Florida may be the quintessential state in which to retire, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best state in which to grow old.
A new analysis by Caring.com shows that typical retirement destinations like Florida and Arizona are not among the top states to live in your late 70s, 80s, 90s and beyond.
Retirement planning expert Sara Zeff Geber tells Caring.com:
“At that age, we really need to start thinking about someplace that’s stable, someplace that’s safe and someplace that we can afford. Those things don’t always add up to the Sun Belt.”
Most of the top states for growing old, Caring.com found, are in America’s northern latitudes.
Alaska came in No. 4 and South Dakota took the No. 1 spot.
Florida and Arizona, on the other hand, came in No. 31 and No. 17, respectively.
Caring.com’s rankings are based on:
- Quality of life for residents over 55
- Quality of health care, long-term care and support for seniors
- Quality of health care, long-term care and support for family caregivers
- Affordability of senior care
- More than 100,000 ratings of senior care providers in each state
South Dakota earned the No. 1 spot partly because it offers access to high-quality health care and senior care at costs that are around the national average — which is about $36,000 per year for an assisted living community and around $52,000 for a home health aide.
The analysis also found that in general, you get what you pay for. Among the 15 states with the cheapest senior care, only two rank in the top half for quality — South Carolina and Kansas.
Dayna Steele, Caring.com’s “chief caring expert” and the author of “Surviving Alzheimer’s With Friends, Facebook and a Really Big Glass of Wine,” explains:
“The main takeaway from this research is that the traditional retirement destinations don’t always offer the best mix of cost and quality. This is why it’s so important for people to do their homework while they’re still relatively young and healthy in order to set themselves up for retirement years that are truly golden.”
The top 10 states in which to grow old are:
- South Dakota
- South Carolina
The worst 10 states in which to grow old are:
- West Virginia
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
- Pennsylvania and Ohio (tie)
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