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August 17, 2017

New study puts Maine in bottom tier of states in which to grow old

Maine ranks as the 11th worst state in which to grow old, according to a new Caring.com report which examined a variety of financial, health care and quality of life categories.

Maine fared much better in quality of life/health care (24) than cost (44) in the national rankings.

Caring.com is a Bankrate company based in San Mateo, Calif., that provides online information and support to family caregivers caring for aging parents, spouse or other loved ones. Its report on the 50 states is based on 13 financial, health care and quality of life benchmarks.

Utah is the best state to grow old in, according to the report. It's the only state to make the top 15 in both quality of life/health care (7) and cost (14). Iowa ranked second, followed by South Carolina, Washington, Nebraska, Arizona and California.

The report found that many states show an inverse relationship between quality and price. For example, Washington is No. 1 for quality but 38th for cost. Similarly, Alabama has the cheapest elder care but lags in quality (44).

Caring.com found the worst states to grow old in are Wyoming, North Dakota, New York, Indiana and West Virginia. New York is a notable example of a state that fares poorly in both quality (34) and cost (tied for 46).

How the rankings were determined

The study incorporated statistics on senior living community reviews, nursing home costs, in-home care prices and elderly well-being assessments.

Caring.com noted in its news release about the report that contrary to many "best states to retire" rankings that cater to active seniors and pursuits such as hiking, golfing and traveling, "this analysis centered on America's rapidly growing elderly population and the medical and financial supports it requires in order to thrive."

Sources for the report include:

  • Nearly 150,000 consumer reviews of senior care facilities and in-home care providers (Caring.com)
  • 2017 long-term services and supports state scorecard (AARP, The Commonwealth Fund and The SCAN Foundation)
  • 2016 cost-of-care survey (Genworth)
  • 2015 state of American well-being (Gallup-Healthways)
  • 2015 American community survey (U.S. Census Bureau).

"We want to use this research as a starting point for really important conversations between family members," said Caring.com Vice President Tim Sullivan. "Too many people avoid thinking about senior care until it hits a crisis point. There are good options in every state, but it can take some time to sort out the best approach, so ideally you'll get the dialogue going early to help maximize your options."

In New England, New Hampshire had the best overall ranking (22), followed by Connecticut (29), Vermont (36), Massachusetts (38), Maine (40) and Rhode Island (41).

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