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Nearly 36 percent of Arizona’s residents are age 50 or older, which equates to more than 2.5 million people. In some ways, Arizona is quite representative of the U.S. as a whole when it comes to demographics and other data related to seniors in the state. For example, about 35.3 percent of Americans are 50 and older, a nearly identical rate to the rate in Arizona.
What else can we learn about seniors in Arizona, a state that’s rapidly becoming a popular choice for retirees? Between 2010 and 2018, the state’s median age rose by 5.8 percent, the fourth-fastest rate in the country. Today, the median age in Arizona is 38 years, slightly younger than the overall median age in the United States (38.5 years), and life expectancy here is about a year longer than life expectancy in the U.S.
Only 36.4 percent of those 55 and older are still in the workforce (eighth-lowest in the country), which is likely a reflection of the fact that many people relocate to Arizona in retirement. Still, the average senior-led household enjoys a slightly better-than-average annual income of $46,064.
*Includes Black, Native American, Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander or individuals of one or more other races, and Hispanic/Latinx people of any race.
Arizona's Senior Living Costs
Arizona is known for its low cost of living. This boils down to housing, utility, food, and transportation costs. The good news is that people don't have to sacrifice comfort and quality of life to enjoy this affordability. Avondale, Youngtown, Florence, Buckeye, and Goodyear are some of the cheapest places to live in the state. The median home price for these areas sit in the mid $100,000 to 200,000's, which is great value compared to the more expensive states in the country like California and New York.
The average home health care cost in Arizona is $4,004, while adult day health care is $1,766 per month. Seniors who require some help with day to day activities at home but are healthy and independent can take advantage of home health care in Arizona. Adult day health care is available in the state to provide caregivers a break while giving seniors the care they need in a community center.
The average cost of assisted living facilities come out to approximately $3,500 a month in Arizona. These facilities provide an intermediate level of long-term care. Those who need help with day to day activities and cannot live at home alone stay here to get the assistance and care they need to survive. On the other hand, nursing home care is also available in the state for those who need round the clock skilled nursing care. As expected, the nursing home costs are much greater than assisted living. The costs range from $6,388 to $7,604 depending on whether it's a semi-private or private room.
Arizona's Senior Living Options
Whether you're looking for independent living, assisted living, memory care, or nursing home care, the senior living options in Arizona are ample. Learn more about each and get an idea of your options and which would suit you best below.
Arizona is home to over 200 independent living communities scattered throughout the state. Healthy and active seniors in Arizona prefer independent living because the living communities in the state have been continually developing their standards for senior care to ensure quality service for retired residents. For a monthly fee averaging out to approximately $2,382 a month, seniors are able to enjoy community housing and take advantage of all the amenities that it has to offer. While independent living communities do not provide personal care services like assistance with bathing, eating, and dressing, the elderly can get help with transportation, housekeeping, and meals. There are also plenty of social activities available in these communities.
Many independent living communities in Arizona are situated to convenience stores, churches, hospitals, freeway access, and restaurants, making it easy for older people to get around town.
In addition to independent living communities, there are also many 55+ senior apartments available for rent in the state. Monthly rent varies depending on where you settle down, but the senior apartment communities in Arizona are all designed to meet the needs of older residents by ensuring that all homes are safety-equipped, and offer leisure activities and convenient services. Most communities have fitness centers, community pools, movie theatres, and more for residents to enjoy. Similar to independent living communities, apartments don't come with daily assistance, personal care, or medical surveillance. For that, you'll want to consider assisted living.
In short, independent living in Arizona is suitable for healthy elders who want to live on their own but in a community with others who are in their similar age range.
Retirement Communities in Arizona
There are lots of great reasons to retire to the Grand Canyon State. In fact, in 2017, Arizona was named one of the best states in which to retire, coming in at number six. With all that it has to offer, Arizona has become an increasingly popular retirement destination. The allure and beauty of the American Southwest is just the beginning. Let’s look at some of the financial and lifestyle benefits to be had when you choose to retire in Arizona.
Arizona offers a lower cost of living compared to many other states. It also grants major tax breaks to its senior citizens who do not pay taxes on social security benefits. Additionally, there is no inheritance, estate or gift tax. For the older adult who wants to live off their savings, all of these tax breaks can add up fast. They do tax 401Ks, IRAs and some pensions, however.
Arizona provides lots of activities and breathtaking scenery. It offers a wide array of scenery – from the expansive desert landscape to snowcapped mountains and everything in between. And, who can forget the majesty of the Grand Canyon and Red Rock Park? Activities and adventure abound – from fishing in the Colorado River to snow skiing in Flagstaff to bouldering in Phoenix … the state is just begging to be explored. The state is overflowing with activities for the active senior, such as golfing, fishing, hiking, kayaking, snow skiing horseback riding and so much more to do and enjoy.
For people who suffer from allergies and asthma, Arizona offers allergy-friendly living. Since much of the state is a desert, the allergy-causing vegetation that causes many people to suffer is nowhere in sight.
The desert climate, warm temperatures and no humidity, even in the winter, provides Arizona with near-perfect weather. With over 300 days of sunshine each year, summer in the southern part of the state is hot which is good for those with arthritic conditions. For those wanting to escape the heat, cooler temps can be found in the northern part of the state with its higher altitudes. Those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder will benefit from the abundance of sunshine.
Arizona, known for its world-renowned golf courses, is a haven for professional and novice golfers alike with more than 421 total golf courses. Click here for Golf Digest’s list of the best courses in Arizona.
Arizona has been a retirement destination for decades; therefore, you’ll find a large number of senior communities from which to choose when you decide to spend your final years under the warmth of the Arizona sun.
Since Arizona is home to a large number of retirees, you can expect to find a plethora of assisted living choices to choose from. Ideally, the assisted living facility you choose will offer the help you need but also allow you to feel at home with social opportunities, attentive caregivers, healthcare, and access to local activities and entertainment.
Assisted living costs in Arizona range from $1,100 – $6,700 a month. This averages out to around $3,500 a month. Compared to neighboring states, Arizona's assisted living costs are lower, and it's also lower than the national average. The most expensive assisted living facilities are located in the Flagstaff metropolitan area, where fees range from $4,000 – $4,750 a month. The more affordable ones are situated around the Yuma area, where costs range from $1,635 – $3,500 a month.
Seniors in Arizona seeking a comfortable home environment with some assistance with day to day activities like housekeeping, laundry, transportation, meal services, etc. will benefit from settling down in an assisted living facility. These facilities have staff working 24/7 to ensure safety of all residents.
Arizona has the lowest memory costs in the Southwest, with an average monthly cost of $3,458. Neighboring states have an average cost ranging from $3,857 to $4,714. There are many research facilities within the state that are dedicated to understanding and treating Alzheimer's and dementia health complications. Seniors residing here are at the forefront of memory care treatments.
Arizona has dozens of memory care facilities located throughout the state to help with day to day activities like getting dressed, preparing and eating meals on a regular basis, bathing and grooming, and taking medications on time. There are facilities with staff on hand around the clock to care for seniors with advanced dementia conditions as well.
Arizona is home to a plethora of nursing homes offering adult day care, skilled nursing, hospice, and respite care.
Staying active while in old age is of utmost importance to quality of life. Arizona has many adult day care nursing homes that are designed to keep residents mentally engaged with activities like art therapy, music therapy, aquatics, and more. Health screenings, guided exercise, nutrition plans, and supervision day and night are all part of adult day care centers in Arizona. Adult day care costs can range from $1,408 to $2,990 a month, with an average of $1,766 per month.
End of life quality is often overlooked, but not so in Arizona. Hospices are a calming, and pleasant way to care for terminally ill seniors going through the process of dying without feeling alone or left behind. There are over 450 hospice facilities in the state of Arizona. Staff at each and every hospice are trained on how to manage the pain of residents with medications and activities. Families will be counseled on how to best care for their loved ones and what to expect. Hospice care can be covered by Medicaid, Medicare, and most private insurance plans, and staff will help every prospective patient on how to qualify for hospice care. The average cost of hospice care in Arizona is $55,080 per year, with the monthly range between $3,300 and $6,000.
Respite care is also available in the state for temporary facility care of a dependent elderly, handicapped, or ill person. This way, caregivers are able to take a break to recharge and maintain a balanced life. Arizona is home to more than 400 respite care facilities that provide short-term care stays for seniors. Typical prices for respite care here range from $6,308 – $12,833 per month a month depending on a variety of factors. Respite care facilities offer nursing home services and amenities, including but not limited to three nutritious meals everyday, housekeeping and laundry service, transportation, activities, personal assistance, medical management, and 24-hour supervision and security.
Annual rental cost, Zillow Rent Index, States
Job openings, pulled from Indeed.com and SimplyHired.com in April 2020
Employment and wages, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2019 publication
Household income and population figures, U.S. Census Bureau, most recent publications on all topics