Being an  O50 (over fifty years old), answering this question is the number one reason that we moved to Ohio!

My last post I shared in depth our story of Bob’s health journey. If you have not read that post yet, this post may not make sense to you so here is the link:



Our timing to relocate was not calculated until………

After the shock of Bob’s diagnosis, we began to deal with the reality of how our future now would change almost all our plans. I will never forget us sitting in our living room at Cypress (what we called our beloved restored 1930’s home) having the hardest discussion of our married life. Understanding that decisions on many levels had to be considered, the toughest decision of them all was asking each other where you’d want to live alone? In other words, living without the other one.

Now realize we didn’t assume that it would be me living without Bob. Life gives us no guarantees so this question applied to Bob too. After listing our options of staying in our Wichita home, downsizing to a another home in Wichita, or relocating to another state. Since we have no family in Wichita, we decided to relocate.

Okay now where? We have 3 adult “kids” and their families in Colorado and Texas so everyone assumed that we would move to one of these states. This is where Bob and I had to get real with each other talking and talking and talking about the pros and cons of moving to  either of those two states.

So then why Ohio?

Understandably, our choice to move to Ohio perplexed and actually shocked many friends and family. We were misunderstood and judged over why wouldn’t we relocate to be near our families who we love and adore?

However all six adults were working full time with most of our grandchildren who were now in junior high or high school and you know what that means……beyond busy lifestyles! They all can hardly keep up with their demanding schedules so where would we fit in? 

We have always been long distance grandparents, spending most of our travel dollars and time visiting our families and this will not change. But we decided that this was our time for however long we were blessed to share together.  

After many more discussions of where to move in NE Ohio, we concluded we wanted these goals to be met, but it wasn’t easy to find what we wanted and needed!


 Our checklist

Our top non-negotiable goal was to find an aging in place downsized home. We wanted all outside maintenance included,  like many condo arrangements provide. We chose to live in a villa as they’re often called to maintain our privacy and home like setting that we have always loved. 

However, finding this home model option proved to be a major challenge. This is exactly is why I included this chapter in my Design Smarts book:


This is one of the hottest trends for several demographics but especially for the O50s. How cool is it to walk to neighborhood shops, restaurants, and even entertainment? We love this more and more since we never realized how awesome it is not to drive to these amenities. 


Our neighborhood fits this requirement with a clubhouse, golf course, pool, and walking options but what really attracted us to our exact home was the number of villas…only 26. This gives the opportunity to actually know our neighbors and we often socialize with them. We love this benefit!

But mainly,  our community is of the very special connection to our extended families and long time friendships. I have a lot of family in this area, plus Bob and I met at Ohio University so there’s that wonderful attraction as well.

High school friends doing “our thing”

Girlfriends living in Salem. We all love getting together.

Our reasons to move to Ohio were for exactly this purpose, to have community and not to be solely dependent on our adults kids and grandchildren. We also did not want to add to their burden to make sure we were included in their lives. Only each unique family dynamic can make the call that we did acknowledging how extremely tough and heart wrenching this decision is for most of us. 

Asking this extremely hard question has paid off in many other  ways we could have not anticipated. Now after 7 months, we are finally settled in. We are having the time of our life meeting new awesome friends while reconnecting and savoring our precious longtime friends. I am also thrilled to be close to my extended families to celebrate holidays and family events together. I have sorely missed this for over 50 years since moving away after college and getting married.


Now we all realize that life will take many turns, expected and unexpected ones, right? So whether you are single or married, I would advise you all to start contemplating these hard life questions for your futures. I would also advise you all to begin listing your wants and your needs in your “next life” living  experiences. Because one thing is certain in life, change will indeed happen. Therefore,  don’t be caught unprepared when your changes do occur. Be Design SMARTS by starting to prepare now, regardless your age or life stage. No one will win bigger than you will!

Next post, my life now after overcoming expected and unexpected challenges of our major relocation life transition.

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Mitzi Beach DesignSmarts Front Cover

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  1. Leslie Carothers


    I love this post. I really did wonder why you all went to OH vs. coming here to Texas or going out to Colorado where your children are, and now I know why, and it makes perfect sense.

    Thanks for sharing this…. I think this post is going to be so helpful for a lot of people going through this same decision making process right now.

    Personally, I went through it several years ago, when I moved from Minnesota back to Texas and didn’t move to Houston proper, where I had lived for 20+ years before moving to MN for 3 years, but moved down farther south, to League City, near Galveston, to be 5 minutes from my Mom and 10 minutes from my brother, sister and nephews.

    In other words, I chose the *move closer to family option*, vs. *move closer to my long term friends & community* option, but that’s because I needed to be able to be as close to Mom as possible, to make it easier on me to see her more frequently & care for her. The benefit has been that my brother and SIL live here, and all 3 of my nephews, so now, we are all very close, closer than we’ve ever been before, and that also has the added benefit of making me feel more secure, too.

