While the overwhelming majority of Americans plan to live in their homes throughout retirement, aging in place may be easier in some cities than others, a recent report of the most caring cities in the country reveals.
Having access to health care is key for remaining healthy at home, but there are other types of services and community features that can set a city apart as being more “caring” than others. WalletHub ranked the most caring cities in the United States by measuring how the 100 most populated cities cared for the community, cared for the vulnerable and homeless and provided care in the workforce.
Cities that take care of seniors by enabling accessibility and providing community services can help older adults remain in their homes longer throughout retirement.
Here are the top 10 most caring cities, as ranked by WalletHub:
1. Boise, Idaho
2. Lincoln, Nebraska
3. Madison, Wisconsin
4. Anchorage, Alaska
5. Chesapeake, Virginia
6. Virginia Beach, Virginia
7. Honolulu, Hawaii
8. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
9. Omaha, Nebraska
10. Scottsdale, Arizona
WalletHub took a look at 26 key metric on how cities care for their communities and provide important services, including poverty rates, social services and the number of personal care aides, some of the most important metrics for seniors who want to age in place.
“Cities with high numbers of personal care aides, nurses, physicians, mental health counselors, paramedics and firefighters will have the ability of taking care of seniors who live at home, and they will most likely have better services to offer than cities with low numbers,” Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst, told Home Health Care News.
Local policies can also have a big impact for homebound seniors, many of whom may have family caregivers that are unpaid for their duties. Experts agree that states and cities that can provide compensation for unpaid caregivers, in some form, would benefit the health of seniors down the line and reduce costs over the long run.
“In the most simple terms, if we don’t pay family members to take care of the children or the elderly, we will be paying farther down the line for taking care of social problems that the lack of adequate care will likely create,” S. Wojciech Sokolowski, senior research associate in the Center for Civil Society Studies at John Hopkins University, told WalletHub. “We will be paying for institutionalization, law enforcement, prisons, hospital emergency room visits and a host of consequential losses that could have been prevented had adequate care been available.”