Best Locations to Age Well in the U.S.

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.

That’s because South Dakota is the best state in the country in which to grow old, according to a new study from Caring.com. To arrive at this conclusion, 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.

South Dakota offers high-quality care at prices that are below average, Caring.com says in a press release. The Midwestern states of Iowa and Minnesota are the next two best states in which to grow old, the analysis reveals, followed by Arkansas and Oregon.

Louisiana and West Virginia are tied as the best states in which to hire a home health aide, the analysis states. Meanwhile, North Dakota and Alaska are the top two worst states in which to hire a home health aide.

These rankings match the data found in Genworth’s 2015 Cost of Care Survey, which ranked states based on the median annual cost of hiring a home health aide. Caring.com also considered the reviews of home health agencies in each state to come up with its list of top states for hiring a home health aide, Caring.com Vice President of Sales Katie Roper told Home Health Care News.

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

West Virginia, which ranked 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.

Typical retirement destinations come in the middle of the pack, Caring.com says. Florida, for example, is the 31st best state in which to grow old and 12th best state in which to hire a home health aide; Arizona ranks as the 19th best state in which to grow old and 18th best state in which to hire a home health aide.

“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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Mary Kate Nelson
Assistant Editor at Aging Media Network
When not in the newsroom, Mary Kate can reliably be found reading on her back porch, marathoning TV shows she’s already seen or overspending at Trader Joe’s.