Retirement & Financial Planning Report

While the overwhelming majority of individuals prefer to “age in place,” an alternative focus that might serve them better is to decide where they would age successfully, according to a nonpartisan study group, the Milken Institute.

The group’s key criteria for “successful aging” are health care, wellness, living arrangements, transportation, financial characteristics, employment and educational opportunities community engagement, and overall livability.

In particular, its Best Cities for Successful Aging ratings look at whether an environment is safe, affordable and convenient, quality of health providers and availability of recreation and other healthful pursuits, tax burdens, employment opportunities for older persons, the range of living options including assisted living facilities, the availability of public transportation, grocery stores and other retailers, volunteer opportunities, cultural institutions, and more.

By those standards, the top large metro areas are Madison, Wis.; Omaha-Council Bluffs, Iowa-Neb.; Provo-Orem, Utah; Boston and surrounding areas; and Salt Lake City. Top small metro areas were Iowa City, Iowa; Sioux Falls, S.D.; Columbia, Mo.; and Bismark, N.D.