Poll: 1 in 3 Americans Want to Move to Less Populated Areas Because of Pandemic

Kim Glovas
July 04, 2020 - 12:00 pm

A recent Harris Poll shows one-third of Americans, including older Americans, are considering moving to less populated areas because of the pandemic. But some experts suggest that may not be a good idea.

Karen May, assistant professor in the nursing department at Widener University, says moving to rural or even suburban areas to escape the threat of COVID-19 may actually create more problems, especially for older people.

"Infrastructure is very different. Access to public transit, access to grocery stores and pharmacies, all of that is all spread out. So it requires first of all that you have a car. And you have the ability to do that. The other concern is that when people move, it creates stress,” May said.

May says moving is one of the greatest stressors and is not helpful during a pandemic, when many of us are already stressed out.

Nora Super of the Milken Institute for the Future of Aging says another concern is loneliness, which could result from moving away from family and friends.

She says research shows many seniors living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities have reported increased loneliness during the shutdown because visits were suspended.

“You hear several geriatricians and people that work in these nursing homes worry that these residents are actually dying of loneliness,” Super said.

She says steps are being taken to increase Facetime calls and set up Plexiglas barriers so residents can see and hear family and friends at many nursing homes and assisted living centers.

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