AARP's Livability Index
AARP has developed a Livability Index as a web-based tool to measure community livability. Users can search the Index by address, ZIP Code, or community to find an overall livability score, as well as a score for each of seven major livability categories: housing, neighborhood, transportation, environment, health, engagement, and opportunity. Check it out here.
Best Place to Retire
How your state ranks
Some Boomers Are Retiring Near a College or University
Bankrate ranked all 50 states according to their cost of living, crime rate (violence and property crimes), health care quality, state and local tax burden, personal well-being and weather. The overall ranks of 1 to 50 go from best to worst. Read more
From an article in the New York Times
Like the Dunns, many other retirees are opting for college retirement communities, where they can take lifelong learning courses, mentor college students and even get a degree. Though exact estimates vary, there are now about 60 college retirement communities in the United States, like those near Stanford, Notre Dame and Penn State.
As baby boomers retire in large numbers, these communities will experience significant upticks in popularity, said Andrew J. Carle, an assistant professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., and a senior-housing expert. People want intellectually stimulating environments, he added.
Learning-driven communities offer other benefits, experts say. Housing prices are usually stable in college towns, since there’s a steady influx of people, says Jan Cullinane, author of “Retire Happy” and other books. And retirees can also attend plentiful cultural and sports events.
Even more important, medical care near universities is usually cutting-edge, Ms. Cullinane added. “Universities have medical institutions that do ongoing research,” she said, adding that the University of Michigan, which also has a retirement community nearby, is doing research on celiac disease.
Where Americans moved
According to an American Community Survey, 45.3 million people lived in a different house within the United States one year earlier. Of these movers, 6.7 million lived in a different state.
The most common state-to-state moves in 2010 were:California to Texas (68,959 movers); New York to Florida (55,011); Florida to Georgia (49,901); California to Arizona (47,164); New Jersey to Pennsylvania (42,456); New York to New Jersey (41,374); California to Washington (39,468); Texas to California (36,582); Georgia to Florida (35,615); and California to Nevada (35,472).
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Nevada showed the greatest percentage increase among all states in residents 65 years of age and older. Next were Alaska, Arizona and New Mexico.
AARP The Magazine’s best places to live a simple life list;
2. Greenville, SC
3. Montpelier, VT
4. Logan, Utah
5. Ames, Iowa
6. Northampton, MA
8. Texas Hill County
9. Oxford, MS
10 Walla Walla, WA
The cost of housing and property taxes are the most important factors in selecting a place to retire according to topretirement.com followed by income taxes, estate taxes, and then sales and personal property taxes. Take away the tax and real estate implications, and the decision on whether to stay or where to move to is all about being near family or in a place with a desirable lifestyle.
States trying to keep and to attract senior citizens with tax cuts on pensions
Maine is perhaps a bit of an anomaly at the moment. That state’s governor wants to exempt all public and private retiree pension income from state personal income tax, which would
lower taxes on 75,000 people. Other states that are moving in this direction include Georgia which has new laws that will phase out all taxes on retirement income by 2016
A new home sharing concept
On west suburban Chicago a nonprofit group places self-sufficient elder residents together, as reported by Vikki Ortiz Healy in the Chicago Tribune firstname.lastname@example.org
Roommates share bathrooms and have each other’s shower times memorized. They fold each other’s laundry when someone leaves it in the dryer too long. They play cards in the afternoon and watch “Dancing with the Stars” together at night. And they ride along in the ambulance when one of them takes a bad fall.
It’s a living arrangement none of the seniors imagined for themselves when they were young, married and raising families in their own suburban homes. But time, age and circumstances led the five roommates — two men and three women ranging from 64 to 98 years old — to the red brick house in Lombard, a Western suburb of Chicago.
The seniors share a sprawling ranch as part of a nonprofit organization’s mission to bring a unique housing option to the Chicago area’s elderly population, which is expected to double by 2040, officials said.
For the last three decades, Senior Home Sharing has placed seniors who are self-sufficient, but in search of company, into homes nestled in typical residential neighborhoods. What began as a one-house experiment in Lombard has grown to include houses in Naperville, Downers Grove and Elmhurst, where the seniors get three prepared meals a day and medicine reminders from a live-in house manager.
But in every other way, the home-share residents are independent and typical roommates, sharing living spaces, granola bars and, in Lombard, a vegetable garden in the backyard.
Advocates for the aging say the shared housing, which officials hope to expand to other parts of the Chicago area, offer a novel and important option for the elderly.
Today, 27 seniors live in the four west suburban shared homes. They are among the more than 300 seniors who have lived in housing the program has provided since 1983. Most of them hear of the home shares by word of mouth or through fliers at local rehabilitation centers.
Some residents are still working. Some are gone all day playing golf. Others stay home and mostly keep to themselves. Residents come and go as they please and can have overnight guests with approval from housemates.
The organization’s managers try to take personalities into account when they interview and place the seniors into the shares. But they note that it’s easier to navigate disagreements as they happen rather than to plan for them in advance.
Rents in the shared housing range from $1,090 to $1,900 and cover a private bedroom in the house, food, utilities and cleaning. The live-in house manager does all the grocery shopping and makes a resident’s favorite meal on his or her birthday — if the resident isn’t keeping age a secret.
Each resident’s room has a TV, but residents gather on their own in the living area to watch “All in the Family” reruns together. They set and clear the table after meals and know to pick up their own mess in common areas.
Residents live in the shared housing an average of 3 1/2 years. Most of the time it becomes clear when the senior is in need of more assistance than the unlicensed housing shares are able to provide. When that happens, management works with the resident and family to find a new residence.