Mobile Midwesterners: The Impact of Migration on Aging, Health, and Community


  • Matthew Dalstrom Rockford College



Aging, Winter Texans, health, migration, RV Parks


As the population in the US ages, there is increasing need to study aging and its relationship to quality of life, health, and community. Quality of life is closely correlated with belonging to a community. Unfortunately, as seniors age there is a propensity for them to become increasingly isolated as their mobility decreases and their friends and family members die or move away. As a result, some seniors in the Midwest have begun to migrate to RV parks in the Lower Rio Grande Valley (“LRGV”) in south Texas that function as temporary retirement communities for the winter. While there, they reconnect with friends and family members and engage in a variety of social, civic, and exercise related activities. Further, they participate in a variety of health seeking behaviors such as health screenings, trading medications, and using the Mexican health care system. This article explores these practices and discusses how Winter Texans choose the LRGV, how new members become integrated into RV parks, and how life in the parks impacts health and access to health care services. It also highlights the impact that seasonal migration has on community formation, health seeking behaviors, and the diversity of retirement communities.