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Where Will You Retire?

Category: , Posted:21 Aug 2010 | 06:00 am

The Phuket Gazette.
DURING these rainy days of "no season" I have turned to reading. It's either that or a day drinking given the current mood in Phuket's property market.
Robert Putman's 1995 article Bowling Alone, published in the Journal of Democracy, makes for an interesting read, and also makes you wonder about Phuket's sociology. Putman addressed the downward spiral of social capital in the US and the disengagement of people from their conformist existence. He used the example of a decline in bowling league memberships, in contrast to an increase in individuals who were taking up the sport. To shun groups and go it alone seemed to be Putman's underlying message. But does this idea bare fruit for retirees on Phuket? Let's discuss.
For a number of years, a lot of ink has been spilled (arguably more conjecture than actual market research) on Phukets ability to attract retirees and other niche markets of investors who are in need of assisted living facilities and retirement homes.
While assisted living facilities are lacking, we are blessed with two international hospitals which are, without a doubt, a key demand for foreigners looking to relocate to Phuket.
In comparison to Bali, Phuket's medical services are superior.
There's more to be thankful for.
While internet services are still not perfect, and the traffic-clogged roads and infrastructure groan under an increasing population, our international schools, marinas, golf courses, hotels and shopping choices are still shining stars.
For those keen on developing assisted living communities, the challenges remain great given the diverse nationalities on Phuket.
A little bit of this, a little bit of that: Brits, Aussies. Americans, Kiwis. Japanese, French. Italians, Scandinavians. Koreans, South African – the list goes on forever
For the most part, we can take America out of the equation. While there are a number of us here, there are a number of factors that keep American retirees away.
Door-to-door travel time, the number of people dependent on US healthcare organizations, and for many, a sense of xenophobia with regard to Thai medical services, all chip away at the numbers wishing to retire here.
Although there is a strong Scandinavian and German contingent living on Phuket, generally speaking, these nationalities have high-standard retirement homes in their native lands and the combination of reliable and affordable healthcare and close-knit families are reasons not to retire here.
Phuket for the elderly is hard work, especially for foreigners. Community and friends are an important part of the equation to consider when choosing a retirement location. Bowling alone, it seems, is not the fun option.
Some find it easier than others. For those who retire or move to places like Rawai, there seems to be a strong sense of community where People can find like-minded neighbors.
And there is some variety on Phuket.
Looking at the melting pot south of Central Festival there remains a strong attraction for families, with good amenities and social networking opportunities.
In many ways residents have created their own second family in the south of the island. Simply put, there are factions of Phuket retirees who have a ball here. If Putman was indeed right with his shunning of groups ideology in the US, he might be surprised by the social demographics in Phuket.

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