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Kansas is located in the Midwestern United States and has not traditionally been one of the states that is most popular for senior living. The capital is Topeka, yet the largest city is Wichita. Some years ago, Kansas was one of the most agricultural states in the United States due to its production of wheat, corn, sorghum, and soybeans. The population is close to 3 million residents, in a state that is 82,278 square miles – the 15th largest state in the nation. Kansas’ close to 3 million residents makes it the 24th most populous state with a population density of 34.1 people per square mile – ranking 34th in the country. But, whether traditional or not, is the “Sunshine State” the best state for senior citizens to retire?
Costs of Assisted Living in Kansas
The average cost of a monthly stay in an Assisted Living Facility in the United States is $3,628, and the average in the state of Kansas is slightly higher at $4,065. An Assisted Living Facility provides housing, food, personal care, housekeeping, and nursing care if necessary. While costs of Assisted Living Care vary across the state, they also vary within facilities as well depending on the needs of the residents. Across Kansas itself, the fees for assisted living facilities range from $3,875 in Wichita, Kansas to almost $7,195 in Lawrence, Kansas.
Other popular options for caring for older people are Home Health Care and Adult Day Health Care. A Home Health Aide in Kansas costs, on average, close to $3,861 a month, over $46,500 annually. Adult Day Care in Kansas costs on average $1,625 or a bit over $19,500 annually. Care in an Assisted Living Facility is comparable to having a Home Health Aide in Kansas. But an Assisted Living Facility provides 24-hour care as well as professional nurses around the clock, something that would be prohibitively expensive to provide in your home. Currently, a partially private Nursing Facility room costs around $62,415 per year, and a private room will cost over $67,500 annually in Kansas.
13 years from now, it is estimated that the cost of Assisted Living in Kansas will be close to $70,000 per year. The cost of Nursing Home Care will increase to approximately $94,500 for a semi-private room and over $102,000 for a private room.
Kansas has varying costs of Assisted Living Facilities from city to city, as follows:
- Wichita, Kansas - $3,875;
- Topeka, Kansas - $3,988;
- Manhattan, Kansas - $4,231; and
- Lawrence, Kansas - $7,195;
Pros and Cons of Senior Living in Kansas
Seniors should keep the following considerations in mind when deciding where to Kansas to retire:
- Kansas state has a lower cost of living that the nationwide average;
- Taxes – Kansas is looked upon as a moderately tax-friendly state for senior citizens, but overall the taxes are higher in many areas. Although there is no state sales tax, you will pay taxes on your retirement unless it is from Social Security or the railroad;
- Crime – Compared to the national average of 3.8, the rate of violent crime in Kansas is 3.9. A Kansas resident has a 1 in 256 chance of being a victim of such crimes. Also, compared to a national rate of 26, property crime rate in Kansas is 27.2, with a 1 in 37 of being a victim of such crime in Kansas. However, there are 23 crimes per square mile in the state of Kansas, compared to the national average of 32.85;
- Weather – although the weather is unpredictable, the warm summers and mild winters in Kansas allow for outdoor recreation throughout much of the year. The driest areas of Kansas are in the western part of the state;
- Friendliness of residents – Kansas is known for the friendliness of its residents and the welcoming nature of those relocating to the state;
- Taxes – Kansas is somewhat-tax friendly towards its seniors; and
- Economy – the employment rate in Kansas is lower than the national average and it is predicted that the future growth will outweigh the national job growth. This is not only beneficial to those who wish to work during their retirement, but also for those who have adult children or grandchildren who may relocate with their senior family members.
