Ann Arbor named 7th best small city in U.S. for successful aging
Angela J. Cesere | AnnArbor.com
According to a report released Tuesday by the Milken Institute - a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank - Ann Arbor is among a number of cities highlighted for their community support for aging populations.
The report considered cities in two categories, ranking 100 large metro areas and 259 small metro areas.
Ann Arbor is seventh in the small metro area category, just behind Gainesville, Fla. It's the only Michigan city to make the top 20.
The institute evaluated communities on the categories of health care, wellness, living arrangements, convenience of transportation, financial well-being, employment, education and community engagement using data from 78 indicators.
According to the report, Ann Arbor earned its ranking for its many health care services, public transportation options and learning environment.
Additionally, the number of young professionals living in the area indicates a constant flow of resources to fund senior services.
However, the report notes that living arrangements in Ann Arbor are expensive, and the economic climate makes it difficult for seniors to find a second career in the area.
Though it’s not an AARP survey, an AARP spokesmen said the organization stands behind the findings of the new report.
In 2008, AARP Magazine rated Ann Arbor as one of America’s healthiest hometowns because of its walkable downtown, bus system, parks, diverse age spread, low crime rate, low cost of living compared to other U.S. cities of similar size and for housing options for people age 55 and older.
Independent and assisted living spaces for seniors continue to sprout in the community.
A development won the approval of the Saline City Council in May for a new assisted living development which will join a number of new and expanding facilities in Washtenaw County, including the Cedars of Dexter retirement community that opened in 2011.
“There is no more important policy and economic challenge confronting America than our aging population,” said Paul Irving, senior managing director and chief operating officer of the Milken Institute, in a statement. “There is also considerable opportunity. Innovation and bold approaches are driving change - and much of that is happening in America’s cities.”
Irving said the goal of the index is to promote best practices in how U.S. communities serve aging Americans.
“We hope the findings spark national discussion and, at the local level, generate virtuous competition among cities to galvanize improvement in the social structures that serve seniors,” Irving said in a statement.
In the small metro area category, here are the top five places to grow old:
- Sioux Falls, S.D.
- Iowa City, Iowa
- Bismarck, N.D.
- Columbia, Mo.
- Rochester, Minn.
Sioux Falls ranked first because of its hospitals that specialize in geriatric services and booming economy. The city has the highest employment rate among seniors of the 259 small cities considered.
Other Michigan cities on the list include Battle Creek (211), Saginaw (98), Benton Harbor/Niles (215), Holland (145), Flint (163), and Bay City (240).
In the large metro area category, here are the top five places to grow old:
- Provo, Utah
- Madison, Wis.
- Omaha, Neb.
- Boston, Mass.
- New York, N.Y.
Larger Michigan cities on the list include Grand Rapids (93) and the Detroit-Warren-Livonia metro area (94).
Read the report in its entirety here: Best_cities_for_successful_aging_2012.pdf
Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for AnnArbor.com. Reach her at (734) 623-2552, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter.