Survey considers senior-friendly community engagement over climate and taxes
You will not find any cities in Florida, Arizona or California, traditional retirement hotspots, among the “Best Cities for Successful Aging” as ranked by the Miliken Institute. This recently released survey looks beyond such factors as sunny climate and low taxes to consider communities that fully engage its senior residents.
What is successful aging? Among the factors the Miliken Institute considered are “general indicators, health care, wellness, living arrangements, transportation and convenience, financial, education and employment, and community engagement.” Common themes in determining their rankings include “opportunities to work and volunteer, a learning environment, top-notch health care, an active lifestyle, great connectivity, and easily accessible conveniences.”
An estimated 77 million baby boomers are making the transition into retirement. They are healthier, more active, and will love longer than their predecessors. Quoting a recent survey by AARP, the Miliken Institute report notes that up to 90 percent of older Americans want to age in place. The rankings were compiled “to enhance their communities so they can (age in place) with the greatest quality of life possible.”
What major city tops the list for seniors ages 65-79? Provo-Orem, UT gets kudos for its healthy and active lifestyle, access to quality care, vibrant economy that cultivates learning and enrichment, and the sense of a safe and secure community.
Boston-Cambridge-Quincy are the places to be for those 80 and over. Despite the high cost of living, high commuting times and high taxes, the Institute rankings give high marks for its high rate of employment for seniors, good public transportation, and plentiful medical professionals.
Among small cities, Sioux Falls, SD is tops for ages 65-79, according to the survey. While not the most affordable or most convenient, it does boast a "booming economy and solid financial base.” The survey also hails it as a “senior-friendly state.”
Those ages 80 and up might want to give Iowa City a try. The Institute rankings praise the city’s plentiful medical specialists, comparatively low unemployment among small cities and high college enrollment.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.