10 Worst States to Live in if You're Over 65

Where you live matters for quality of life, especially over the age of 65.
Updated April 3, 2023
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senior man talking on cellphone sitting on couch at home

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Senior care is both big business and one of the top concerns of families today. After all, where you live plays a strong role in what senior services are available in the area. 

From nursing homes and independent living to medical care, seniors have to wade through a lot of tough decisions to avoid throwing money away and enjoy life on their terms.

Since it’s so location oriented, here are the 10 worst states to live in if you’re over 65.

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New Jersey

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe Newark New Jersey USA Skyline

New Jersey makes the list of places to avoid living if you’re over 65 for a few reasons. 

One, senior care in the state isn’t as good compared to other states. In addition, the high cost of living also means high property taxes for senior citizens. 

On a fixed income, that could mean future difficulties with keeping a paid-off home.


Kevin Ruck/Adobe downtown Fort Lauderdale Florida USA skyline from Waterway

It might be shocking to see Florida on the list of places for seniors to avoid. After all, isn’t the stereotype that seniors head down to Florida in the winter? 

While it’s true that Florida is a haven for snowbirds, rising expenses across the board indicate that this trend may be dying out soon.

Indeed, Florida rents have skyrocketed in the post-pandemic era, squeezing out seniors on very fixed incomes. In addition, Florida has had several high-level scandals with nursing homes, leading to growing concerns about senior care management.


Dreamframer/Adobe San Jose California downtown

California has plenty of sunshine for everyone, making it a popular place to live, work and play. However, rising costs and ongoing energy grid concerns cast quite a bit of a shadow over the Golden State.

The average nursing home in California costs $9247 a month, and long term care insurance can no longer keep up with the cost of senior care. This means that families are going to have to either have assets on hand, or spend them down in order to qualify for Medicaid.

For that much money, there are other states to live in for a better quality of life.


Kevin Ruck/Adobe aerial view of downtown mobile skyline

Does Alabama have California’s high cost of living issue? No. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s a great place to live in if you’re over 65. 

The issue that Alabama has is that it lacks significant capital investment in terms of healthcare infrastructure, nursing homes, and public transportation. Many seniors either do not have vehicles or can no longer drive. 

Without good access to public transportation, they can end up getting trapped at home with few social outputs. 

The public transportation problem is so bad that there are multiple groups urging Alabama to fix the issue with pandemic-related infrastructure funding.


Lewis/Adobe Little Rock skyline

Like Alabama, Arkansas struggles to provide a quality of life for senior citizens. Many areas of Arkansas are not only very rural but have limited access to broadband internet. 

While the stereotype is that senior citizens avoid technology like the plague, the reality is a bit different. 

Seniors are excited to use technology to keep in touch with family near and far away, keep up with the news, shop online for convenience, and learn about ongoing issues.


Kevin Ruck/Adobe USA Downtown Skyline aerial

Sadly, Hurricane Katrina revealed multiple quality-of-life and infrastructure issues within the state of Louisiana, impacting people of all ages. However, senior care took a sharp hit. 

Just getting seniors resettled was a battle within the state, and even years later, many are still feeling the aftereffects of the infamous hurricane.

As Louisiana’s economy is heavily focused on tourism, it means that seniors needing access to employment may face an uphill battle to have consistent income. These issues make the state not such a great option for seniors.


jdross75/Adobe austin skyline at sunset

Texas is big business: oil, gas, energy, technology, tourism, and more. However, senior care lags as the focus is more on getting young families into the state to improve the economy. 

Multiple Texas nursing homes have faced serious violations, and the pandemic has only added more strain to these issues.


SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe Oklahoma USA downtown skyline at twilight

Like Texas, Oklahoma is in a state of crisis with its nursing home facilities. Poor conditions and bad management have led to several high-visibility cases of elder abuse, with little chance of a major push for reform. 

While costs aren’t as high as in California, costs are indeed rising across the state.

Oklahoma is also the center of a huge cannabis boom, pushing real estate prices upward as multiple dispensaries and cultivation operations sprang up across the state.


JDALASKA/Adobe Winter Nome

Not only is Alaska cold, but it’s also incredibly expensive. Just about everything has to be imported in, meaning that the gallon of milk that’s fairly inexpensive in the lower 48 comes with a hefty premium in the Last Frontier.

Seniors looking for quality long-term care need to steer clear of Alaska for several reasons. 

One, most people don’t have family in the state, meaning that it would mean expensive visits to stay in touch. Next, the cost of living can run even a good nest egg down quickly. Finally, Alaska’s climate may be too harsh to bear.


EJRodriquez/Adobe view of the Mississippi River

Mississippi has sadly become the proverbial poster child for terrible state management. From physical infrastructure to healthcare, this state leads the nation in being the worst across the board.

Being low-income in the state of Mississippi is an ongoing battle for services, especially senior care services. Nursing home quality is well below average, with little talk at the state level of allocating more resources to address the problem.

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Bottom line

michaelheim/Adobe blond woman standing daydreaming

Living in the “wrong” state isn’t the end of the world. After all, plenty of seniors figure out how to maintain quality of life in Alaska or Mississippi. The road is just a bit tougher. 

If anything, this guide should spark more insight into not just why people move to an area, but also why they leave as well.

The Population Reference Bureau estimates that in 2060, the senior population in America will double to 100 million. 

It’s never a bad idea to begin thinking about supplementing your Social Security or revisiting senior care plans if you’re already over 65.

FinanceBuzz is not an investment advisor. This content is for informational purposes only, you should not construe any such information as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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