New research by mobility specialist Stannah Stairflifts has revealed just how senior-friendly each state in the US is, and there is no surprise who came out on top. Their research looked at important factors that seniors’ value when it comes to enjoying a better quality life as they age. This was uncovered through a survey to over 2000 senior citizens in the US and researched 31 different factors, falling into 4 main categories:
- Finance: Tax benefits available for seniors in each state, the cost of living, property prices and the cost of important services to seniors, such as assisted living and home care costs
- Environment: Climate, pollution and other environmental factors that affect the quality of life
- Health and safety: Hospital availability, life expectancy and crime rates in each state
- Social life and accessibility: Education opportunities for the elderly, leisure activities and important accessibility factors like public transport and food availability
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The Sunshine State of Florida is the best place to live for those over 55
Famous for its vibrant culture, beautiful beaches and year-round warm weather, Florida scored highly across the social life, accessibility and environment categories. This wasn’t too much of a surprise – 37% of the surveyed seniors agreed that Florida was the most senior-friendly state in America, and 25% of American seniors would consider moving there as they age.
Eastern states ranked the highest
Of the states within the top 10, all are on the Eastern side of the country, with a surprise second place ranking for New York State – only 3.5% of Americans surveyed thought the Empire State held senior-friendly attributes. Southeastern states scored the best for finance, enjoying lower property prices and some of the cheapest rates for senior home care and assisted living. And while the Northeastern states ranked lower in financial categories, they did hold their own in environmental factors and safety.
Alabama is the best state in the US for financially savvy over 55s
Sweet home Alabama, the third most senior friendly state ranked first when it comes to finances, thanks to low sales and property taxes, exemptions on social security and well-priced senior living care.
Alaska ranked as the worst state for seniors
This might not come as a surprise to most, the Northernmost state is not home to the most enjoyable weather, but also the stand-alone state scored particularly poorly in terms of safety and health services. The state has the highest violent crime rate in the US.
Important factors seniors' value when looking at relocating
Without a steady income throughout retirement, saving money was one of the biggest factors that seniors consider when thinking about re-locating as they age.
- 57% stated that low house prices was a deciding factor
- 48% said that low taxes would persuade them to transfer to another location
- 37% said they would move to reduce their cost of living
Other reasons for moving included:
- Better weather at 52%
- Low crime rates at 50%
- Senior centers and programs that encouraged involvement in and with the community at 48%
Home is where the heart is, so the old saying goes, so even though some seniors would prefer moving to a new home in the elder years, 35% would rather stay at home, making the modifications necessary to age in place. Main reasons why they want to stay at home? Because their home holds happy memories, and they want to stay close to their family and community.
Long term care and living arrangement decisions aren’t easy to make
“We really wanted to get a better sense of how seniors make long-term living decisions,” said Nathan Clarke, a marketing executive at Stannah. “It can be tricky and there are a lot of factors to consider. This research gave us a better understanding of seniors’ thought process, as well as the unique benefits each state offers. We’re happy to share these insights and hope this guide proves useful for those weighing the benefits of aging in place against moving to a new city or state.”