Whether you're looking for somewhere new to call home or you're just trying to find your next vacation destination, there are plenty of cities around the U.S. that cater to a more active senior living environment. In fact, every year, researchers from the Milken Institute compile a new list ranking the best areas around the country for seniors to either visit or live. Paul Irving, the chairman for the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging, describes the nonprofit organization's list as a way for seniors to learn which places in the U.S. can help them promote a more independent and healthy way of living.
"Our Best Cities for Successful Aging initiative is about more than just rankings," Irving said in a statement. "It's about change. Changing policies and practices to promote healthy, productive, and purposeful aging requires transformative work and collaboration with a broad range of like-minded individuals and institutions."
The list is divided into both larger metropolitan cities and smaller regions, so seniors can take their pick on which types of surroundings best cater to their interests. Here is a quick overview on the top two choices for the most senior friendly large and small cities featured in the Milken Institute's rankings:
While the thought of living in a highly populated and compact area may seem intimidating, there are certainly plenty of upsides to living in large metropolitan cities. From health care facilities and social activities to economic opportunities, here are the top two selections the Milken Institute chose for their large metropolitan cities:
Madison is a city that thrives off of the local University of Wisconsin campus, but to merely describe the area as a "college town" doesn't do it justice. Madison was listed as the No. 1 living option for seniors between the ages of 65 and 79 according to the report, primarily due to the outstanding health care services and facilities conveniently available throughout the region. All 11 of the hospitals from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations received a thumbs up for their renowned amenities, ranging from staffing quality to waiting room time. Other positive factors included a low crime rate, tremendous options for physical activity and a variety of leisure opportunities such as museums, theaters and libraries all within a close proximity.
Omaha–Council Bluffs metropolitan area
High employment rates for older adults, low costs of living and a plethora of chances to get involved in recreational activities were just a few reasons why Omaha–Council Bluffs metropolitan area ranked No. 2 on the list of senior-friendly cities. There are five Fortune 500 companies located within the area, helping the surrounding cities thrive economically. Pristine medical institutions for health care were also listed as beneficial factors for both Omaha and Council Bluffs.
Any seniors interested in towns that focus more on a community-based identity will enjoy living in smaller metropolitans. In such locales, rates of living are generally lower, it's easy to navigate around and it's comforting getting to establish healthy relationships with all your neighbors.
Iowa City, Iowa
Another city that's primarily known as a college town, Iowa City still offers seniors an excellent opportunity to relish retirement. Along with an inexpensive and acclaimed local health care system, Iowa City caters to seniors by offering tons of public transportation routes, an upbeat economy and plenty of community engagement.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Quality health care, financial services and high volunteerism rates are what makes Sioux Falls so attractive to seniors. There are also many state-funded, community-organized activities that help bring citizens together, allowing for seniors to take pride and stay engaged with their new home.