Dear Annie: I have always dreamed of moving to Memphis, Tennessee, and would really like to do so. It costs so much to get a hotel there, so I know I would need to find an apartment to rent pretty quickly. Can you give me some advice on what I can do as soon as I get there to get situated? I do not have a job lined up, but I would like to relocate there as soon as possible.
— Dreaming of Memphis
Dear Dreaming: First, save. Second, save some more. You should have enough set aside to last at least three to six months. When calculating your living expenses, take into account rent, groceries, utilities and other daily expenses such as ordering out from restaurants. Be realistic now so that you’re not sorry later.
If you can safely do so, travel to Memphis ahead of time to look at apartments. Having a place lined up makes the moving process simpler and less expensive. You’ll be able to move right in, with no worries as to where to store your things, and no need to drop hundreds or thousands of dollars on staying at a hotel room indefinitely.
If you are apartment-hunting from afar, then be cautious. On websites such as Craigslist, scammers will often advertise properties that they don’t actually own, in an attempt to steal the fee for a “rental application” or security deposit. It would be safer to work with a rental agent or go through rental management companies.
Start applying to jobs before you move. It’s harder to get a job in a city in which you don’t yet live, but not impossible. Let potential employers know a firm date by when you will be in town and able to work. Having a job will make the transition smoother financially and also socially, as it gives you a chance to meet new people right off the bat.
Lastly, a big asterisk to all this: I’d strongly encourage you to wait on moving until the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided.
Dear Annie: I have complex PTSD from the first 18 years of my life involving sexual abuse and witnessing violent abuse on my brother and mother.
I have found a wonderful therapist and have quieted a lot of the guilt, shame and night terrors but I continue to have low self-esteem, anxiety and depression that I choose not to medically treat because of being 54 and not wanting to increase my chances at dementia. Because of this trauma, am I likely to get dementia because of the damage that was caused from years of abuse?
— Concerned About Consequences
Dear Concerned: I am so sorry for what you went through and so relieved to hear you have a therapist whom you like. You raise an important issue. The available scientific research does indicate that the stress of PTSD can increase one’s risk of dementia. A review published in September 2020 found that people who suffer from PTSD are up to twice as likely to develop dementia later in life. The exact reasons for this are unknown. A 2018 study noted that PTSD increases levels of cytokines (proteins that trigger immune responses), which cause inflammation that may damage the brain. So, it’s important that you get appropriate and comprehensive mental health care. Talk to your physician and your therapist about what the best course of treatment might be.
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