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Is Florida Really Retirement Heaven for Seniors?

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Florida draws millions of retirees to our state, drawn by the beautiful weather and zero personal income tax. However, a recent study suggests that the state only performs in the middle of the pack on measures of senior wellbeing. As reported by the Orlando Sentinel, Florida ranked only 29th of all 50 states in terms of senior physical and mental wellbeing.

The Numbers

Let’s look at why Florida ranked so lowly:

  • There has been a 36% increase in the number of seniors diagnosed with depression by a mental health professional
  • Florida had one of the worst rates of volunteerism for the elderly, clocking in at #47
  • About 10% of Florida’s seniors are excessive drinkers
  • Florida has one of the highest poverty rates in the country at 10.2%
  • When looking at seniors with chronic health conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, Florida ranked last of all states

Underlying many of the physical and mental conditions is a sense of loneliness, especially from our recent arrivals from other states. Seniors who move to Florida often leave behind their social network, including their extended family. As a result, some turn to alcohol to deal with their isolation.

How Seniors Can Improve their Wellbeing

Living in a retirement community like The Villages might actually mitigate some of the isolation, if residents make time to get to know their neighbors. However, many of the same challenges will remain, especially if you moved to Florida and left your family behind.

To improve your wellbeing, commit to addressing any chronic conditions, including addictions, with a doctor. Medications as well as lifestyle changes can make a big improvement in physical and mental health. Exercise can also help seniors meet other people, providing a psychological lift in the process.

According to A Place for Mom, seniors can reduce their isolation by doing the following:

  • Get a pet. Taking care of a dog, cat, or bird can give a senior a sense of purpose. It feels good to be needed.
  • For example, helping someone learn to read can be a powerful way to feel fulfilled. Seniors can also volunteer at different community events, such as acting as an usher at the community theater.
  • Take a class. It’s never too late to learn. Even housebound seniors can take courses online.
  • Find ways to get around. If you no longer drive, then you need some way to travel. Learn about public transportation options in and around The Villages.
  • Meet with a financial planner if tight finances are causing stress. You should also learn of what public assistance programs are available for seniors.

By taking these steps, seniors can begin to improve the quality of their life, setting themselves up for a happy retirement.

Your Elder Law Needs

The estate planning attorneys at the Millhorn Elder Law Planning Group have served The Villages for years. We have extensive experience helping residents create estate plans, navigate probate, and handle guardianship issues.

If you have a legal issue, please contact us. You can schedule a free consultation with one of our elder law attorneys by calling 800-743-9732.

Resources:

aplaceformom.com/blog/9-2-14-reduce-senior-isolation/

orlandosentinel.com/opinion/os-op-senior-citizens-florida-health-20190609-j2fst2a76vchlp423cwj7ejdaq-story.html

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