Sociologists have been studying Retirement Migration for a number of years but now that the “Baby Boomers” are hitting retirement age the concept is again becoming a popular topic of conversation.

Over the years there have been a number of studies in Europe discussing the trends and issues around migration of older adults from the North to the Mediterranean coastal regions. They have found that the decision to migrate in old age is mostly motivated by climate, economic issues, health reasons and life cycle issues.

It is the same with American retirees heading south to Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama and even impoverished Nicaragua.

Migration offers great opportunity for entrepreneurs both in Europe and North America. Developers are planning retirement villages and pressure is mounting in the US to allow Medicare, Medicaid and veterans benefits to pay for care in Mexico and elsewhere overseas.

However, experts on both sides of the Atlantic warn that moving to a foreign country may not be the best decision, even if the cost of living is lower. “It’s not the money or the facilities or the experts”, said Bill Thomas, founder of the Eden Alternative, in a recent article. “It’s the connectiveness. It’s very unusual for a person in their 80s to move somewhere new. Part of what makes old age meaningful and worthwhile is community.”