Financial Information for Kansas Seniors
Kansas has two state income taxes: 2.7% and 4.6%. Taxes are collected from both residents and non-residents who earn income in the Sunflower State. Kansas taxes all home, commercial real property, and certain other property categories at “market value” based on the value of the first day of January each year. County appraisers assess the property and it is collected at the county level. Kansas has no inheritance tax. Kansas also does not impose an estate tax. Kansas is a moderately tax-friendly state for seniors because it fully taxes private pension but not public, fully taxes withdrawals from retirement accounts and only partially taxes Social Security earnings by Kansas seniors. Kansas has a lower cost of living than most other states and it is lower than the United States average, with housing being the biggest difference. Out of 100 points, Kansas ranked lower than the national average with a cost of living of 85.50. Kansas rated lower than the average overall (86) and in the categories of: health (91), housing (67), transportation (95), grocery (91.7), and utilities (88), and right at 100 for miscellaneous.
Places of Interest for Seniors Living in Kansas
Kansas has some amazing and unusual attractions that are interesting. Here are some ideas of things that senior citizens may enjoy in Kansas:
- Strataca – located in Hutchinson, Kansas – this attraction takes seniors 650-feet underground into an active salt mine from salt deposits left by the Permian Sea many years ago. You can take the Salt Express train ride and take a guided tour on a tram to the “Dark Side.” In June, the SAFARI SHUTTLE will allow visitors to go beyond Strataca and allow visitors to see salt formations that were not available to the public until now. Warning – only twelve visitors at a time, and the train departs between three and four times a day;
- Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site – located in Topeka, Kansas. This is the site of the Monroe Elementary School which was one of the largest segregated schools that was involved in the historic Supreme Court Decision of Brown v. Board of Education of 1954. This decision by the Supreme Court ended legalized segregation in public schools and the building is today an integral part of our history as well as a National Historic Site which commemorates this ruling;
- Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens – located in Overland Park, Kansas. This 300-acre arboretum and botanical garden is relatively new and is managed by the city. Kansas seniors can enjoy this attraction throughout daylight hours, seven days a week. There are eight ecosystems within the arboretum: Dry-Mesic Prairie; Dry Oak-Savanna; Dry Oak-Hickory; Mesic Oak-History Forest; Riparian Woodland; Wooded Draws; Dry Wooded Swales; and Oil Field.
- Monument Rocks, also known as Chalk Pyramids - located in Oakley, Gove County, Kansas. It is a series of large chalk formations that are rich in fossils. They were the first landmark chosen by the US Department of the Interior as a National Natural Landmark. These chalk formations can reach heights of 70 feet and include buttes and arches. The carbonate deposits are from the Cretaceous period when Kansas was part of the Western Interior Seaway and they are estimated to have been formed 80 million years ago;
- The Keeper of the Plains, Kansas – located in Wichita, Kansas. This large statute is at the junction of the Big Arkansas and the Little Arkansas River. The statute stands with hands raised to the Great Sprit. The Keeper of the Plains was created and donated by the Kiowa-Comanche artist “Blackbear Bison” on May 18, 1974. It has become a symbol for the city of Wichita as well as a tribute to the local American Indian Tribes. There has been a renovation of the “Keeper of the Plains” which brings people out each evening to see the statue as well as the “Ring of Fire.” It is accessible by pedestrians thanks to two bow-and-arrow inspired cable-stay bridges which span both the Big and the Little Arkansas River. Kansas elderly residents can enjoy this free attraction year-round;
- Frank Lloyd Wright Allen House, located in Wichita, Kansas. It is a house that Frank Lloyd Wright designed in 1915 for the previous Governor of Kansas Henry Justin Allen, and his wife Elise. It is unusual for a Frank Lloyd House because it was influenced by the Prairie as well as Japanese Architecture. The house also has modern conveniences. It is also the first Frank Lloyd Wright House to have a fire wall in a residential housing. It is made of brick and has a rust color. The Allen House was one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s last Prairie Houses and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places;
- Cosmophere – located in Hutchinson, Kansas. This is an internationally-recognized STEM education center that is world-renowned, Smithsonian affiliated museum. The exhibits are hands on and allow visitors to experience space exploration;
- The Big Well – located in Greenburg, Kansas. In 1887, the city granted approximately $45,000 to build a water works system that served as the source of water for the city until 1932. The well was a masterpiece of pioneer engineering of the day. When completed in 1888, it was 109 feet deep with a diameter of 32 feet and, in 1937, it opened as a historic attraction. In 1972, the Big Well was designated as a National Museum and in 1974 it was awarded as an American Water Landmark by the American Water Works Association. On January 29, 2008, the Big Well was named one of the “8 Wonders of Kansas.” In May of 2007, the city of Greensburg was hit by a EF5 tornado and 95% of the city was destroyed, including the Big Well Gift Shop & Visitors Center. However, the Big Well itself survived with little damage and was re-opened to tours on May 4, 2007.
- Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum– located in Atchison, Kansas. It is the childhood home of aviator Amelia Earhart which is filled with memorabilia; and
- Boot Hill Museum – located in Dodge City, Kansas. This is museum dedicated to preserving the history of Dodge City. Kansas seniors can enjoy exhibits, audiovisual programs, stagecoach rides and mock gunfights during the summer.
Some cities to consider for Kansas Senior Living
Here are some cities or towns that have ranked highly in different categories that are helpful to Kansas seniors:
- El Dorado, Kansas – located in, and the county seat of, Butler County, Kansas. El Dorado is part of the Wichita Metropolitan Statistical Area. In 1918, the EL Dorado Oil Field was the largest single field producer of oil in the United States – making 12.8% of the national production and 9% of the world production. It was called by some as the “oil field that won World War I.” The population of El Dorado, Kansas is approximately 13,000 residents of which around 15% are age 65 or older. Last year, El Dorado ranked #15 out of 106 of the “Best Places to Retire in Kansas,” #29 of 73 of the “Best Suburbs to Live in Kansas,” and #11 out of 35 of the “Best Suburbs to Live in Wichita Metro”;
- Leawood, Kansas – located in Johnson County, Kansas. It is part of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area. The population of Leawood is approximately 35,000 residents, of which over 15% make up the senior community of 65 or older. Last year, Leawood ranked #10 out of 106 of the “Best Places to Retire in Kansas,” #1 out of 108 of the “Best Places to Raise a Family in Kansas,” #1 out of 106 of the “Healthiest Places to Live in Kansas,” and #8 out of 73 of the “Best Places to Buy a House in Kansas City Metro;”
- Prairie Village, Kansas – located in Johnson County, Kansas. Prairie Village is a part of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area. The population of Prairie Village is approximately 22,000 of which close to 18% of the population are Kansas seniors aged 65 or older. Last year, Prairie Village ranked #3 out of 106 of the "Best Places to Retire in Kansas", #2 out of 106 of the “Healthiest Places to Live in Kansas,” #3 out of 108 of the “Best Places to Live in Kansas,” and #3 out of 108 of the “Best Places to Buy a House in Kansas;”
- Hesston, Kansas – located in Harvey County, Kansas. Hesston is home to Hesston College – founded in 1909 by the Mennonite Church due to the fact that many of the earlier settlers were Mennonite farmers. The population of Hesston is estimated to be around 3,900 of which approximately 19.6% belong to the 65+ senior community. Last year, Hesston ranked #5 out of 106 of the “Best Places to Retire in Kansas,” #16 out of 108 of the “Best Places to Live in Kansas,” #5 out of 108 of the “Best Places to Buy a House in Kansas,” and #5 out of 73 of the “Best Suburbs to Buy a House in Kansas;”
- Rose Hill, Kansas – located in Butler County, Kansas. The first Post Office in Rose Hill was established in 1874. The population of Rose Hill, Kansas is approximately 4,000 of which over 9% are senior citizens who are at least 65 years old. Last year, Rose Hill ranked #11 out of 106 of the “Best Places to Retire in Kansas,” #5 out of 54 of the “Safest Places to Live in Kansas,” #2 out of 15 of the “Safest Suburbs in Wichita Metro,” and #5 out of 34 of the “Safest Suburbs in Kansas;”
- Chanute, Kansas – located in Neosho County, Kansas. Chanute was founded on January 1, 1873 and was named after Octave Chanute, a railroad engineer and aviation pioneer. It is the home of Neosho County Community College. The population of Chanute is estimated to be around 9,300 people with over 16.5% of the population belonging to the 65+ senior community. Last year, Chanute ranked #7 out of 106 of the “Best Places to Retire in Kansas,” #46 out of 106 of the “Best Places to Live in Kansas,” #52 out of 108 of the “Best Places to Buy a House in Kansas,” #34 out of 108 of the “Best Places to Raise a Family in Kansas,” and #34 out of 108 of the “Most Diverse Places to Live in Kansas;”
