Data shows that people worldwide are living longer. While aging is a beautiful part of life, it often comes with some health challenges, including; muscle and joint pain, mobility issues, and loss of hearing, vision and memory. Despite these difficulties, a new survey from Today’s Homeowner reveals that 89% of Americans over 55 wish to “age in place” or grow old in their current home. One survey respondent when asked about their thoughts on aging in place said:

“I will stay here as long as physically possible, and if there is an issue I will be concerned at that time. My mom was able to live independently in her home until she was 95.”

However, many lack the necessary home modifications to comfortably age in place, like outdoor ramps and wheelchair-accessible doorways. Additionally, only 34% of respondents said it would be “very feasible” to pay for aging-in-place home modifications.

The research team at Today’s Homeowner polled Americans 55 and older to learn more about the motivations behind aging in place and the financial feasibility of doing so. We also determined the top cities to age in place using publicly available data on affordability, accessibility, entertainment options and more.

Read our findings below and visit our Methodology section for further details on how we gathered data for this report.

Key Findings

  • Close to 36% of aging adults would be willing to move for a more affordable cost of living, while 34% say nothing would entice them to leave their current homes.
  • Regarding ambitions to age in place, most adults are concerned about performing day-to-day activities (37%), loneliness (35%) and being able to afford at-home care (27%).
  • Aging in place is easier in some areas than others: Corpus Christi, TX, Spokane, WA, and St. Louis, MO are the top three best cities to age in place.
  • Across the two most popular retirement states, Florida and Arizona, only two cities rank in the top 30 to age in place: Fort Lauderdale, FL (No. 6) and Cape Coral, FL (No. 18).

Staying Independent Is a Top Priority For 48% of Aging Adults

Although research has shown that older adults who live in retirement communities are happier (and often healthier) than those who don’t, the majority still wish to age in place. Why is that?

Mostly because they wish to maintain their independence — the main motivation for aging in place for nearly half (48%) of our survey respondents. 

The other top reasons were living in a fully paid-off home (19%) and an affordable living situation (11%). Data shows that the cost of senior housing and care facilities has been rising, with a median annual cost of $54,000 for an assisted living facility in the U.S. in 2021. For many older Americans, aging in place may be the more affordable option.

Emotional attachment to one's home was the fifth-highest motivator for aging in place. Studies have also shown that, as we age, we tend to develop deeper attachments toward objects, which may include a house. For many, a home is far beyond just a place to live. One of our survey respondents explained their reason for not wanting to move as such:

“I moved in when [I] was 2 and I want to grow old here. My roots are planted.”

Moving can be emotionally draining at any age, but for many older people, staying in their homes is non-negotiable.

Some U.S. Cities Are Better for Aging in Place

Some aging adults have significant worries about aging in place where they currently live. When asked about what concerns they had about aging in place, one person responded:

“Too many [concerns] to list. I should have already moved."

Other respondents mentioned concerns about aging in their current neighborhood and not having stores within walking distance. With that in mind, the Today’s Homeowner research team analyzed data across 100 of the largest U.S. cities to determine the best cities for seniors to remain at home as they grow older. 

We ranked the top cities for aging in place based on financial, health and safety, and community factors (things like concentration of retirees, walkability and more). Our analysis revealed that the top 10 cities to age in place are mostly in middle America. But in the top 30, a few coastal cities make the cut, as seen in the map below.

Retirement Hotspots May Be Less Favorable For Aging in Place

Many Americans flock to Arizona and Florida as they reach retirement. While these may be favorable states to live in a retirement community, data shows those states may not be best for those wishing to age in place. In our analysis, no Arizona cities ranked in the top 30 best cities to age in place, while Florida had just two of its seven major cities rank in the top 30.

Tucson, Arizona ranked No. 58 while Phoenix followed closely behind, at No. 63. Florida had a couple of cities rank in the top 30 — Fort Lauderdale ranked No. 6 and Cape Coral No. 18. But the next Florida city on the list (Miami) came in at No. 54. Florida cities lost points mainly due to having higher housing costs compared to income and higher risk for natural disasters.

Even With Large Senior Populations, New England Cities Fall Behind

New England has some of the highest percentages of seniors. Yet, according to our study, no New England cities made it into the top 10 — or even the top 30 — cities to age in place.

Of the four New England cities we considered, the highest ranking was Bridgeport, Connecticut, coming in at No. 57. This was followed by Providence, Rhode Island at No. 74, and Springfield and Boston, Massachusetts, at No. 80 and 94, respectively. In all of these cities, only 21% of homes were one-story, and housing costs were high compared to income; both factors contributed to lower scores in terms of being age-in-place friendly.

Despite Wishes to Age in Place, Concerns Abound

Though many older Americans wish to age in place, people are concerned about the practical and financial feasibility. As maintaining independence as a top motivator for wanting to age in place, it’s perhaps no surprise that the top concern about aging in place revolved around losing independence by being unable to perform normal day-to-day activities. But wanting to be independent does not mean wanting to be alone — that was the second biggest concern for aging adults.

