The Best States To Grow Old In Might Give You Some Ideas For Your Future Retirement Plans
We're all continually growing older, forever on the slow but steady march towards death. Sorry that was so bleak; it's Monday and I'm irritable. But, regardless of my mood or how scary my former statement is, it's the truth — and as it turns out, there are some states it's better to grow old in than others. Growing older comes with a lot of questions and concerns and things to consider; naturally some of those considerations include where you're located, geographically speaking, so hey, if you want to get a start on planning for your retirement, here's something to point you in the right direction.
Caring.com, who released the state-by-state ranking detailing the best places to grow old, is a top online resource for both senior citizens and those caring for them. The website took into consideration quality of living for those over the age of 55, long-term care opportunities, quality of healthcare, support systems for both seniors and caregivers, and the ratings of over 100,000 senior care providers across the country. Their sources ranged from the Gallup-Healthways Well-being Index to the Long-term Scorecard, a comprehensive deep-dive orchestrated by AARP, The Commonwealth Fund, and The SCAN Foundation. I think the word you're looking for is "intense."
And while, no, most people don't like thinking about getting older, taking a look at these states, their quality of life ratings, and the services they offer might be helpful if you're one of the thousands of Millennials moving out of major coastal cities and out to... elsewhere. Possibly to these places. It's never to early to start getting a plan in place for your twilight years, right?
Check out the top seven below, and head on over to Caring.com to see the full list of the best places in which to grow old.
1. South Dakota
Prairies, Mount Rushmore, wiiiiide open spaces — South Dakota is killin' the game in terms of cost and quality of living and access to healthcare. With a population of just over 853,000 residents (that's, um, not very many), South Dakota also has great options when it comes to adventure-seekers: The Badlands, the world's only corn palace (seriously), and the Old West-famous Deadwood, pictured above (yeah, like the TV series).
Having grown up in the Midwest, I feel that I get to say when I hear "Iowa," I think "corn" without it coming off as condescending. But there's more than just corn here (though there's certainly plenty of it): Iowa ranks in the country's top 10 when it comes to quality of life for citizens over the age of 55, is considered to be one of the nation's safest states, and has some seriously beautiful views.
Once I found out that the Minneh-soh-da accent was not a complete media exaggeration, I liked this very North, very cold state much better. Quality of life and levels of education for all ages, not just seniors, are some of the highest in the country in Minnesota, as is the quality of healthcare provided to seniors. Plus the twin cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul) are considered to be a Midwestern hub of creativity, fostering cool communities of visual artists and theater professionals.
If this were a beauty contest, Alaska might win. Considered by many to be the "Last Frontier," Alaska ranks number one in the country for quality of life and quality of healthcare for seniors. The cost of senior housing, on the other hand, is kind of astronomical, which is why Alaska is number four overall. Well, Alaska, you can't win 'em all.
It's been a personal goal of mine to visit Oregon after I realized that it has everything I think is beautiful about the natural world: Rocky beaches, swaths of coastline, spooky forests. And I'm clearly not alone: Oregon was the number one most popular state to move to in 2015. High quality of life, high quality of healthcare, and a slew of long-term options, as well as Oregon's Death with Dignity Act, make it a pretty good place to be. Well, except for those being pushed out due to gentrification.
OK, does anyone remember that early aughts movie Catch & Release ? Probably not, but I do, and while the plot is kind of, um, heartbreaking, the setting — Colorado — is enough to make me re-watch this movie every few years. Everyone looks so rosy-cheeked and ready for a hike! The exact opposite of troll-y, pallid me! Turns out that was not just Hollywood airbrushing: Colorado is routinely voted the Fittest State in America.
Um, duh. I've never been to Hawaii because I never have enough money to travel that far, BUT based on pics it looks amazing. Cost of living is pretty high and continues to climb (let's be real, Hawaii is an island nation that was never intended to support this many humans at once and we kind of all know that deep down), but quality of life and support systems for caregivers are some of the highest in the nation.
Head over to Caring.com for more.