natural disasters infrequent
    Languages: English, Dutch, German, French, Spanish
    Immigration not too difficult
    Not sexist, racist, homophobic, etc.
    Consumer services high
    Employment/business opportunities
    Economy not to much protectionism / intervention
    Education/literacy
    Living standards good
    Cost of living not too high
    Income tax (local/national) not too high
    Propery tax not too high
    Sales/VAT tax not too high
    High level of technology

    P.S. I also found this site interesting for comparing things like cost of living, crime, etc. http://www.numbeo.com

  4. #4
    Money will allow you to create any kind of utopia you desire. Money gives you choices. You simply wall off all the things you don't like. I thought the Netherlands was a pretty nice place to live?

  5. #5
    Senior Member elarson's Avatar
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    That's our "wish list" knowing we can't get it all, with points that we will give to each, with a tally (score) at the end. Although money will not make us happy, it sure would make life easier. Although the Netherlands is good for some things, for others not. There is no nirvana.... We are weighing everything up at this point.

  6. #6
    Senior Member lynnifer's Avatar
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    Canada has outrageous limitations for disabled people (just learned this yesterday) but I thought the US did too .. anyone that would tax their medical system or social benefits might have a difficult time getting in. :( Norway and England seem to have it great for disabled people!

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    Super Moderator Sue Pendleton's Avatar
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    Other than you would freeze to death here our area hits most of those. It would help to narrow things down based on how high you rank driving distance to family and friends versus overall accessibility. We've been back to Europe many times in the last decade or so and while access is improving I can't think of any place that I felt I would be able to get around on my own. We last lived in Augsburg, Germany and while they have 4 seasons the major areas were more accessible than just about any other place in Europe. But unless immigration laws were changed as part of the EU that can be a real problem. Great medical care and university and the sunny side of the Alps is a 3 to 4 hour drive. Can I ask what field you'll be looking for work in?

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    Senior Member Tim C.'s Avatar
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    Elapsing, you described the land of OZ. To live in such a way you might as well bug Wise a bit harder for a cure.

  9. #9
    Senior Member elarson's Avatar
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    I think you are correct about Canada. I am not as sure about the US though. As I understand it for the the spouses of US citizens, it is only dangerous physical or mental disorders that are limited.

    I don't know about Norway, but it's not on our list. In general, England is becoming much more difficult for disabled people with the switch to the Personal Indpendence Payment (PIP) to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA). I do think that it is still possible for the spouse of a EU citizen to immigrate to the UK though.

    I think we can forget about any funding being available for personal care in pretty much any country except the Netherlands. Almost all countries have restrictions of residence for a certain number of years. This is probably going to be one of our deciding factors after general immigration issues.

  10. #10
    Senior Member elarson's Avatar
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    I agree about the freezing in your area. It's a shame, because most of my family is in the midwest (WI, MI, IL). I worked in Germany a lot in the past and probably spent about 2 years in total there, but not much in Bavaria. We are in the process of ranking everything now, so the score will be based on rank. EU countries like Germany and any others except United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark, would be the easiest for us for immigration, with my husband being an EU citizen and me having a permanant EU residence permit. I work in IT.

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