What is the best way to meet my needs over the next year of the pandemic
May 21, 2020 1:52 PM   Subscribe

My priorities are to live in a warmer climate over the winter, maintain a low stress level, recover from a sickness and reduce the likelihood that I have complications from coronavirus.

- Do I tough it out here in the north and risk cold, reduced sunlight, reduced outdoor mobility and possibly interaction with others?
- Do I move to a warmer climate in the US sometime before the snow flies?
- Do I keep my home base here but head south/west/east for the coldest months?

I live in a state that gets cold in the winter, and usually get a cold or the flu that leads to a nasty cough. I became sick this spring with an illness that could last for months more, up to a year, or become chronic if I'm very unlucky. I know what the sickness is, thanks to a test—it's not COVID. I don't know whether I've had COVID because I couldn't be tested when symptoms first showed up. I'm at risk since I have asthma. I've held it off with medication but I'm not sure my respiratory system would manage if I caught COVID-19.

This illness is marked by deep fatigue and relapses. Being in the sun has been huge for me and I know it would be hard to stay here over the winter. I also think about the fact the virus survives a bit better in cold environments. If it's warm in my house, with people staying inside, I wonder how the increased amount of breathing from multiple people would affect the potential of passing coronavirus along.

Priorities for moving: ability to sit outside and get at least diffused sun, warmth, likelihood of spending time outside, low air pollution, presence of people who can check in on me if I get sick (with COVID or with anything else), availability of health insurance and the ability to switch if moving. I would need the new place to be accessible such that I could walk, carry things, etc., minimally. I am really astonishingly weak from this sickness.

More context:

My state and especially city have been pretty good at responding to the virus. Not the best, far from the worst. I have family and friends here. I also have family and friends in warmer climates, with varying degrees of closeness. There's a relative I would love to stay with in South America, a restful retreat in Spain (ideal, if I could get there), family in a HCOL area of the US, friends in various cities. Long term I would like to be near my HCOL area family, but the cost of living has really held me back. Their setup would be ideal since I could visit one of their gardens and their area has done a good job with responding to the pandemic.

I am concerned about the possibility of my local family getting sick. There are two age 70+ people who, if they got sick, I would want to care for. But I don't know how much to let that guide my decisions. There are other family members who could step in as needed.

I'm self-employed and have health insurance through the exchange.

I have to move out of my current place this summer, so now's the time to think through how the next year looks. Moving takes a toll with this illness; I have to be intentional about how many times I move. And I do not want to serve as a vector. Although I've already been quarantining since mid-March, I do have the ability to do an even deeper quarantine for two weeks before doing anywhere.

I would not think about traveling for at least another year—I am very risk-adverse and conscientious about social distancing—if not for the fact that staying here could adversely affect my health in the long term.

What does the hivemind think? Is there a safe or less risky way to do this? Is it a non-starter (if so, how long do you reckon)? What signs should I be watching to understand what my options are?
posted by rockyraccoon to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
 
Which place will give you the most stability/support? I don't think it's crazy to move; people are moving right now, safely. Given your health, I would prioritize not having to move again. If it were me, that would mean moving closer to what sounds like a supportive family.
posted by snickerdoodle at 2:21 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Stability and support in warm areas: (1) I have few friends and no family in one location, but I'd stay with someone who's committed to my wellbeing and would be up for caregiving if I got sick. However, it's in a state that's not known for good COVID policies. (2) In another spot, some friends and my local family (and good COVID policies) (it's California) but the high cost of living to deal with. (3) A strong community of friends live in a third city. I honestly can't say whether the family in the second location would be more likely to help me out than the friends in the third.
posted by rockyraccoon at 2:31 PM on May 21


Florida has a TERRIBLE health care exchange.
posted by tilde at 2:56 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


Europe is setting up plans to re-open travel this summer. I think Spain should be on the table if you have the legal ability to live and work there or the money to support yourself. Don't underestimate the impact of an overall healthier lifestyle, better food, more relaxed lifestyle and nice dry warm climate.
posted by fshgrl at 3:06 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


I am concerned about the possibility of my local family getting sick. There are two age 70+ people who, if they got sick, I would want to care for. But I don't know how much to let that guide my decisions. There are other family members who could step in as needed.

This is the thing that seems to be the limitation. Do you mean that these folks live near you currently? And you are thinking you'd want to care for them if they get sick with a non-covid thing? Because given your risk factors, I am thinking that traveling back to your current home might be stressful and risky if you do leave. I don't think an international relocation sounds ideal right now.
posted by bluedaisy at 3:35 PM on May 21


I am concerned about the possibility of my local family getting sick. There are two age 70+ people who, if they got sick, I would want to care for.

Given that you're already in a high-risk category for Covid-19 from asthma, and currently run down with a could-turn-chronic illness, I don't think becoming their caregiver in the event of a health crisis can figure in your plans right now. You mention that there are other family members who could provide that care; that's excellent! Please do discuss the situation with them and with the septuagenarians, so that you're all on the same page.

If you can't relocate to a considerably warmer/sunnier climate due to COL, insurance coverage, accessibility, or local support issues, would you derive any benefit from using an artificial source of sunlight? Is it possible you're improving due to increasing levels of Vitamin D, and could that be sustained with an OTC supplement or a doctor's prescription?
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:48 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


Moving house is a far far bigger risk factor than staying put. Stick with what you know, concentrate on the strengths you already have in your house, area, knowledge of local people and amenities.

Moving house is a huge deal, especially to an entirely new State. And once you are there, after all the tribulations, you are now in a new place, which you are going to have to relearn to live safely in from scratch.

If you want to protect the elderly people in your family then concentrate on how you can help them in your current circumstances. Risking a move is not the solution.
posted by 0bvious at 5:34 PM on May 21


I live in a third world country and everyone here — local and expat — is worried for people living in the U.S. From the outside America’s COVID response looks very chaotic and doesn’t seem to be settling down.

Spain fumbled their initial response to coronavirus but they seem to have their act together now. They are planning on opening for tourist traffic in June. In your shoes if I could I would definitely go.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 5:59 PM on May 21 [4 favorites]


I stuck it out in the cold, utterly miserable every endless winter, for over a decade. Also had a health issue that worsened in the winter. Moving to sunny West Coast was one of the top 3 decisions of my life and improved it in almost every way. Only regret is I didn’t get out here sooner.
posted by namemeansgazelle at 9:40 PM on May 21 [4 favorites]


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