Simply living in a house does not make it a home. Over your lifetime, you have surely lived in a city or even a specific house that just never felt like you belonged there. As your golden years approach, it is important to find a place that you can call home in order to make your plan of aging in place a reality. There is so much that goes into creating the perfect home environment at any age, but as you get older there are unique aspects of a community that will stand out.
When selecting a location to live out the rest of your years, your choice is about far more than some pretty scenery and the proximity to family members. The location you choose has to have easy access to great medical care, providers that accept Medicare Advantage plans, and access to quality long-term care . And that is only skimming the surface of a handful of medical considerations. According to the Milken Institute’s Center for the Future of Aging, there are 84 data indicators that make a location ideal for an aging population, such as transportation, community engagement, healthcare, education, wellness, living arrangements, financial security, and employment.
According to the independent analysis of the Milken Institute, these are the American cities that made it to the top of the list for aging in place in 2017:
Top 5 Small Cities
- Iowa City, Iowa
- Manhattan, Kansas
- Ames, Iowa
- Columbia, Missouri
- Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Top 5 Large Cities
- Provo-Orem, Utah
- Madison, Wisconsin
- Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina
- Salt Lake City, Utah
- Des Moines, Iowa
Not surprisingly, AARP surveys consistently find that the vast majority of Americans 65 years old and older want to remain in their current homes and communities instead of moving to a retirement community. When given the option between remaining in the place you have called home for many years and uprooting your life, wouldn’t you choose the same? While it is important to have certain amenities nearby, most aging adults see the value of aging in place. Retirement communities do a wonderful job of creating the picturesque image of an all-inclusive lifestyle with rolling golf courses, buzzing community centers, and daily housekeeping, but many retirees prefer to maintain their independence and the familiarity of home.
Many of the cities that made it to the top of the list, have one unexpected trait in common. They are home to a prominent academic institution. College towns may not be the first place you think of when you are contemplating your retirement, but they offer highly rated health systems, safe neighborhoods, innovative transit systems, and strong cultural amenities.
Whether you are looking to relocate before you hit retirement or are contemplating staying in your current community, consider discussing your options with someone who knows the ins and outs of the area. You can contact an insurance professional to discuss the benefits available to you in your local communities. This will help you to decide if it is an ideal location where you will feel comfortable living out the rest of your golden years. While data points can help you determine what is the best location on paper, nothing can beat that gut feeling of knowing that you have found somewhere that you can truly call home.