couple walking on beach
(Credit: PeopleImages/Getty Images)

Vermont is the best state — and Hartford, CT, is the best city — overall in the nation for senior living, according to a recent report examining quality-of-life factors for older adults and listing the best places to retire. released a report on the country’s “Best and Worst Places for Senior Living.” The report considered 45 factors, including healthcare and affordable housing, as well as community engagement, transportation and workforce development, as drivers of quality of life across 50 states and 302 cities.

Vermont’s “scenic views and its close proximity to some of the most exciting cities in North America” make it a great place to retire, according to the website, which also rated it best for healthcare. But senior living options there tend to cost more than the national average, Caring said.

Minnesota, Maine, Nebraska and South Dakota rounded out the overall top five states in the nation for older adults to call home. The top cities after Hartford were Pittsburgh; Burlington, VT; Portland, OR; and Minneapolis.

Florida, surprisingly, came in as the second-last worst state in the nation for senior living, bested only by California. But the cost of senior living options in Florida trend lower than national averages for all care settings, Caring said. Arizona, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas also were among the worst states, according to the website.

Out of 302 cities on the list, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, won the ranking of worst city in the country for senior living due to a lack of primary care physicians, higher-than-average housing costs, traffic congestion and poor air quality. Other cities to make the worst list were Palm Beach, FL; Alamo, CA; Brookhaven, NY; and Murrieta, CA. 

New York state ranked best in the senior living and housing category due to its abundance of senior centers, public transportation options and high walkability scores for various cities, Caring said. New York state also has more than the national average availability of multi-family housing and subsidized housing, with average costs for assisted living and memory care falling right around the national average.

New York state also rated tops for overall quality of life for older adults.

Miami earned the spot as the best city in the senior living and housing category due to its outdoor activity options, access to cultural events and warm temperatures. Assisted living and memory care costs also fall below the national average, Caring said.

The worst states for senior living and housing were Utah, Idaho and Montana. Although Utah’s costs for senior living options were less than the national average, the state offers little in the way of subsidized housing and is home to a high prevalence of smokers, Caring said. 

All three of the top worst cities for senior living and housing hail from Michigan: West Bloomfield, Warren and Troy.

Louisiana provided older adults with the worst quality of life due to its limited access to parks, grocery stores and farmer’s markets; a high crime rate; low drinking water quality; and little access to cultural, arts and entertainment institutions, Caring said. 

Cities with the worst quality of life for older adults were Brookhaven, NY; Loma Linda, CA; and Jackson, MS.

Affordability of senior living was best in West Virginia, and North and South Dakota. Wisconsin Rapids and Green Bay, WI, took honors for the most affordable cities for senior living, followed by Fort Wayne, IN.

California, Hawaii and New Jersey had the worst affordability for senior living. California also had two of the least affordable cities — Alamo and Rancho Palos Verdes — followed by Palm Beach, FL. California’s housing costs are much higher than the national average, although costs for most senior living options are less than or around the national average, Caring said.

In compiling the rankings, Caring looked at key indicators affecting overall health, happiness and quality of life for older adults. Metrics measured were senior living and housing, healthcare, transportation, quality of life and affordability.