What U.S. cities best accommodate the comfort and needs of senior citizens?

SeniorAdvice.com, a web-based service that aims to connect seniors with housing options, developed an algorithm to answer that question.

The SeniorScore livability index identifies and measures livability for seniors in cities throughout the United States using a formula that incorporates more than 100 data points from sources including Medicare, the U.S. Census Bureau, and government and private databases. The index takes into account four categories:

Health and safety

This score shows how well an area provides for the unique health needs of seniors. It primarily determines the level of access to senior health care facilities, physicians specializing in the needs of older people, and overall access to and quality of emergency services. It also provides insight into crime statistics for an area as well as life expectancy.

Recreation and leisure

This category describes the social and recreational atmosphere of a location as it relates to amenities and activities generally valued by seniors. It considers the overall size of the senior population, the activity level of that population, and numerous amenities commonly used by senior citizens for social interaction and fun.

Finances

This number gives insight into the overall economic and financial favorability of an area. It incorporates general statistics like sales and income tax rates, home affordability and property taxes, income levels and general costs of living. It also considers items of specific interest to seniors including costs of various types of senior living and in-home care as well as other financial burdens unique to older people.

General quality of life

This score is based on a variety of measures that involve the general comfort and livability of an area. It includes data on how ideal the weather in an area is, how densely an area is populated and how clean the environment is. It also contains information about a location’s general livability, such as the efficiency of the public transportation, levels of traffic, and the safety and quality of public schools.

Which cities topped the list for senior livability? Continue reading to find out.

San Antonio River Walk

The San Antonio River Walk is one of several amenities that make the city one of the 10 most livable for seniors. (Photo: iStock)

10. San Antonio, Texas

 

Overall score: 76

Health and safety score: 66

Recreation and leisure score: 63

Finances score: 60

General quality of life score: 81

Thanks to its mild winters and pleasant seasons, San Antonio earns high marks for quality of life. The city is also home to a large population of retired military personnel, which contributes to an active culture for seniors. Although the city is an affordable place to live, its score in the finances category suffered somewhat because of high property and sales taxes and expensive assisted living costs.

Cincinnati is one of the 10 best U.S. cities for seniors.

Cincinnati boasts a low cost of living, a pleasant climate and good safety features. (Photo: iStock)

9. Cincinnati, Ohio

 

Overall score: 77

Health and safety score: 70

Recreation and leisure score: 75

Finances score: 64

General quality of life score: 65

Cincinnati offers a wide variety of senior-friendly recreational opportunities, including 103 golf courses, 52 parks and 43 malls. The city also scored well for seniors due to its large number of senior living facilities (164) and a high number of Medicare-registered physicians. Health and safety scores were impacted by high crime rates, and its finances score took a hit with high assisted living and nursing home costs.

Omaha is one of the 10 best U.S. cities for seniors.

The cost of living in Omaha, Nebraska, is significantly lower than average, and the city is home to many parks, golf courses and other recreational amenities that appeal to seniors.

8. Omaha, Nebraska

 

Overall score: 78

Health and safety score: 74

Recreation and leisure score: 71

Finances score: 66

General quality of life score: 63

Seniors in Omaha have a higher life expectancy than average at 79.8 years and access to a large number of Medicare-registered physicians and a high number of home health care providers. But those services come at a cost. While the cost of living is low in the city, home health care costs are very high compared to the national average, and assisted living costs were also higher than average.

St. Louis is one of the best U.S. cities for seniors.

St. Louis is home to more than 39 parks, highly rated museums and attractions like the Gateway Arch. (Photo: iStock)

7. St. Louis, Missouri

 

Overall score: 78

Health and safety score: 69

Recreation and leisure score: 74

Finances score: 63

General quality of life score: 69

St. Louis has a notably large number of religious congregations in and around the city for citizens to choose from. It also has many senior-friendly qualities, including more than 200 senior living facilities and low costs for assisted living and nursing home care. Like many large cities, St. Louis received lower scores in health and safety due to high crime rates.

