Sarasota: Top City for U.S. Retirees?

Rear View of Senior Couple Walking Alone on A Tropical BeachWhat is the best city in the nation for retirees? Well, Portfolio.com lists greater Sarasota as a number one retirement destination. It based its conclusion on factors such as cultural activities, sports and leisure, outdoor possibilities, adult education options/ job opportunities, relatively low housing costs and income-tax rates, low crime rates, walkability and overall livability. Apparently, this is no secret to out-of-staters. According to Portfolio.com, about 95 percent of Sarasota’s seniors are not Florida natives. Just south, the town of Venice rated not far behind Sarasota in desirability at number 9.

With its temperate climate, parks, trees, nature trails, and top-rated beaches, Sarasota is truly a beautiful city. There are 35 miles of waterfront and 13 public beaches. One can canoe through tunnels of mangroves, check out marine life on a bay cruise, or go fishing.

For sports enthusiasts there are plenty of places to swim or walk and there are also 60 public and private golf courses. For spectator sports, residents can watch biking, tennis, minor league baseball, football, polo, and ice hockey.

Sarasota County is known by some as Florida’s Cultural Coast. The Van Wezel Performing Arts Center combines with many other attractions such as the Asolo Theatre Company, the Florida West Coast Symphony, the Sarasota Ballet, and the Sarasota Film Festival. The Ringling Museum of Art and the Florida State Art Museum combine with a dazzling display of art by some of the masters.

For those who enjoy night life, there are many entertaining spots, such as Captain Curt’s Back Room, Sunset Entertainment Cruises, and Daiquiri Deck Siesta Key.

There is a satisfyingly wide array of housing possibilities which are priced at every income range. From the palatial gated estates on and off the keys, one can also find mobile home communities and smaller homes. Of the eleven qualities boomers most want in a retirement mecca, Sarasota ranks highly in seven of them—including quality health care, temperate beachfront climate, low taxes, arts and culture, and senior recreation services.

Though one sees many young families strolling the streets, nearly 27 percent of Sarasota residents are 65 and older—the fourth-highest concentration of seniors in any U.S. market. This more than doubles the national average. Sarasota offers excellent hospital care, retirement communities, convalescent centers, and active senior in-home care. Understandably, most seniors want to retain their independence as long as possible.

There is a certain price to be paid for retaining that freedom and independence of home senior care. An estimated 44 million United States adults provide unpaid care to another adult, usually one’s parent or close relative. Women make up over 6 out of 10 caregivers. The female caregivers reported the highest stress levels, perhaps because they try harder to make their senior charge as happy and as comfortable as possible. One thing these family caregivers should avoid at any cost is total burnout. Though some may not be aware of it, there are “companions” or mobile caregivers who can give them a much-needed break from the continuous stress. Elite Senior Companions offers home chores, cooking and transportation to errands, shopping and appointments. Let’s watch over our senior population; they are a national treasure.

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