Oregon is steeped in history, but should you consider adding your own to the long list of fur traders and pioneers that came before you? Many reports are split on the Beaver State. Some claim that the state should rank as high as fifth when it comes to making a move in retirement, while others think it among the worst. The divide has much to do with weather and other factors beyond one’s control, but the state still warrants consideration as there is more to the state than needing to carry an umbrella (on occasion!).
Oregon’s over-65 crowd grew tremendously from 2010 to 2014 at a pace of 18 percent. This, however, was not driven by vast migrations reminiscent of 1811, but due to the in-place populace reaching retirement age. The number of those 65 and over now numbers just shy of 700,000, or 16.8% of the entire population of the Beaver State. The state spends, on average, $8,044 per capita per year on this segment of population. While this may be in line with the rest of the United States, the cost of living in Oregon can skew higher and seniors would be wise to investigate whether they are eligible for Medicare or Medicaid.
Just as critics and reviewers are torn on whether to place Oregon at the top or bottom of surveys on where to retire, emergency room response times also landed somewhere in the middle of the pack. To wit, it can take up to 27 minutes to be seen by a doctor and nearly three hours to be discharged. Care for a broken bone will require a 53-minute wait and admittance can take 90 minutes. Such long wait times can be mitigated by researching and ultimately buying an in-home or mobile medical alert system. These technologies can store your personnel data and aid first responders in gaining access to your home, administering care en route to the emergency room and ensuring there are no misdiagnoses should you be unable to communicate an allergy or the like.
The Beaver State continues its middling performance when reviewed for health care with the U.S. News & World Report placing the state twentieth and McKinsey & Company lowering that mark to #31. The former gave Oregon high scores for quality of health care (#8), but lowered those for public health access (#23) and overall availability (#31). The latter ranked the state 16th for affordability, 20th for both older adult dental care service and health insurance enrollment and 42nd for generic checkups. WalletHub proved no better by ranking the state 23rd overall for health care and 31st for affordability.
With so many Oregonians joining the over-65 gang, one might think that the overall cost for assisted living or nursing homes would be on the decline. That said, one would be forgiven to know that, yet again, the state scores right on average when held up against the rest of the United States. Depending on the accommodation type, annual costs can range from $47,000 to nearly $100,000. Thus, the state focuses a great deal of energy on ensuring seniors can age in place comfortably and safely. This focus works best when an individual also invests in a subscriber-based home unit that can get an older adult closer to care by providing instructions to first responders on how to access the home and administer care in an effective manner.
Oregon is not all bad, but there are some key considerations if you are looking to chart your own pioneer path to the Beaver State. The most important aspect might be the cost of living, which can be a bit steep. This goes double if you find yourself living on an ever-shrinking pension. Still, the culture of the state ranks 12th for the United States and boasts both coastal and mountain-side living options. Quality of life is, of course, but a single factor one should consider when moving to a retirement locale, but the positive knock-on effects of living comfortably in a place you love could do wonders for staving off depression, anxiety or other similar ailments that grow more prevalent as we age.