Family & Lifestyle

Growing Older As An Expat In The Philippines 5 Thoughts

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For those of you who are expats in the Philippines as well as those of you who might be some day, have you thought about what growing older there is going to be like? Subscribe to Love Beyond The Sea, a channel about loving that special Filipina you would go across the world to meet. I took the plunge on May 10, 2015 and have been sharing what I’ve learned since I started this channel.

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When I married my Filipina and immigrated her to America the following year, I hadn’t even contemplated living in the Philippines someday, yet here we are with a house in Davao City that was finished building in 2019. As I’ve said before, when I retire and my mother passes, there doesn’t seem to be much reason to stay in America when my wife will be mid-thirties and have her beloved family and friends in the Philippines. Our family has always been small. I decided we could retire there. My wife didn’t need any convincing, I did, but I am willing to do it for her sake and it just seems like the time would be right.

I can early retire at 62 so that’s the plan Lord willing. There are some things running through my mind I want to share-

My health-It would be tremendous to know that I would be retiring in the Philippines in the pink of health, with boundless energy. I’ve had my right knee replaced, three other surgeries before that on it, three shoulder operations, back surgery and my neck and back again are future possibilities. While these don’t affect my energy level, that isn’t what is once was either. I hope to be able to move around enough to just go to the normal places we’ll need to go and also an occasional special outing. I think it’s probably normal to retire not feeling as spry as you once did, but I just don’t want to retire in the Philippines and already feel like I am limited with what I can do. Fortunately, my wife and I don’t run around a lot so I know she wouldn’t feel like I am depriving her of something she’s used to as I get older.

My future health-I want to be able to get any surgeries caught up by the time we leave, but what about after that? I will be less active there which will be good for my spine, but I am concerned about say, ten years after that and my knee replacement is supposed to have an “expiration date” of twenty years. I want to be able to get good medical care and for the small stuff that should be okay but I do think about if something happens that hasn’t happened before. Will the quality of care be like it is here? If treatment would cost a lot of money then I’d have to return to the states for Medicare at age 65. I’d rather not have to do that.

The slower pace-Currently, making an appointment to see the doctor is easy, it can be done with a phone call and going to labs can be done on line. I have ordered many tests online for my own analysis that I don’t even need to see my doctor about. I can access the results on line or get them in the mail. I think I must assume it will not be as quick and straightforward in the Philippines. If anything goes seriously wrong, time will be of the essence.

The heat-I have a difficult time believing I will be able to embrace the heat there, although I think there are months where it doesn’t feel as bad. How will the heat affect me as I get older? I don’t want to be house bound. Maybe we can build a place to live in a higher elevation to escape the heat from time to time. Maybe I just go out after dark?

How aging will affect my wife-I know, what will be will be, but sometimes I wonder if my wife will end up spending a lot of time tending to my needs, whatever they might be, on account of my health due to my age. One good thing is she won’t be working full time like she is now, and would easily be there for me. Whether we are in America or the Philippines, I believe she will be there for me and having her family so near, I think that will be an advantage I wouldn’t have if we stayed here.

I have had the thought “what would happen if something would happen to my wife?” I mean, to me that’s a terrifying thought because I am so very close to her, but what I tell myself is that something could happen to her before I retire too. If so, I would just stay here in the states but I would still be without her. I wasn’t planning on returning here after retiring in the Philippines unless for some reason living there got to be unbearable politically or unsafe. Once we’re there, I might resign myself to living out the rest of my days there however, I might end up feeling too isolated. Would I even be healthy enough to return to the States?

The bottom line-I’m going to grow old anyway. I don’t know yet exactly what that’s going to be like. What I do know is, if all is well, we’ll be in the Philippines together. I need to see it as a new chapter in my life, the so-called winter of my life. I will need to relish the beautiful surroundings. There will be lovely places to see nearby to visit. I will be away from the hustle and bustle of America life, having worked at this time since the late 70s, that’s 1970s!.

There will be new opportunities there. I hope to make friends with local Filipinos and other expats as well. I must realize that I won’t be alone. I realize that I must be thankful for this new chapter in my life and I will want to make it a good one. I will try to look at it this way-that all the years prior to retiring there, have somehow prepared me for it. I believe all those years without a wife I endured, prepared me for my Amazing Aiza. For all I know, God had many things in store for my life when he brought us together, including one day living in the Philippines. I’ve been there three times and we’ll be going this December, so I am getting my feet wet as far as what it’s like in the Philippines, right where our house is.

God will be with us. If I have to grow older, I want it to be with my Love Beyond the Sea!

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