If you or a parent are empty nesters looking for the next adventure in life, it can be exciting to research the best places for retired people to live and consider making such a move. Unless you&rsquore REALLY adventurous and plan to pick up and move to the first place your finger touches on a map while blindfolded, you’ll want to put some thought into destinations before boxing up your belongings and starting this new adventure. In this month's blog, we look at some of the communities identified by SeniorLiving.org, AARP and other sources as being the best cities for retirees to live.
For most seniors -- but not all – where we choose to live depends greatly on the proximity to our existing family and friends. Perhaps a grown son or daughter gets a great job in another city. No parent wants to be the reason they’d turn down a fabulous opportunity to achieve their dreams and earn more money while they are still in their working years. It’s only natural to want to live reasonably close to our loved ones so there are more opportunities to spend quality time with grandchildren and avoid making the holidays a time spent mostly in airports or rest areas along the highway.
Plus, we all want to feel moored to a support system that we can count on and rest assured that if, for example, we have a surprise overnight stay in the hospital, that there will be someone to help us cope. Assisted Living communities like the ones operated by Regency Retirement Village offer a great option for seniors who want to be in the same community as family members, yet retain their own lifestyle and independence by moving into an apartment where peers of the same age group are around, along with help to make sure everyone has peace of mind that they’re well cared for and secure.
No doubt about it: Retirement living can be expensive anywhere, so affordability becomes a very important factor when deciding where to live. Some research is wise to determine whether a state taxes IRAs or pensions and what the total state and local tax burden is. “States often make up for (lack of a state income tax) with higher sales and real estate taxes, which can fall disproportionately harder on seniors than income levies,” Forbes magazine pointed out in an April 2018 article.
Some seniors planning to work part-time to supplement their retirement savings will be interested in the local unemployment rate in a city. Whatever the case may be, seniors want to get the highest quality of living for the lowest price to achieve it. Six of the 10 cheapest cities to retire in the US, according to AARP, are located in the South: Birmingham (AL), Jackson (MS), Memphis (TN), Brownsville (TX), Augusta (GA), and Montgomery (AL).
Regency Retirement Village operates a great community in the Homewood section of Birmingham (where the annual individual cost to live as a senior is an estimated $33,219 to live comfortably in retirement -- the cost of living in Birmingham is 27.4 percent lower than the national average). Founded in 1871, “the Magic City” is an industrial and cultural hub for the region with a rich Civil Rights history, numerous art galleries, and home to the state’s major ballet, opera and symphony orchestra companies. Standing guard above the city is Vulcan, a cast-iron statue atop Red Mountain representing the Roman god of fire, iron and blacksmiths.
You can live on less than $42,000 a year in the nearby Alabama city of Huntsville, where the cost of living is 8.6 percent lower than the national average. Nicknamed the “Rocket City”, Huntsville continues to play an important role in military and technology initiatives. Huntsville has the second largest technology and research park in the nation, and ranks among the top 25 most educated cities in the nation. It is considered in the top of the nation's high-tech hotspots, and one of the best Southern cities for defense jobs. It is the number one location for happy engineers, with high average salary and low median gross rent. You may very well find a rocket scientist living on our 30-acre Huntsville campus.
Just slightly more expensive than Huntsville is our third Alabama retirement community in Tuscaloosa, where Alabama football is the nation's best and the Median Home Cost is the biggest factor in the cost of living difference, according to a cost of living index on BestPlaces.net. Regency Retirement Village of Tuscaloosa offers a range of options for senior residents, including independent living garden homes and the Veteran-specific program Haven for Heroes.
Regency Retirement Village is based from Chattanooga, Tennessee, which has a cost of living 12.5 percent below the national average, along with health costs that are lower than in most of the cheapest places to retire. Located 15-minutes from downtown Chattanooga, The Rosewood of Fort Oglethorpe in North Georgia is a continuum of care retirement facility conveniently located a short distance from the best of shopping, restaurants, entertainment, hospitals, and more.
Rome GA is considered 1% cheaper than Chattanooga TN, mostly due, again, to median home cost. In this North Georgia community, we operate Riverwood Senior Living. It's a great option for seniors who want to live near family working as professionals down in Atlanta.
Knoxville in East Tennessee offers an affordable cost of living along with plenty of amenities, as does Memphis, where cost of living is 26 percent lower than the national average. Near these cities, you can find two more of our thriving retirement communities, the 9-acre Regency Retirement Village Morristown and the 4-acre Regency Retirement Village of Jackson TN.
We all want to live affordably, but it’s also important to live well. What’s a senior to do with free time on his or her hands? A little research online can point us in the direction of information about a community, the people living in it, local clubs, recreational possibilities, fun attractions, opportunities for volunteering for good causes, sporting events to enjoy, and a lot more. At Regency, we schedule regular outings for shopping and dining excursions in the communities we serve. When you visit the websites for our communities or arrange to visit in person, you’ll find a busy calendar of activities that all residents can enjoy, from physical exercise programs to tours of local stadiums and museums.
The South can be very appealing for seniors tired of enduring decades of cold, wet winters. We experience warm summers, mild winters, and abundant rain. During the winter, you’re likely to experience 40+ days with temperatures at or below freezing, the exact number varying from city to city. Freezing ice events are more likely to happen than snow events during a typical winter. The spring and fall months are pleasant, but residents of the region do experience occasional thunderstorms and tornadoes.
As we near retirement age, the quality of health care close by becomes a larger concern. A small town in the middle of nowhere may offer serenity, but what if an emergency prompts a need for more urgent medical attention? A major benefit of Regency communities is the staffing we offer by skilled personnel who can respond 24/7 for those with chronic medical needs, as well as those who simply like having someone else around to remind them when it’s time to take any prescribed medicines they take. A private house may offer solitude that some crave, but when living in a retirement community, there’s less reliance on the kindness and concern of neighbors to check in to make sure a senior living inside hasn’t fallen and broken a hip, for example.
Even if a senior is fit and independent enough to be self-reliant, we should think ahead to future months and years when age does become more of a factor. It’s good to know that if an ambulance is ever needed, the EMT drivers are familiar with where a senior living community is and how to get there to respond fast. Regency’s residence and service options range from Independent Living to Assisted Living to Memory Care.
We feel that the Southeastern USA is the ideal region for retirees to settle for all of the reasons mentioned above. Our communities offer the best option for seniors who want to enjoy everything these fine cities and our staff operating there bring to providing a high quality of retirement living.
If you are a senior looking for a community to make a fresh start to begin a new chapter in your retirement years, we encourage you to check out all that these cities have to offer and why you should choose to join us in calling one of them your new home.