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Life, Stage Three

Malkie Schulman

You’ve finished raising your kids and your career is nearing an end. You miss those grandchildren terribly and want to help out your daughter with babysitting and dishes. While relocating in middle age isn’t always easy, the rewards can be great.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

As their children married and their home emptied, Yissachar and Elka Schwartz felt like they were walking around in an enormous house. In fact, it was once too small to accommodate everybody. Yissachar was retired and their income was drastically reduced, but their expenses remained about the same. “Our five-bedroom house in Queens was getting too expensive to keep up,” Elka says, “especially since we were supporting a few of our marrieds. It was time to downsize.” Most of their kids lived in Lakewood, so that was the natural place for the Schwartzes to consider. They found a two-bedroom-plus-study house in an adult community, 15 minutes away from the grandkids. “We’d been [to Lakewood] many times before and every time we visited, my husband would daven in the same shul,” she says. “By the time we moved, he was already comfortable.” Moving is one of the ten most stressful life events, up there with divorce and loss of a loved one — and that’s for folks of any age. For those who relocate in their 50s or later, there are additional stressors, chief among them leaving a longtime home and adjusting to new routines and surroundings. Most people don’t realize how deeply comforting their routines are — whether shopping in the same stores every week, attending the same daily shiur, or hobnobbing with good friends on Shabbos. It’s hard to get off the road when you’ve been traveling the same one for 40 years.

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