Nebraska may not be the first state that comes to mind as you begin your search for the idyllic retirement spot, but it offers quite a lot when it comes to medical coverage and a comfortable standard of living. This state, known primarily for its corn and beef industries, is best suited for the retiree that wants to continue working or already has a side business in which they want to further invest their time, as there are many programs that assist seniors with employment opportunities, transportation and more.
While Nebraska may not have as many older persons over the age of 65 as, say, Florida, the number of seniors is growing in leaps and bounds. Consider this: the 2016 census accounted for roughly 288,000 folks of retirement age, which is up 1.5 percent from 2010, when only a quarter of a million Nebraskans were age 65 or older.
This ranks the state at number 31 when compared with the rest of the nation, but still in excellent company alongside Alaska, Vermont, South Dakota and North Dakota. What does this mean? Unlike many states, there is still a large working population that offsets healthcare costs and keeps medical expenses on the affordable side.
Before investing in a mobile or in-home medical alert system, do factor in potential wait times and your willingness, or need, to live near a large university hospital or other fast-responding urgent care center. Why? Well, Nebraska is not always the most accessible place, especially if you live in the western-most reaches of the state or find yourself plagued by the tumultuous snowstorms that can wreak havoc along I-80.
Average wait times for emergency room care are approximately 20 minutes but can grow to over two hours if an overnight stay is required. If there is a lot of snow, waiting for a broken bone to be evaluated can take almost an hour.
Nebraska consistently ranked well above average for healthcare access (#27), quality of healthcare (#12) and public healthcare (#17), as scored and reviewed by U.S. News. The same survey by McKinsey & Company found Nebraska’s older adult dental visits to rank #15 on a national scale, with wellness check-ups at #41 and health insurance enrollment ranking a respectable #30. Nebraska comes in above the national average as well when one considers health spending per capita—an above-average $8,400. Other cost considerations include that of an in-home health-aides, which average $53,000 versus $42,000 for an assisted living facility.
These two factors might make an in-home medical alert system seem far more appealing, as one could age in place more peacefully and with a much higher quality of life. Finally, Medicare is also highly valued in the state, with a significant amount spent on protecting elder rights by way of the Nebraska Senior Medicare Patrol, which employs volunteers to help seniors avoid Medicare fraud and other healthcare-related scams.
Nebraska has seen an increase in the number of person ages 65 and older over the past few years, but has kept pace with their needs by offering a wealth of programs while simultaneously encouraging older adults to consider investing in medical alert systems. Some such programs include adult protective services, daycare services, supplemental food programs, food pantry access, food stamps, meal delivery, volunteer check-ins, in-home nurses, senior companion programs and hospice care.
Nebraska is a strong contender for an ideal retirement locale when one considers that seniors may want to continue working and simply need the support of community to do so. Cornhuskers tend to remain more gainfully employed in this state thanks to support from their local and regional governments, which provide transportation to job training or placement services. Even so, volunteers and officials encourage older adults to invest in medical alert systems to ensure they get quick medical care at top-notch emergency rooms if the need for such services arises.