1. Iowa City, Iowa. The city gets plenty of praise for low unemployment and ready access to health-care professionals, including doctors, orthopedic surgeons, nurses and physical therapists. It also boasts more than its share of specialty-care hospitals, including long-term hospitals, geriatric and hospice services, and Alzheimer's units. Better still, it's affordable with some of the lowest health-care expenses per inpatient day.
Transportation in Iowa City is also a selling point, with one of the highest public transportation riderships in the country. Its intergenerational workforce favors alternative transportation, and many commuters walk to work. Home prices and rents, however, are pricey for a Midwest city, and Milken Institute reports a need for more home health-care service providers for older adults.
It also found a high tax burden, low capital gains receipts and need for more banks and other financial institutions to support the city's population growth.
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2. Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Offering substantial income growth over the last five years, an expanding pool of doctors and nurses, and a commitment from state officials to develop senior-friendly community services, South Dakota's largest city is a retiree haven. Among 252 small metros, the city boasts a higher-than-average number of cultural attractions (museums, movie theaters), high volunteerism and the highest amount of bank deposits per capita.
Its hospitals also provide ample specialty services, such as geriatric, hospice and rehabilitation. And it enjoys low inpatient care costs, and short emergency room waits. Housing prices, however, are above average for small metros, potentially pricing out older residents. The cost for adult day services is also high.