The 10 Best Cities for Technology-Assisted Living

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The 10 Best Cities for Technology-Assisted Living

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The National Conference of State Legislatures and AARP Public Policy Institute report that nearly 90 percent of people over the age of 65 want to stay in their home for as long as possible. Fortunately, in most cases, they won’t have to move as they age. According to Seniorly, a service that helps people find senior care, the majority of seniors do NOT need to move into a nursing home. They simply need some care equivalent to what they would find in an assisted living community, which includes assistance with daily activities like meals, medication, housekeeping, bathing and transportation.

And these days, there’s an app for that. An elderly woman can take an Uber to her friend’s home, find someone to walk her dog through Rover.com, schedule her lawn to be mowed or her house to be cleaned through Porch, get groceries delivered through Instacart, and schedule a professional caregiver to assist with bathing, meal preparation and other daily living activities through CareLinx. Or, for those seniors who aren’t tech-savvy, friends and family can use these technology-based services to arrange care for them.

To find the best cities for this type of technology-assisted living, we first identified which cities are served by Uber, Rover, Porch, Instacart and CareLinx. There are plenty of other companies that provide similar services, but we felt those five companies were good bellwethers for a city’s overall techiness; if a city has all five options, chances are it has a range of technology-based services.

Then we used Redfin housing data to calculate what the median monthly mortgage payment would be in those cities, and compared it to the average monthly fee for assisted living facilities in those cities (using data from Metlife). The cities that made our top 10 list are places where you’d have at least $1,500 each month to spend on the cost of services booked through Uber, Rover, Porch, Instacart and CareLinx, and, after paying your mortgage, it’d still be less expensive than an assisted living facility.

For seniors who need basic assistance and want to remain at home, these services are an attractive option. And, depending on the amount of care required, they can be a more affordable option as well. For example, in Washington D.C., a resident could spend $3,000 on care services and $2,787 on their mortgage, and still spend less than the $5,933 it would take to live in an assisted living facility.

“People often think of services like Uber and Instacart as being something that only millennials use, but those services can be a way for elderly people who need assistance to remain in their homes,” said Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson. “And when you compare the cost of a mortgage with the cost of assisted living facilities, in some cases it can make more financial sense to use those services and age in place, rather than move to a facility, depending on the level of care required of course.”

10BestCitiesforTechAssistedLiving

 1. Washington, District of Columbia

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  • Median Home Sale Price in June 2015: $550,000
  • Estimated Monthly Mortgage Payment (with 4.5% Interest): $2,787
  • Average Monthly Cost for an Assisted Living Facility: $5,933
  • Cost Difference Between Mortgage and Assisted Living: $3,146

“With all of the amenities available in D.C., seniors have a lot of options if they want to age in place in their D.C. homes or downsize from a suburban home to a low-maintenance condo in the city,” said Michael Alderfer, a Redfin real estate agent in Washington D.C. “There is always something interesting to do in the city and many of the local events and museums are free. The Metro system is an excellent resource for seniors to get around without a car; and seniors with disabilities may be eligible for the MetroAccess program, which provides door-to-door paratransit service.”

2. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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  • Median Home Sale Price in June 2015: $215,738
  • Estimated Monthly Mortgage Payment (with 4.5% Interest): $1,093
  • Average Monthly Cost for an Assisted Living Facility: $4,044
  • Cost Difference Between Mortgage and Assisted Living: $2,951

“Philadelphia is really gaining traction as one of the best places to live in the U.S. for people of all ages,” said Jimmy Caraway, a Redfin real estate agent in Philadelphia. “Philly has been ranking high in national trends in 2015, with mentions in New York Times’ best places to travel in 2015, Conde Nast’s best cities to shop in and one of the most walkable cities in the U.S., according to Walk Score. Factor in our two subway lines in the heart of the city, and it’s no surprise that our city ranks high for seniors to age in place.”

3. Chicago, Illinois

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  • Median Home Sale Price in June 2015: $289,000
  • Estimated Monthly Mortgage Payment (with 4.5% Interest): $1,464
  • Average Monthly Cost for an Assisted Living Facility: $4,140
  • Cost Difference Between Mortgage and Assisted Living: $2,676

“Chicago is a great option for Baby Boomers; condo prices are relatively affordable, and there are plenty of amenity-rich high-rise buildings right in the heart of the densest areas, often steps from great theater, museums, and restaurants,” said Clayton Jirak, a Redfin real estate agent in Chicago. “Many of my clients have decided to move from the suburbs to the city to be closer to their adult children, and have downsized their home in return for a higher quality of living and a greater social network in the city.”

4. Austin, Texas

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  • Median Home Sale Price in June 2015: $345,775
  • Estimated Monthly Mortgage Payment (with 4.5% Interest): $1,752
  • Average Monthly Cost for an Assisted Living Facility: $4,217
  • Cost Difference Between Mortgage and Assisted Living: $2,465

“Austin’s economy is booming thanks to technology companies, so it’s no surprise that there are a lot of options for technology-based services that can help the elderly,” said Cyndy Stewart, a Redfin real estate agent in Austin. “With a median home sale price of $274,000, Austin is also relatively affordable compared to other tech-centric cities like San Francisco and Seattle. We have a lot to offer retirees, including great weather year-round, plenty of good restaurants and entertainment, and excellent healthcare facilities thanks to the universities and hospitals in town.”

