Showing posts with label aging well. Show all posts
Showing posts with label aging well. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Where NOT to Retire

While not all of us have the option to retire to our "dream" locations, there is no doubt that some areas are better suited to retirees than others.  As a result, rather than focusing on the "best" places to retire, some researchers have been studying the worst places to grow old ... the locations you will want to avoid, if at all possible.

There are various reasons why one state or community might be worse than others ... lack of services for the elderly, high crime rates, low life expectancy, limited or non-existent public transportation, etc.

Based on different criteria, below is information about some of the places where you might want to either avoid growing old or take steps to minimize the problems of aging of in these locations.

Five Worst States to Grow Old

According to an article on Yahoo Homes, below are the states where the elderly have an average life expectancy of less than 80 years of age, where violent crime is among the highest in the nation, and where the educational level of senior citizens is lower than the national average (and education often translates to higher income, better health and longer lives).

1.  Mississippi
2.  Louisiana
3.  West Virginia
4.  Arkansas
5.  Nevada

Of course, even within these states, a person with a high retirement income, who feels they live in a safe community with plenty of access to the services they need, would still be able to have a satisfying retirement.  However, retirees in those states may need to do more advance planning to make sure they have taken all the necessary precautions before they become old and more vulnerable.

Cities with the Highest Crime Rate

Regardless of other factors, most senior citizens are not going to want to live in the middle of cities that have a high crime rate.  Listed below are the twenty cities in America with the highest crime rates.  If you want to see the entire list of the top 100 cities, you can use the link at the bottom of this article:

1. Camden, NJ
2.  Chester, PA
3.  Detroit, MI
4.  Saginaw, MI
5.  Oakland, CA
6.  Bessemer, AL
7.  Flint, MI
8.  Atlantic City, NJ
9.  Wilmington, DE
10.  Memphis, TN
11.  Alexandria, LA
12.  Myrtle Beach, SC
13.  Harvey, IL
14.  St. Louis, MO
15.  Newburgh, NY
16.  Cleveland, OH
17.  Homestead, FL
18.  Baltimore, MD
19.  Little Rock, AR
20.  Rockford, IL

There were some surprises on this list.  For example, I was shocked to see the popular community of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina ranked at number 12 for crime.  In addition, I was surprised that Washington, DC did not make the top 20.  (Washington is actually number 30)

Of course, many of the above communities have safer suburbs within a short drive of the inner cities.  As a result, if you have relatives in those areas and you want to live near them, it becomes a little more important to make sure you check the crime rate in various neighborhoods before you get settled.  You may be able to find a retirement neighborhood or apartment complex that is safe, or move to a nearby suburb with a lower crime rate.  What you do not want to do is ignore the crime rate until you become frail and vulnerable.

When I was a Realtor, we often had people contact the police department and get the incident report for a specific neighborhood, if we had any question about the crime rate.  For example, while a general area in a city might have a high crime rate, a particular high rise condo complex or a nearby gated housing development might have a low incident report.  You will want to know both the general crime rate and the incident report before making a final decision, especially if you are moving into a unfamiliar or questionable area.

Make Sure Public Transportation is Available

Another concern for people who are planning their retirement should be public transportation.  In a study conducted by Dr. Angela Curl at the University of Missouri, many people are negatively impacted when they can no longer drive ... even if they have a spouse who still drives.  Dr. Curl discovered that when one partner stops driving, both spouses become much less likely to work or volunteer.  It also becomes more complicated for either person to socialize.

When one person becomes responsible for doing all the driving for the household, it is more difficult for either of them to maintain their outside interests and connections as they age.

While this problem may not be completely resolved with access to public transportation, it can help reduce the impact on the individual or couple.

As a result, you may not want to retire in an area that is so rural that retirees will be completely dependent on their own ability to drive ... since a time comes when nearly everyone will have to give up their driver's license. On the other hand, if you live in an urban area, you need to consider whether you will feel safe using the local public transportation as you age or whether there are viable alternatives ... such as occasionally using a taxi for medical visits or shopping. 

Proximity to Medical Facilities

We are fortunate in the United States that most communities have access to basic medical care.  However, as you age it becomes more likely that you will need specialists, particularly if you develop cancer, need kidney dialysis, or require open-heart surgery.  One factor you will want to consider is how far you might have to travel to receive specialized care, especially if you already know you have a chronic health condition.  While you may not want to live in an inner city, you might want to reconsider the idea of retiring to a remote mountain cabin or island.  When my husband and I were young, we always thought it would be fun to retire on Catalina Island, off the coast of Southern California.  Now that we are of retirement age, we understand that it might be more complicated than we realized ... our children would have to take a ferry to visit us and medical facilities on the island are limited.

