Some states are far more welcoming to seniors than other states. If you are thinking about relocating when you retire, you need to know which places provide services and amenities and address the issues that can make your life easier. Become aware of things that will impact your well-being as you age, so you can determine which states roll out the carpet for seniors.
Questions You Should Ask Before Deciding Where to Move
Many people choose a place to retire, because they always wanted to live in that state or area. While that is a valid reason, you should dig a little deeper to make sure you will be happy and comfortable, if you move there. Some of the topics to explore before taking the plunge include:
- Is public transportation available? Find out if it is accessible, in case you have or develop mobility issues. See if it is affordable, and whether it serves the places in town where you will want to go.
- Check out the public parks and walking trails. Walking is an excellent form of exercise and fresh air. Getting out of the house can prevent social isolation.
- Are there social opportunities for older adults? Explore the number of senior centers and their activities. “Age-friendly” communities often host senior activities through the local government, public library or parks and recreation department.
- How convenient is the medical care? You do not want to have to drive 30 miles each way to see a good doctor or 100 miles for a trauma hospital.
- Check out the housing costs. You might have wanted to live in San Jose, California ever since you first heard the song, but as one of the most expensive places in America to live, you might not be able to afford housing there.
- What are your employment prospects? Many older adults want or need to work part-time. Is the local community friendly toward mature workers?
States That Invest in Senior Life Issues
If a state is a member of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities, it will address issues that are relevant to the well-being of mature residents. These communities work on the social, economic and environmental factors that can impact your safety, comfort and health.
The network does not limit membership to states. Towns, cities, and counties are part of the network to provide resources that improve the quality of life for seniors. Communities in the network might not be as age-friendly as they would like to be, but they are pushing forward with initiatives to improve things for their older residents.
The network currently has four states (Florida, Massachusetts, Colorado and New York) and 368 communities across the country as members. These areas have made a commitment to make life better for their seniors and people of all ages. Network members evaluate their local needs and create action plans to address those needs.
Members of the network tackle such issues as:
- How welcoming and friendly the area is to older adults,
- Safe bike paths, lanes and trails,
- Compliant sidewalks, curbs, pedestrian walkways and streets,
- Economic opportunities for seniors to own businesses or get jobs,
- Affordable housing, including non-traditional “tiny” houses,
- Public health services,
- Public places and outdoor spaces,
- Social activities, and
When it comes to retirement, look before you leap!
AARP. “What You Need to Know About Age-Friendly States.” (accessed May 22, 2019) https://www.aarp.org/disrupt-aging/stories/info-2019/age-friendly-states.html
AARP. “AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities.” (accessed May 23, 2019) https://www.aarp.org/livable-communities/network-age-friendly-communities/
Suggested Key Terms: age-friendly states and communities, the best states and cities for older adults