Where to retire and get best care? Not Florida or Arizona: AARP

Fri Jun 20, 2014 6:46pm EDT
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By Barbra Liston

ORLANDO Fla. (Reuters) - Retirees who move to Florida and Arizona - popular retirement destinations - may not be getting the quality of life they expect, according to a study that ranked U.S. states by their long-term care services.

Florida, a retiree mecca with the nation's highest proportion of residents 65 or older, ranked 43rd, while Arizona, another top choice for retirees, came in at 21st in rankings by the AARP Public Policy Institute released this week.

Minnesota, Washington state and Oregon led the nation. On the other end of the scale, the Southern states of Kentucky, Alabama and Mississippi scored worst.

The rankings evaluated how well states help people who need assistance with routine activities of daily life such as bathing and eating because of a physical or cognitive long-term health condition.

The lead author on the report, Susan Reinhard, said the difference between top- and low-ranking states was a commitment to effectively care for the aging population.

“What strikes us is that the states that take this very seriously and plan for it are the ones that make progress,” Reinhard said.

The report noted that long-term care is unaffordable for middle-income families in all states, with state Medicaid programs stepping in to cover a substantial share of the costs. Top states scored very high on Medicaid performance, the report said.

The study took into account whether services are available to keep increasingly frail people in their homes rather than costly nursing facilities.   Continued...