The Best Places to Retire for Senior Independent Living

If senior independent living is an important part of your retirement plans, these are just some of the factors to consider.

Investing after retirement

If you’re considering relocating in your retirement years and senior independent living is important to you, you should take into account the way your geography can affect your quality of life. If the weather, recreation and travel opportunities are important to you then where you live should match how you live.

Climate. Here in my town in Tennessee, our average year-round temperature is 55 degrees. We get about 56 inches of rain and some 13 inches of snow, on average, per year (although in the years I’ve lived here, I’ve never seen that much, and that suits me just fine!)

Climate can play a huge role in the enjoyment of senior independent living. Cold, snowy, or rainy weather will keep you indoors (unless you are a cold weather enthusiast), and that can lead to adverse effects, such as loneliness and depression, which often accompany aging. As well, trying to traverse snow and ice can lead to medical mishaps.

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To determine if the state you are considering retiring in has a suitable climate for you, take a look at this site which gives you the average temperatures and precipitation, state by state.

And here’s a link to the top 10 states with the best weather—based on comfortable temperatures, with daily highs averaging between 63 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit for seven or more months of the year, dry weather, at most 60 inches of rain a year, mainly clear skies, with sunshine for at least 60% of the time on a yearly average.

One caveat: The ratings do not consider the frequency of extreme events such as hurricanes, tornados or floods.

Healthcare. According to Fidelity Investments, it is estimated that a healthy couple retiring at age 65 this year will spend $285,000 on health-care expenses in retirement—$150,000 for women and $135,000 for men. And for many folks, proximity to good hospitals and medical providers is essential to senior independent living.

For many of us, in our early retirement years, we mostly need routine medical services. But, as we age, we may require significant additional services. So, if you don’t want to have to move twice as you age, you may want to consider including good healthcare (or proximity to communities that offer that care) as a priority when searching for a new home.

The Top 10 States with the Best Access to Healthcare

  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
  • Hawaii
  • Iowa
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Wisconsin
  • Minnesota
  • Maryland

Here’s a link to the 100 top hospitals in the nations, based on:

  • lower inpatient mortality, considering patient severity
  • fewer patient complications
  • delivered care that resulted in fewer HAIs (healthcare-associated infections)
  • lower 30-day mortality and 30-day readmission rates
  • sent patients home sooner
  • provided faster emergency care
  • kept expenses low, both in-hospital and through the aftercare process
  • scored higher on patient ratings of their overall hospital experience

Transportation, Proximity to Airports. There’s certainly a trade-off here. Where I live, there is no public transportation, and the two closest airports are 2 hours driving distance. If you don’t plan on keeping an automobile in retirement, you will need public transportation, although we do have Uber, even in our small town.

And for some retirees, travelling is a primary goal of senior independent living, so driving this kind of distance to the airport may not be desirable. It may also be an issue if your relatives plan to make frequent visits to see you.

Recreational Activities. Senior independent living is all about enjoying your retirement years. How close do you want to be to your favorite pastimes like golf, boating, fishing, tennis, pickleball, or hiking?

My county is considered the “golf capital of Tennessee,” due to its 11 courses. We get tons of timeshare visitors who come just to play golf, and many of them retire here for the same reason.

Golf Digest recently rated the Top 100 Greatest Golf Courses. Their rankings were based on:

  1. Shot values
  2. Resistance to scoring
  3. Design variety
  4. Memorability
  5. Aesthetics
  6. Conditioning
  7. Ambience

The Top 10 Golf Courses

  • Pine Valley G.C., Pine Valley, NJ
  • Augusta National G.C., Augusta, GA
  • Cypress Point Club, Pebble Beach, CA
  • Shinnecock Hills G.C., Southampton, NY
  • Oakmont C.C., Oakmont, PA
  • Merion G.C. (East), Ardmore, PA
  • National G. Links of America, Southampton, NY
  • Pebble Beach G. Links, Pebble Beach, CA
  • Fishers Island Club, Fishers Island, NY
  • Sand Hills G.C., Mullen, NE

Cultural Opportunities. If the theater, art museums, or concerts are important for your senior independent living you’ll probably want to be near these amenities. But note that you don’t always need to be in or near a big metropolis to enjoy these niceties. Local theater and art events can be found at most colleges and universities, as well as in many small communities.

These are just a few factors that can impact your quality of life in retirement, but they’re important considerations that can be easily overlooked.

Are you planning on relocating in retirement? Where are you headed?

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