- Bel Aire, Kansas – located in Sedgwick, Kansas. Bel Aire is a suburb of Wichita, Kansas and is part of the Wichita, Kansas Metropolitan Statistical Area. The town was founded in January 1955 when the residents petitioned the county government to create it as an improvement district for water. It was formally incorporated as a city on November 26, 1980 after a two-year fight with the government of Wichita which was ultimately decided by the Kansas Supreme Court. The population of Bel Aire, Kansas is estimated to be around 7,700 of which around 11.5% are Kansas seniors 65 years of age or older. Last year, Bel Aire ranked #18 out of 106 of “Best Places to Retire in Kansas,” #12 out of 35 of the “Best Suburbs to Live in Wichita Metro,” #17 out of 35 of the “Best Suburbs to Buy a House in Wichita Metro,” and #10 out of 15 of the “Safest Suburbs in Wichita Metro;”
- Hutchinson, Kansas – located in, and the county seat of, Reno County, Kansas. Hutchinson is also the largest seat and it is located on the Arkansas River. It has been home to salt mines since 1887, earning it the nickname of “Salt Lake City,” but the locals call it “Hutch.” Hutchinson hosts the Kansas State Fair, the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), and is home to the “Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center” aerospace museum and “Strataca” which was formerly known as the Kansas Underground Salt Museum. Hutchinson, Kansas has approximately 42,000 residents, with around 16.5% of residents who are seniors 65 or older. Last year Hutchinson, ranked #19 out of 106 of the “Best Places to Retire in Kansas,” #29 out of 108 of the “Best Places to Live in Kansas,” #24 out of 108 of the “Most Diverse Places to Live in Kansas;”
- Pratt, Kansas – located in, and the county seat of, Pratt County, Kansas. Pratt is home to Pratt Community College. The Pratt Army Airfield Base, which is nearby, was the last staging area for the outfitting of the B-29 in the years 1943-1945, and the “Miss Kansas Parade and Pageant” are held in Pratt. The Hotel Parrish, originally the Hotel Roberts which opened in 1930, is on the National and State Registers of Historic Places due to the significance in the architecture, and community planning and development. The population of Pratt is approximately 7,000, 19.5% of whom are part of the 65+ adult senior community. Last year, Pratt ranked #14 out of 106 of the “Best Places to Retire in Kansas,” #24 out of 106 of the “Healthiest Places to Live in Kansas,” and #58 out of 108 of the “Best Places to Buy a House in Kansas,” and
- Newton, Kansas – located in, and the county seat of, Harvey County, Kansas. Newton is 25 miles north of Wichita, Kansas and the city of North Newton is a separate town entirely. The town was founded in 1871 and was named after Newton, Massachusetts. In August of 1871, there was a famous “Gunfight at Hide Park” and two men were called – this incident led to Newton being known as “bloody and lawless – the wickedest city in the west.” During the Second World War, the Newton airport was taken over by the U.S. Navy as a secondary Naval Air Station with the main runaway extended to over 7,000 feet. Newton is included in the Wichita Metropolitan Statistical area. The population of Newton is approximately 19,300 with almost 16% of the residents age 65 or older. Last year, Newton ranked #8 out of 106 of the “Best Places to Retire in Kansas,” #3 out of 73 of the “Most Diverse Suburbs to Raise a Family in Kansas,” #1 out of 35 of the “Most Diverse Suburbs in Wichita Metro.”