Richmond is one of the 10 best cities for seniors.

Seniors living in Richmond, Virginia, can explore historically significant landmarks, including the Virginia State Capitol, which was designed by Thomas Jefferson and served as the capitol of the confederacy during the Civil War.

6. Richmond, Virginia

 

Overall score: 78

Health and safety score: 71

Recreation and leisure score: 71

Finances score: 63

General quality of life score: 72

Richmond’s scores were fairly consistent across each category, although it scored lower in finances due to higher costs for assisted living and nursing homes as well as a higher-than-average cost of living. However received high marks for health and safety with a large number of home health care providers and a longer-than-average life expectancy of 78.6 years.

Fort Worth is one of the 10 best cities for seniors.

The historic Fort Worth Stock Yards provides Western-style entertainment and shopping. (Photo: iStock)

5. Fort Worth, Texas

 

Overall score: 79

Health and safety score: 73

Recreation and leisure score: 65

Finances score: 62

General quality of life score: 79

Fort Worth received high marks for quality of life for its mild winters and low rainfall levels. It didn’t fare so well in the finances category, where it was dinged for having significantly higher-than-average property taxes and high assisted living costs. However home health care costs and the overall cost of living are low in Fort Worth.

Louisville is one of the 10 best cities for seniors.

Seniors in Louisville, Kentucky, enjoy a mild climate, an affordable lifestyle and access to interesting leisure activities, including horse racing at Churchill Downs. (Photo: iStock)

4. Louisville, Kentucky

 

Overall score: 79

Health and safety score: 67

Recreation and leisure score: 70

Finances score: 73

General quality of life score: 70

Louisville scored well in the finances category due to its affordability aided by significantly lower-than-average property and sales taxes and average assisted living and nursing home costs. While the city offers a high number of Medicare-registered physicians and 103 senior living facilities, the city’s health and safety score took a hit due to high crime rates.

Pittsburgh is one of the 10 best cities for seniors.

Landmarks like the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh provide cultural enrichment opportunities for seniors. (Photo: iStock)

3. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

 

Overall score: 79

Health and safety score: 76

Recreation and leisure score: 78

Finances score: 65

General quality of life score: 61

Pittsburgh scored well in the recreation and leisure category due to a variety of recreational opportunities, including 125 golf courses and 34 parks in and around the city. However the city’s quality of life score was impacted by average grades for climate and poor air quality.

Austin is one of the 10 best cities for seniors.

Austin offers a variety of outdoor amenities, including hiking at Lady Bird Lake, shown here. (Photo: iStock)

2. Austin, Texas

 

Overall score: 79

Health and safety score: 71

Recreation and leisure score: 65

Finances score: 60

General quality of life score: 84

Austin’s quality of life score was bolstered by its ideal temperatures, mild winters and good water quality. However, the city had a lower score in the finances category due to higher-than-average property and sales taxes and more expensive costs associated with assisted living and home health care. But a state income tax of zero and higher-than-average household incomes helps offset some of the negative financial factors.

10 best cities for seniors 2016

Oklahoma City is home to more than 50 municipal parks, including this park near the Myriad Botanical Gardens. (Photo: iStock)

1. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

 

Overall score: 80

Health and safety score: 70

Recreation and leisure score: 71

Finances score: 64

General quality of life score: 77

Oklahoma City scored higher than the national average of 72. It received high marks in health and safety due to its large number of Medicare registered physicians and 25 hospitals in close range of the city. The city also has 114 senior living facilities and a large number of home health care providers. However the score was negatively impacted by property and violent crime rates. In the quality of life category, Oklahoma City ranked well in terms of climate and good water quality.

See also:

30 of the most livable cities for baby boomers

The 10 highest-growth cities for annuities in 2016

Retirement living in America: How 60 U.S. cities stack up

 

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