To Feel Young, Go West?

A new survey says westerners don’t feel as old as seniors in the rest of the country

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Retirees in the western U.S. say they feel younger than seniors in other parts of the country. Some 78 percent of adults age 65 and older who live in the west say they don't feel old, compared with 67 percent of older adults who live in the rest of the country, according to a recent Pew Research Center telephone survey of 2,969 adults. Only 21 percent of westerners age 65 and up say they perceive themselves as old, far fewer than northeasterners (28 percent), southerners (29 percent), and especially midwesterners (34 percent).

When asked how old they feel, two-thirds of seniors in the west said they feel younger than their years, while only 57 percent of older Americans in other regions did. Half of the westerners said they feel 10 or more years younger than their chronological age and 20 percent said they feel 20 or more years younger.

Of course, a variety of factors can influence how old you feel. The Pew survey found that older folks in the west were also more likely to report good health and said they exercised more than seniors in the rest of the country.

But the survey also found a few drawbacks to retiring in the west. Older Americans in the west are more likely than those who live elsewhere to have relocated at least once in their lives. Many retirees in the west are farther away and have less contact with their adult children. Seniors in the west are less likely to be in daily contact with a son or daughter in person, by phone or by E-mail than older adults with children in other retirement locations. Older westerners are also twice as likely as those in other regions to reside in an age-restricted community, with 16 percent of seniors in the west living in a senior-only community, compared with 8 percent of retirees in other parts of the country.

Other faucets of aging were similar in the west to other parts of the country. Seniors in the west experienced similar drawbacks of aging to those in other regions including illness, memory loss, loneliness, and financial stress. Americans in all parts of the country also experienced similar perks of retirement such as traveling, doing volunteer work, and having less stress.

For more great places to retire, see:

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