Bottom line:  Once you decide the general area where you are going to retire, you need to give thought to the specific locations that will be the most practical as you age ... taking into consideration issues such as access to medical care, public transportation, the crime rate, etc.  That may or may not mean that the place where you currently live will be a good retirement location for you.  Just remember that if you think you will eventually need to move, it will be a lot easier to make that change in your 60's or early 70's than it will be in your 80's.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Age in Place Villages Provide Resources in Your Neighborhood

When I first heard the term "Age in Place Village," I thought I was hearing about a new type of senior housing.  However, I was surprised to learn that this is actually a system for organizing local resources to make it easier for seniors to remain in their current homes and neighborhoods. Aging in place refers to people who decide to continue to live in their current home after they retire and stay there for as long as possible.  When these people are connected to local service providers and senior centers, it often makes it easier for them to remain in their homes.

In the past, aging in place often meant that people became isolated.  As their long-term neighbors moved away or died and new, younger families moved into the neighborhood, many elderly people simply began to hole up in their homes with little or no social interaction with the community around them.

Where to Find Age in Place Villages

According to a U.S. News article dated April 4, 2013, the concept of Age in Place Villages began in 2001 when several senior citizens in the Beacon Hill area of Boston decided that their neighborhood needed to have more support services if seniors were going to be able to successfully and happily live out their lives in their current homes.  They called their network of support systems a "village."  The original Age in Place Village was very simple, primarily consisting of neighbors who were willing to check on each other and help each other out, when needed.

The village concept has become more sophisticated and is now spreading across the nation.  Today, the Beacon Hill Village has a board of directors and an executive director.  Their goal has also expanded beyond the idea of simply making it easier for people to remain in their homes.  Today they also strive to provide more community activities so that aging citizens can find companionship and fun activities in their neighborhood, providing them with some of the same benefits they would find in an over-55 retirement community.

Rutgers School of Social Work has studied the village phenomena and they concluded that there are now about 85 organized Age in Place Villages located around the United States and 120 more are planned for the near future.

According to the Age in Place website, the goal of the village concept is to help people remain active, independent and social in the neighborhoods that feel familiar to them. The movement has now also formed a National Aging in Place Council called NAIPC.

You can find local chapters of NAIPC in these areas, as well as many others:

Atlanta, Georgia
Baltimore, Maryland
Boston, Massachusetts
Central Florida
Central  Virginia
Jackson, Mississippi
Long Island, New York
Minneapolis - St. Paul
Orange County, California
Providence, Rhode Island
Sacramento, California
Seattle, Washington

The Resources Provided by the Villages

One way that these villages succeed is by providing senior citizens with access to local service providers who can help them remain in their homes.  While there are many types of services that can benefit seniors, depending on their needs, some of the choices include adult day care services, money management and credit counseling, in home care, home accessibility consultants, physical therapists and much more.  These organizations can also help seniors learn how to find local transportation assistance and make their homes more senior friendly.

As a resident of Orange County, California, I have known people who have taken advantage of some of the transportation assistance, adult daycare services, in-home care providers and similar programs.  The network of senior centers that are dotted throughout Orange County have helped many senior citizens stay active.  Before I moved to my current over-55 retirement community, I took yoga classes at a senior center in Irvine, California.  While I was there, I observed other senior citizens who were enjoying low cost lunches, taking exercise or art classes, playing bridge and participating in many of the same activities that are available in my retirement community.  These senior centers have made me aware of the fact that many people can remain in their current communities and still stay connected with their peers, get out of their homes, make new friends and participate in a variety of activities.

If you are interested in aging in place, you may want to contact the NAIPC at  The information they provide will make your aging experience go smoother, since they strive to help senior citizens find the resources they need to successfully remain in their homes as they age, even if they need a little help in order to achieve this goal.

If you need assistance with your retirement planning, or you have not made up your mind where you want to live after you retire, you may be interested in using the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this article or checking out the index articles shown below.  Each index articles contains a short introduction followed by links to a number of other posts that have been made to this blog about a wide variety of topics.

Gifts, Travel and Family Relationships

Great Places for Boomers to Retire Overseas

Great Places to Retire in the United States

Health and Medical Topics for Baby Boomers

Money and Financial Planning for Retirement

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