Virginia has scored top honors as the move ‘livable’ state for seniors in the country, due in part to its lower than average home health care costs and its good access to in-home care.
Home health care costs in the Old Dominion average $39,561 annually, which is lower than the national average of $46,197, according to SeniorAdvice, an online directory connecting consumers with senior living and care providers. The Austin-based company recently unveiled its Livability Index, which it is presenting as a resource that can help inform the search for senior living options by offering a more holistic look at certain locations.
To generate the list of most livable states, the Index crunched over 100 data points from sources such as the U.S. Census Bureau and Medicare in order to generate a location’s “SeniorScore.” The score can be broken down into four categories: health and safety, recreation and leisure, finance, and general quality of life.
Virginia’s overall score was 78, compared with a national average of 72. Its component scores were: 65 for health and safety; 63 for recreation and leisure; 75 for finances; and 72 for general quality of life.
In addition to reasonable home health costs, Virginia’s high score for finances stemmed from lower than average property taxes, sales tax, nursing home costs, and assisted living costs, and a low unemployment rate.
In terms of health and safety, Virginia scored highly for its number of home health providers and for its access to Medicare-registered health providers generally.
The top 10 most livable states were:
10. West Virginia
With its average annual temperature of 74.8 degrees fahrenheit, Hawaii scored high (85) in general quality of life, but did not do so well on the home health measures. Its costs for home health averaged $56,337 a year, significantly higher than the national average. It has an average number of home health providers.
Nebraska excelled in the area of finance (69), Oklahoma and Kansas tied for good quality of life (74), and Maryland’s highest score was for health and safety (68).
States with large swaths of wilderness are not as livable for seniors, given that the bottom five states in the rankings were North Dakota, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, and Alaska. Bottom-ranked Alaska has high annual home health costs of $57,956.
Drilling down to metro areas, warm weather locations dominated, with Houston, Miami, Las Vegas, and San Diego all ranking highly.
The Livability Index comes on the heels of the United Health Foundation’s rankings of the healthiest states for seniors. The only state to appear in the top 10 on both lists was Hawaii.
Written by Tim Mullaney