The Best and Worst States for Veteran Senior Care

Posted in Uncategorized on May 11, 2017
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At the end of 2016, there were more than 11 million U.S. Armed Forces veterans over the age of 60 living in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. Of these, the largest population was in the age range of 65-69 years old, the so-called “baby boomers” who are just entering the “senior” phase of life where they must begin planning for their future housing and care. For most seniors, a time does eventually come where additional assistance on a regular basis is needed. Others simply want to downsize or live in closer community with their peers.

Additionally, senior veterans possess a unique set of experiences; they may retain service-related injuries, or need to live close to VA medical facilities for care. Because of multiple duty station relocations, they may not have deep-rooted ties to any one state, and feel free to consider living anywhere in the U.S. In fact, many value living around others who understand the life of a soldier, and how it can impact an entire family for generations.The Best and Worst States for Veteran Senior Care

Considering these factors, analysts at APlaceforMom.com recently undertook a large-scale survey of all 50 states, statistically evaluating which states are the best – and worst – options for veteran senior care, based on the type of senior living options. A Place for Mom is one of the nation’s leading free senior housing advising services, and employs experts who are familiar with local housing markets and trained in insurance and VA policies. The company also maintains the largest online senior living referral listing, which includes verified reviews and ratings.

While other similar surveys have made general estimations on which states are best and worst for veterans, based on things like number of VA facilities and quality of life, this more recent study cross-referenced statistics from numerous sources* to calculate its final results. For example, researchers considered several important factors such as:

  • The state’s overall population
  • The percentage of the state’s population that are veterans
  • The median cost of each type of senior housing and care for the state
  • How affordable it is for a senior to live in that state

It’s perhaps not surprising that many of the states known for higher costs of living and rental fees seem to rank lower on the list for veterans looking to make the most of a limited budget. Additionally, states with more veterans as a percentage of the overall population were given higher preference, with the assumption that these states would feature more services and facilities for veterans and their families.

Below are the best and worst states for veteran senior care, based on the type of housing and care offered.

Assisted Living

An assisted living residence is a long-term senior care option that provides personal care support services such as meals, medication management, bathing, dressing and transportation.

Best 5 States for Veterans in Assisted Living Communities:

The best states for assisted living combined a more affordable cost of assisted living options and related health care, and a larger veteran population.

  1. West Virginia
  2. Arkansas
  3. South Carolina
  4. Alabama
  5. Montana

Worst 5 States for Veterans in Assisted Living Communities:

The worst states for assisted living suffer from higher costs of care and housing, as well as smaller veteran populations compared to state’s overall population.

  1. New York
  2. New Jersey
  3. District of Colombia
  4. Massachusetts
  5. Connecticut

Independent Living

Independent living communities are also known as retirement communities, retirement homes, or senior housing. For seniors with few, if any, disabilities needing assistance, or those simply looking to downsize, retirement communities offer a wide range of intellectual, physical, and social activities with peers. Veterans may especially enjoy communities that offer military-friendly events and organizations on site.

Best 5 States for Veterans in Independent Living Communities:

The best states for independent living combined more affordable costs housing options, and a larger veteran population.

  1. West Virginia
  2. South Carolina
  3. Arkansas
  4. Montana
  5. New Mexico

Worst 5 States for Veterans in Independent Living Communities:

The worst states for independent living communities suffer from higher costs of housing options, as well as a smaller veteran populations compared to state’s overall population.

  1. New Jersey
  2. District of Colombia
  3. New York
  4. Massachusetts
  5. Connecticut

Memory Care Communities

Memory Care communities specialize in treatment and managing of symptoms related to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Residents typically live in semi-private or private rooms and participate in appropriate therapies and activities. There are often additional security measures in place for the residents’ safety.

Best 5 States for Veterans in Memory Care Communities:

The best states for memory care communities more affordable costs for housing options, and a larger veteran population.

  1. West Virginia
  2. South Carolina
  3. Arkansas
  4. Montana
  5. Alabama

Worst 5 States for Veterans in Memory Care Communities:

The worst states for memory care communities typically have higher costs of housing and services, and a smaller veteran population compared to the state’s overall population.

  1. New Jersey
  2. New York
  3. Massachusetts
  4. District of Colombia
  5. Connecticut

Senior Apartments

For younger and very active seniors who want a low-maintenance lifestyle, senior apartment communities offer an attractive range of amenities like golf courses, swimming pools, tennis courts, and fitness centers. Sometimes referred to as “55+ Senior Communities,” the rental fees typically include utilities, landscaping services, home maintenance services, and security. Senior apartments do not offer the type of personal care services that assisted living communities and memory care facilities provide.

Best 5 States for Veterans Looking for Senior Apartment:

The best states for veterans looking for senior apartment living include lower fees and rental rates, as well as a larger veteran population.

  1. South Carolina
  2. Alabama
  3. Arkansas
  4. Florida
  5. Tennessee

Worst 5 States for Veterans Looking for Senior Apartment:

The worst states for veterans looking for senior apartment living had higher fees and rental rates, as well as a smaller veteran population compared to the state’s overall population.

  1. New York
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Connecticut
  4. New Jersey
  5. California

For more information on housing options, or to search for a specific housing option by state, visit APlaceforMom.com.

*Survey Methodology:

  • Senior housing and care costsdata comes from the 2017 A Place for Mom Senior Living Cost Index.
  • Total population estimates come from the five-year 2015 estimates from the American Community Survey, which were called from the Census API by the acspackage in the R statistical programming environment.
  • Veteran population estimates come from the Veteran Population Model 2014(VetPop2014) maintained by the National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics in the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, and compiled in the annual Geographic Distribution of VA Expenditures (GDX) report from the department’s Office of Policy and Planning, which is available for download for years 2007 through 2015 on this GitHub page maintained by user mihiriyer.
  • Scores were calculated by summing the percentile rank of negative consumer costs (so that more affordable states were ranked more highly) and the percentile rank of veteran population share, then calculating the percentile rank of the resulting raw score.
Written by Megan Hammons

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