Best U.S. States in Which to Grow Old

Americans deciding where to spend their over-55 years shouldn’t choose a state based solely on the promise of sunny, warm weather. In fact, they should set their sights on the sometimes cold and gloomy Midwest.

South Dakota, which offers high-quality care at prices that are below average, is the best state in the country in which to grow old overall, according to a new study from Caring.com. The Midwestern states of Iowa and Minnesota are the next two best states in which to grow old, followed by Arkansas and Oregon.

For the study, the senior living referral agent analyzed health care, financial and quality of life data from sources including Genworth’s 2015 Cost of Care Survey, Gallup-Healthways’ 2015 State of American Well-Being report, more than 100,000 senior housing reviews on Caring.com, and the Long-term Scorecard, a joint effort by The Commonwealth Fund, AARP and The SCAN Foundation.

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West Virginia, which ranks last in both health care and quality of life, is the worst state in which to grow old, the study reveals. Indiana, Kentucky, New York and New Jersey come in 46th, 47th, 48th and 49th, respectively.

Missouri, Georgia, Utah, North Carolina and Louisiana are the top five best states, respectively, in which to live in an assisted living facility, the analysis states. Meanwhile, Delaware, New Jersey and Alaska are the top three worst states in which to live in an assisted living facility.

These rankings match the data found in Genworth’s 2015 Cost of Care Survey, which ranked states based on the median annual cost a single-occupancy, one-bedroom assisted living unit. Caring.com also considered the reviews of assisted living facilities in each state to come up with its list of top states for assisted living, Caring.com Vice President of Sales Katie Roper told Senior Housing News.

Oklahoma, similarly, is the most affordable in which to have a private skilled nursing room. Texas is the most affordable state in which to have a semi-private skilled nursing room.

There is typically an inverse relationship between the cost and quality of senior care, Caring.com noted in a press release. Arkansas, for example, comes in second for quality of life/care, but 50th for cost of care.

Typical retirement destinations rank in the middle of the pack, Caring.com says. Florida, for example, is the 31st best state in which to grow old; Arizona ranks as the 19th best state in which to grow old.

“The main takeaway from this research is that the traditional retirement destinations don’t always offer the best mix of cost and quality,” Dayna Steele, Caring.com’s chief caring expert, said in a prepared statement.

Written by Mary Kate Nelson

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