The idea of moving to a warm and beautiful place where you can live out your retirement years gracefully and in comfort is a lovely image. As nice as it sounds, retiring to a city based solely on geography and weather can cause you to overlook the physical and logistical challenges that confront many older adults. Retired seniors need access to quality healthcare and adequate senior care facilities; a moderate cost of living; and an economy strong enough to provide employment opportunities for seniors who want to augment their retirement savings. These are the considerations that make the eight cities listed in this article such good retirement destinations for older adults.
#1: Sarasota, Florida
With a beautiful harbor and white sand beaches, Sarasota is a dream destination for many people. It’s a great place for seniors because the cost of living is manageable, and there’s an abundance of assisted living, independent living, and memory care facilities in the Sarasota area. Generous philanthropic funding has helped give the area a leading-edge healthcare establishment, one that’s attractive to physicians and researchers who have flocked to the area, attracted by the location, climate, a growing population and an emphasis on quality healthcare.
#2: Lancaster, Pennsylvania
A friendly standard of living makes Lancaster an appealing place for seniors living on a fixed income. A broad range of senior living and retirement facilities enhances the attraction for older adults, and the community’s healthcare industry ranks highly in terms of access, affordability and outcomes, which are reflected in the city’s healthy citizens: more than 70 percent of Lancastrians lead healthy lifestyles and maintain healthy weight levels. Lancaster is also well-served by healthcare and medical research professionals and facilities affiliated with Pennsylvania’s leading colleges and universities.
#3: San Antonio, Texas
A vibrant, multi-ethnic culture and low cost of living (which is surprising for a large Texas city) place San Antonio high on many “Best of” city lists. The local median home sales price is just over $200,000, lower than the median national price. The city of San Antonio is also quite proactive about providing senior-friendly services, including transportation, and it offers 10 comprehensive, full-service senior centers.
#4: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grand Rapids’ senior-friendly attitude is manifested in its Senior Neighbors organization, which each year helps thousands of seniors remain independent by making available essential care services. With 49 home healthcare agencies, Grand Rapids is well positioned to help the area’s older adults age safely at home. The cost of living is also friendly to newcomers: the median cost of a new home is $157,200, well below the national average
#5: El Paso, Texas
El Paso is one of the safest cities in Texas, with crime levels well below those of places like Houston and Dallas/Ft. Worth. The city’s assisted living resources are excellent for seniors who require help with daily activities, and it’s affordable: a single-bedroom dwelling in El Paso’s assisted living facilities costs an average of $27,000 per year, compared with the state average of just over $40,000. There are plenty of amenities and recreational and leisure opportunities for seniors, thanks to the area’s more than 10 senior centers, excellent shopping and eclectic dining.
#6: McAllen, Texas
One of America’s southernmost cities, the Rio Grande Valley community of McAllen enjoys a long warm season along with a cost of living 16 points below the national average. McAllen is something of a shopping mecca in South Texas, with more than 40 shopping centers along with outlet shopping. McAllen is situated on a migratory bird path between North and South America, making the area one of the nation’s best for bird watching. In recent years, McAllen has attracted national attention for a remarkable improvement in the affordability and quality of healthcare services.
#7: Daytona Beach, Florida
Daytona Beach has long been a haven for seniors looking for gracious living in a warm and sunny seaside climate. There’s a wealth of senior housing options (16 independent living and 22 assisted living facilities) with an exhaustive list of amenities, as well as senior apartments ranging from affordable to luxury. For seniors who enjoy an active lifestyle, the Daytona Beach area is home to numerous state parks, golf courses and, of course, plenty of beachfront.
#8: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
If you’re a senior looking for a livable combination of independence and assisted living, look no further than Pittsburgh. The Western Pennsylvania city, which annually lands in Livability.com’s list of the 10 most livable cities, is a haven for older adults looking for an excellent assisted living facility. If you’re unable to live on your own but don’t want to move into a nursing facility, Pittsburgh may be the perfect place for you. Long gone is the Pittsburgh of steel foundries, heavy industry and pollution. Today, the City of Bridges is a cultural and intellectual haven with some of the finest healthcare services in Pennsylvania.
The cities reviewed in this article were selected because they combine senior-friendly care and access to quality healthcare with a manageable cost of living and appealing senior amenities (and, in some cases, excellent weather). Where you choose to retire is a personal matter but, if you’re an older adult, it makes sense to focus on communities with plenty of good senior care facilities and outstanding healthcare.