Louisiana is a state in the southern region of the United States, and one of the most unique and interesting states in the nation. It is the only state that doesn’t have counties, only parishes, which are the equivalent to counties. It is north of the Gulf of Mexico, west of Mississippi, south of Arkansas, and east of Texas. The official nickname is “The Pelican State,” but it is often called the “Bayou State,” “Sportsman’s Paradise,” “The Boot” (due to its shape which resembles a boot), the “Creole State,” and the “Child of the Mississippi.” The state was named for Louis XIV, who was the King of France from 1643 to 1715, after it was claimed by René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle for France.
The population of Louisiana state is around 4,700,000 which is the 25th highest in the nation. The area of the state is 50,000 square miles, making it the 31st largest state and the population density is 96.3 people per square mile which ranks 24th in the United States. Although the capital of Louisiana is Baton Rouge, and the largest parish by population is East Baton Rouge Parish (the largest by area is Plaquemines), the largest city is New Orleans with around 380,000 residents. Before Hurricane Katrina, the population of New Orleans was the most populous parish in Louisiana and it is a world of itself. New Orleans is 8 feet below sea level which means that bodies are not buried, but instead placed above ground in mausoleums or else the bodies will float.
Louisiana is also a state with a diverse geography and wildlife as the land was formed by sediment from the Mississippi River and resulted in deltas, coastal marsh areas, and swamp land. The north and northwest parts of the state are mainly woodlands and prairies. Driskill Mountain, the highest point in the state, is in this area and it is only 535 feet above sea level. The southern coast is disappearing at a rapid rate due to a variety of reasons, but humans are the ones to blame.
Louisiana may not be one of the states that one thinks of when they imagine retirees, and the state is tied with the 40th highest percentage of seniors in the nation, with 12.3% of the residents aged 65 or older. However, is “The Pelican State” a wise choice for those who are looking to retire and therefore trying to choose between senior living communities in Louisiana?
Costs of Assisted Living in Louisiana
A month of care in an Assisted Living Facility in the state of Louisiana costs, on average, $3,155 which is around $500 less than the cost of the average nationwide of $3,628. The difference in cost is due, in part, to the cost of living, housing, and health-care costs being lower in Louisiana than the national average. The cost of care in an Assisted Living facility also varies across the state of Louisiana with the costs of assisted living facilities in the Shreveport, Louisiana costing $2,840 while those in Alexandria, Louisiana are more expensive at over $4,100 per month. Not only do the costs vary across the state, but they also vary within specific cities and, as the number of seniors increase their needs increase which leads to what is often called a “tier-based” system. In Louisiana assisted living facilities that use tier-based systems, the resident or prospective resident is charged based on the level of care that they require in order to remain in an assisted living facility safely.
Other popular options for caring for Louisiana seniors are Adult Day Health Care and Home Health Aides and these options are often preferred because they enabled the cared-for person to remain in their home. However, the costs for them are very high as well. A Home Health Aide in Louisiana costs, on average, $3,051 a month – over $36,600 per year. Adult Day Care in Louisiana costs on average $1,517 or almost $18,200 annually. It is important to remember that the cost of Adult Day Health Care is based on 5 days a week and usually is only for 12 hours a day at most. The cost of a Home Health Aide is based on a 44-hour week and they do not have the licensed nurses that Assisted Living Facilities provide. Home Health Aides also do not do much more than the basic housekeeping, far less than you find in an Assisted Living Facility that supports all activities of daily living. To have 24-hour care, as you would in an assisted living facility for example, you would need the equivalent of 3.8 Home Health Aides per week at a cost of almost $12,000 per month.
Louisiana Nursing Facility Care is necessary when a person needs round the clock nursing care. Skilled nursing facilities are for those who must have a nurse nearby at all times. It is estimated that a semi-private room in a Nursing Facility in Louisiana costs almost $5,000 per month – over $58,500 per year, and a private room will cost around $5,200 monthly – over $61,500 annually. Experts project that the costs of Nursing Facility care will increase between 3%-4% in the next five years.
As the number of seniors increase, particularly as the baby-boomers start needing care, the regulations for various senior living facilities in Louisiana will only increase, as will the wages of those caring for these individuals. By the year 2030 it is estimated that the cost of Assisted Living in Louisiana will be close to $57,300 per year, and the cost of Nursing Home Care will increase to almost $88,400 for a semi-private room and over $93,000 for a private room. The costs of Adult Day Care will be almost $27,600 and a Home Health Aide cost almost $55,400 annually.
If you’re trying to find out what the assisted living costs in Louisiana are, these are the latest approximate costs of a monthly stay in an Assisted Living Facility in different areas of Louisiana:
- Shreveport Area, