North Dakota is, by all accounts, legendary! But don’t take the state’s word for it. Sure, Teddy Roosevelt and Sacajawea call this place home, but should you? North Dakota is still quite remote and, arguably, desolate with the fewest number of visitors per year. The state is famous for its bison, rolling hills, wide-open prairies and hunting. There is a lot more to love, though, if given the chance. This state boasts an incredibly low cost of living and populace, which plays to your favor given that there are more physicians and primary care providers per capita than elsewhere in the U.S. Read on to learn more about this, er, legendary state.
As previously noted, North Dakota does not have a very dense population with the state only totaling some 755,000 citizens. The over-65 crowd is also one of the smallest in the country with just slightly more than 100,000 folks landing in this key demographic. What’s more, the percentage of retirees has not changed over the past decade, which is the opposite of nearly every single state in the Union. But again, these statistics can actually play to your favor as the ratio of physicians and facilities to patients is excellent. To wit, there are six level-II trauma centers, 44 hospitals, 52 rural health facilities and 80 nursing homes to take care of any issues you might experience heading into your twilight years.
With such top-notch care both inside and outside the major cities, it is little wonder that emergency room response times are some of the best in the nation. Initial wait times to see a doctor are only 16 minutes followed closely by 50 minutes to have a bone set and treated. Time until admittance is also exceptional at only 74 minutes with discharge taking place only a few ticks past 90 minutes. One should be prepared, however, for potentially longer wait times if outside of the state capital of Bismarck or beyond the reaches of far eastern Fargo. Medical alert devices and systems pair nicely with most large medical facilities and first responder networks as they enable EMTs to have ready access to information that can aid in your treatment en route to the hospital.
If you can stand the bitter winters and short summers, then you should have few worries about the high level of medical care administered in North Dakota. The U.S. News & World Report placed the state 14th overall with high marks in health care quality (7th) and accessibility (15th). McKinsey & Company confirmed these latter findings by scoring the state 15th overall for availability to care with top scores in affordability (3rd) and enrollment completion to date (15th). What’s more, a Bankrate survey found well-being among seniors to be the fifth highest in the nation as many are still encouraged to age in place, if not work well into their golden years.
North Dakota does rely heavily, however, on federal funding for its seemingly tiny populace of over-65 persons. The state’s Department of Human Services does have an Adults and Aging Services division that provides relatively traditional services for those in need of assisted living facilities, caregiver support networks and ombudsman programs. The state does not offer reimbursement for medical alert devices or services, but does actively monitor the location of 9-1-1 callers and encourages folks to utilize GPS-location devices, especially if they intend to hunt or be away from home for more than a few days.
Before potentially relocating to this legendary state, pre-retirees and retirees should see whether they have a condition that could be adversely impacted by the extreme weather and conditions throughout this prairieland. North Dakota is a great location, though, if you are in need of more one-on-one medical attention than you were previously getting before as the ratio of older adults to physicians is certainly in your favor. Additionally, the state has an extremely low cost of living with many seniors able to easily purchase a home at around $100,000. The people of the state are also warm and welcoming with quality of living ranking higher than one might anticipate. Finally, and as with all decisions, weigh each factor when making this move and do consider investing in a medical alert device since the state just as remote as it is legendary.