5. Houston, Texas

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  • Median Home Sale Price in June 2015: $205,000
  • Estimated Monthly Mortgage Payment (with 4.5% Interest): $1,039
  • Average Monthly Cost for an Assisted Living Facility: $3,382
  • Cost Difference Between Mortgage and Assisted Living: $2,343

“Houston buyers have more purchasing power compared to other large cities, and children of senior citizens are buying homes and condos to accommodate the needs of their aging parents,” said Tara Waggoner, a Redfin real estate agent in Houston. “We have many senior-focused activities, fitness and social groups arranged by the parks and recreation department. To help seniors stay physically and mentally fit, we have square dancing groups that meet regularly and many adult daycare facilities. With year round warm weather, there is really a lot for seniors to do in Houston!”

6. Boston, Massachusetts

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  • Median Home Sale Price in June 2015: $450,000
  • Estimated Monthly Mortgage Payment (with 4.5% Interest): $2,280
  • Average Monthly Cost for an Assisted Living Facility: $4,504
  • Cost Difference Between Mortgage and Assisted Living: $2,224

“Boston is a great city for seniors to age in place, because we have a great public transportation system and low-cost entertainment options,” said James Gulden, a Redfin real estate agent in Boston. “Seniors can walk the Freedom Trail, feed swans in the Public Garden and take a tour of the Boston Public Library, all free of charge! Our city is also the third most walkable in the U.S., according to Walk Score, and we have commuter rails and subway systems that make owning a car an option rather than a necessity.”

7. Miami, Florida

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  • Median Home Sale Price in June 2015: $270,000
  • Estimated Monthly Mortgage Payment (with 4.5% Interest): $1,368
  • Average Monthly Cost for an Assisted Living Facility: $3,356
  • Cost Difference Between Mortgage and Assisted Living: $1,988

“The biggest benefit of living in Miami is our year-round warm weather. Seniors don’t have to worry about being stuck inside because of sub-zero temperatures or having to clear snow and ice from their sidewalk or driveway,” said Cecilia Cordova, a Redfin real estate agent in Miami. “Miami, especially in the Downtown, Brickell and Edgewater areas, makes living without a car very accessible. Residents can walk to the Metromover or the Metrorail to access different parts of the city. There are lots of shops and restaurants nearby and Miami Dade Community College offers classes and activities for people of all ages.”

8. Denver, Colorado

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  • Median Home Sale Price in June 2015: $305,000
  • Estimated Monthly Mortgage Payment (with 4.5% Interest): $1,545
  • Average Monthly Cost for an Assisted Living Facility: $3,511
  • Cost Difference Between Mortgage and Assisted Living: $1,966

“Denver is an excellent place to retire; the city has low crime, excellent healthcare and affordable housing options,” said Michelle Ackerman, a Redfin real estate agent in Denver. “In addition, tech-savvy seniors (or their loved ones) can take advantage of all the technology-based services that are available here. The city has a lot of residents who work for tech companies, and as a result many startups have found an audience – and success – in the city.”

9. Atlanta, Georgia

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  • Median Home Sale Price in June 2015: $263,000
  • Estimated Monthly Mortgage Payment (with 4.5% Interest): $1,333
  • Average Monthly Cost for an Assisted Living Facility: $3,090
  • Cost Difference Between Mortgage and Assisted Living: $1,757

“Atlanta is a great city for seniors to age in place because you can buy a lot of house for the money here, especially compared to similar large cities,” said Pam O’Connor-Smith, a Redfin real estate agent in Atlanta. “We’re even seeing the children of seniors purchase homes to accommodate their aging parents. As far as cost savings, several counties in the Atlanta area have senior tax exemptions, which can mean upwards of a 75 percent reduction in property and public school tax for people aged 62 or higher, depending on the county.”

10. Portland, Oregon

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  • Median Home Sale Price in June 2015: $345,000
  • Estimated Monthly Mortgage Payment (with 4.5% Interest): $1,748
  • Average Monthly Cost for an Assisted Living Facility: $3,296
  • Cost Difference Between Mortgage and Assisted Living: $1,548

“People in Portland love their apps, so it’s no surprise that they’d use them to schedule care for themselves or their loved ones,” said Tami Ritoch, a Redfin real estate agent in Portland. “In addition to affordable housing, the city has a lot of attractive features for retirees. Oregon Health & Science University and Providence Medical Center offer cutting-edge healthcare facilities. There are a lot of parks and green spaces that are fun to explore, and the light rail/streetcar system are easy to navigate, so residents can be less car-dependent. We also have a temperate climate that isn’t too hot or too cold at any time of the year.”

Methodology

Redfin data scientists looked at 52 major cities across the U.S. and found 14 cities that were served by all five technology companies – Uber, Rover, Porch, Instacart and CareLinx. Then they pulled the average monthly fee for assisted living facilities from this 2012 report from Metlife and compared it to the median monthly mortgage payment for each city. To calculate the median monthly mortgage payment, they pulled Redfin data on the median home sale price in June for the zip codes that correspond to the Metlife data and calculated what the monthly mortgage would be, assuming a 30-year fixed rate mortgage with a 4.5% interest rate. The cities that had the greatest difference between the cost of assisted living facilities and the median monthly mortgage payment made the top 10 list:

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