Baby Boomers: Here You Come… But Where To Settle? And Are We Ready For you!!??

Posted by eszter vajda

Boomers- you are very different than your parent’s generation. You will be the largest aging population in U.S. history (estimated 77 million), living longer, working longer and facing far different challenges.

National figures show that seniors are less likely to relocate for retirement, more likely to continue working and that not all communities are ready for the surge in seniors. But if you are planning to relocate, I found several surveys listing some of the top places for retirement… and no, they are not all located in places like Florida or the Carolinas.

So here are two lists:

First is a survey commissioned by the Bankers Life and Casualty Company Center for a Secure Retirement. Top of the list is Minneapolis, Minnesota followed by Boston, Massachusetts; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Cleveland, Ohio and Denver, Colorado. Fifth is Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  San Francisco, California; Portland, Oregon; Kansas City, Missouri and Newark, New Jersey rounded off the list.

Its important to consider the criteria they chose when picking these communities. First and foremost is health care, a no-brainer, this means widespread availability of physicians, especially specializing in geriatric issues. Then the economy: taxes, affordable housing and etc. Third is ‘health and longevity’. The study looked at such things as depression and mortality rates from cancer and heart disease. The next category is social… which is self-explanatory. The environment… like the number of sunny days per year, local air and water quality, presence and accessibility of bodies of water and parks also play a role in the rundown. The survey also ranked cities according to spiritual life, crime and housing.

Here is another list compiled by US News using data from Onboard Informatics:First, Flagstaff Arizona, second, Boone, North Carolina; Traverse, City Michigan, Walnut Creek, California; Ithaca, New York are next. Then Lincoln, Nebraska; Pittsburg, Pennsylvania; Port Charlotte, Florida; Pittsfield, Massachusetts; Santa Fe, New Mexico finish the top ten list. For this list, they consider weather, affordable housing and amenities available for seniors, plus interesting things to do recreationally, culturally and socially. Interestingly, but not surprisingly, they also take into account whether the location offers second career opportunities and transitional educational institutions.

The point is that there are lots of lists out there. What criteria will you consider when looking for a retirement spot?

Here are some things to consider. It turns out there is some very troubling data on how most communities across the country are preparing for the onslaught of the baby boomers (the first wave turning 65 this year). The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging led two nationwide surveys in 2005 and 2010 called  “The Maturing of America—Communities Moving Forward for an Aging Population.”  What they found in 2005 was that while “many communities had some programs to address the needs of older adults, few had undertaken a comprehensive assessment to create a livable community for all ages”.

In 2010, the second survey, found that there was little progress from 2005, and that “communities have not been able to move forward to the degree needed to address the nation’s current age wave”.  The surveys looked at healthcare, transportation, educational opportunities, public safety, taxes and other services for the aging population.

For instance a survey conducted by a coalition called Transportation for America called ‘Aging in Place, Stuck Without Options’, shows that 11.5 million people aged 65 and older lived with “poor transit” access in 2000. If you choose to “age in place,” like many baby boomers, by 2015, their analysis shows, that this figure will increase to more than 15.5 million older Americans. So mobility options are projected to be scarce. If your independence is tied to transportation, this is an important issue to weigh when picking potential retirement locations.  For example are there sidewalks, public transit or other alternatives for transportation?

And here is another consideration. According to the U.S. Census Bureau about 6.5 million people 65 and older were in the work force in 2009 and that number is expected to almost double in 2018 to 11 million. That means steep competition for those jobs. So you may want to assess what, if any jobs are available in your location and is there further educational opportunities?

The bottom line is that you, as a consumer, have to take in to account what is important to you as you retire and its not just one parameter, its taking a holistic approach to ensure that your golden years are truly happy and healthy.

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  5. Elder Abuse Increasing in the Bay State; See What Local Organizations are Doing to Help

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Posted by eszter vajda on Nov 29 2011. Filed under Featured - For home page featured article, Lifestyle. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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