    Again: thanks for sharing it’s a decision so many will be facing in the coming years.

  2. Connie Walden

    Love you sweet lady, “smart” lady❣️

    • Mitzi

      I so loved being with you at Table Connie! Your depth of wisdom always brings me fresh “light”
      Love you back!

  3. Lisa Peck

    Mitzi: Asking the question where would you want to live on your own was a brave, vulnerable and smart way to frame this decision and I am continuing to learn from you. I might gently bring this up to my husband. We still have children at home and I am approaching 60. Starting to frame it this way is a smart way to think before we make our plans for our next home.

    • Mitzi

      I am honored that you being exceptional in your Design Smarts are learning from me Lisa!
      This is exactly why I call you Design Smarts as one of the characteristics is an open MINDSET to life long learning from others.
      It is a tricky subject to discuss but one that is not to be avoided. None of us know at any given time what our future could look like. I wish you success in answering this very difficult question.

  4. Janet Lorusso

    Thank you for sharing your process in making this decision that is on the mind of every O50 that I know! We are all wrestling with the pros and cons of where to live – especially in my area where the cost of housing is so high. So much to think about, so thank you for your openness!

    • Mitzi

      Your comment Janet means a ton to me as you are my primary target market. Why? Because you are at. A critical age that preparation is possible by choosing your future not making do by lack of planning. As a designer, you know more than anyone nothing good comes from lack of a plan in home project or life stages. Thank you so much for your comment! Xo

  5. Margo

    It seems no matter what choice you make, someone doesn’t either like or understand it. We downsized to a home on the lake where we had enjoyed a cottage getaway for a number of years, selling our home of more than 23 years. While we lived in our home, my son would maybe visit at Christmas instead spending time with us at the lake. Once we bought a permanent home here he was very upset and now he doesn’t visit because we are too far away. We are one hour from his home versus the 35 minutes it used to take him to visit our old home. We just don’t understand it. I’ve come to the conclusion that you can’t make long term plans, we just don’t know what life will bring. While downsizing seemed appropriate at the time, it would seem that we should have looked at even further down the road. Instead we chose what we thought would be a fun filled place for family and friends to enjoy.
    I do hope your husband recovers from this challenge and that you are able to enjoy each other in retirement.

    • Mitzi

      Dear Margo, Yes, I certainly hear you that you cannot please everyone all the time but we can do what is best for our own well being because in the end, this is what matters for our wellness physically and , emotionally. Your son will eventually understand or not but that is his choice.
      Thank you for your kind thoughts for my BobBob and me! Xo

  6. Mary Ann Benoit

    Being an 050 myself, I love my beautiful home in Alaska but sometimes wonder how I will feel about the snow and ice as I get older. Great post on things to think about and happy for you for making the decision that was right for you, regardless of what others may think. Thanks for sharing.

    • Mitzi

      Yes Mary Ann, this is your time to at least start your exit plan since reality is that without all the other variables, just your weather and accessibility for help says this could be a major challenge in your later life stages.
      We loved our home we left! My heart and soul was in that beloved home but in the end, it truly was only a home.
      Thank you for affirming our decision! Xo

  7. Michelle

    A brave move and decision you made for the next chapter of your life. Always your fan!

  8. Mitzi

    Michelle thank you so much for your encouraging comment and especially for being my fan that is soooo appreciated! Xo

  9. Sheri Bruneau

    While I’m not quite 50 yet (the big day is this summer), my husband and I are already thinking ahead. We’ve gone to look at ‘age in place’ homes in our city. We’d like to be fully prepared. Thank you for sharing your story! It truly is inspiring.

    • mitzi beach

      Sheri as sharp as you are even not 50 yet, perhaps you will be coming up with more housing options for the huge demographics of O50s. One of my greatest joys would be for someone to come up to me in the years ahead and say, “I heard you, and this is another housing option”

      Regrdless though, I know that you will be doing an fabulous next home for you and your husband.

  10. Linda Merrill

    Thanks for sharing your journey with us Mitzi! I’m so glad your husband is doing well and you’re enjoying your new life. It can be so easy to bow to the pressure others put on us when making these decisions, but we’re the only one’s who know what’s best for us!

    • mitzi beach

      thank you so much for your comment Linda that truly wraps it all up in a nutshell. We have to live our lives the best we know how and often this goes against the grain of the “normal”. xo

  11. Lori Carpenter

    Your new life looks fabulous on both of you! Congratulation, growing old is hard, but a good plan makes it doable.

  12. mitzi beach

    Hi. Lori! Thank you so much for your sweet comment!
    And spot on with your wording that growing is is a challenge but preparation makes it all so much better.
    Hope you are rocking your world and I have no doubt that you are. xo


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