The three most common concerns for aging in place were:

  1. Not being able to perform day-to-day activities (37%)
  2. Being alone (35%)
  3. Not being able to afford at-home care (27%)

Not Being Able to Perform Day-to-Day Activities

According to our survey, the most common concern about aging in place is being unable to perform day-to-day activities independently. Additionally, when asked to describe their worries about aging, many expressed concerns about relying on others:

“I live with [my] adult daughter and family and am concerned that I will become a burden to them, [that] my mobility or health may become a burden on their time and independence.” 

“Finding reliable people to do the things I won't be able to do when I get too old to do lawn and garden maintenance.”

“That I would have to hire more handymen, landscapers, painters, and so forth as I won't be able anymore to maintain and do repairs on my property on my own due to lack of energy, physical abilities and illness.”

Loneliness Concerns

Being alone was the second most common worry about aging in place, with 35% of respondents listing this as a concern. Similarly, 17% said they were concerned about “being far away from family/friends.”

Loneliness is a worry beyond aging in place but aging in general. A report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine reveals that more than one-third of adults age 45 and older feel lonely, and nearly one-fourth of adults age 65 and older are considered socially isolated.

Affording In-Home Care 

Costs were another concern regarding aging in place. While “my current living expenses are affordable” is the No. 3 motivator for wanting to age in place, in-home care (if needed) is often more costly than moving into an assisted living facility or nursing home, priced between $59,480 and $62,000.

Some respondents explained affordability concerns in the open response section, featured below. Even those with a paid-off home expressed doubts about being able to afford in-home care and other expenses such as maintenance and property taxes.

“I own my home. The only thing I worry about is being able to afford assistance and being able to pay the [property] taxes.”

“Being able to afford to pay for anything that may come up repair wise and still being able to pay all the bills and feed myself.”

“That I won't have enough cash to pay for rising taxes, maintenance, etc.”

Can You Afford to Make Accessibility Modifications?

Finances are a major concern about aging in general, and beyond regular home maintenance concerns, accessibility home modifications may be financially out of reach for some seniors. Many respondents said they were concerned about being able to afford to pay for home improvements that would allow for more comfortable aging in place, like wheelchair ramps for easier access into the home or walk-in showers.

Specifically, we asked, “how financially feasible do you think it is for you to age in your current home?” Only 34% of respondents thought it would be “very feasible.” The responses were as follows:

  • Very feasible (34%)
  • Mostly feasible (28%)
  • Somewhat feasible (32%)
  • Not at all feasible (6%)

Home Modifications for Aging in Place

Most adults wish to age in place, but their homes may not be well-equipped to handle mobility and impairment issues that may come with aging.

Many Seniors Lack Home Accessibility Features

Our survey found that the accessibility features most homes lack are door frames big enough for a wheelchair and outdoor ramps for the front entrance. Only 12% of respondents had wheelchair-accessible doorways, and only 7% had outdoor ramps. Additionally, only 34% of respondents had grab bars installed in their bathrooms.

On the other side, more than half of respondents said they had first-floor bathrooms and bedrooms and walk-in showers — all important home features for adults wishing to age in place.

12% of Aging Adults Planning to DIY Home Modifications

Most respondents (45%) said they would hire a contractor to make accessibility modifications in their homes, and 18% said they would plan to enlist family and friends’ help. Meanwhile, 12% of adults over 55 aren’t letting their age stop them from planning to tackle DIY home improvement accessibility upgrades. Lastly, 18% said they would not be making any home modifications.


The research team at Today’s Homeowner surveyed 1,000 Americans using Pollfish, a third-party market research and survey platform, to better understand preferences and opinions around aging in place. We collected survey data for this report from June 28, 2023, through June 29, 2023. 

Using the raw survey data, we weighed responses to align with population demographics across gender and income status to represent all older U.S. adults (aged 55+). The margin of error is +/- 3% with 95% confidence. 

Data collected from our survey and external research informed how we ranked the 100 of the largest U.S. to determine where aging in place is most feasible. We considered a total of 13 metrics spanning three categories, shown below:


Health and Safety


First, we ranked each city in each metric, assigning equal weight to every metric except for median retirement income and percentage of seniors in the area, both of which were double-weighted. We then averaged the rankings across the three categories: finances, health and safety along with community. For each category, cities were scored on a scale of 0 to 100. We created our final ranking by calculating each city’s average score for all three categories.

Questions about our study? Please contact

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We encourage journalists and reporters to share our findings on aging in place. If you choose to do so, please link back to our original story to give us proper credit for our research.

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Kristina Zagame

Kristina Zagame

Senior Staff Writer

Kristina Zagame is a journalist with a background in finance, home improvement and solar energy. She aims to simplify data and information so homeowners feel well-equipped to take on their dream home projects.

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Alexis Curls

Content Marketing Manager

Alexis Curls is a content strategist on the Today’s Homeowner team. She specializes in home services research. She graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations.

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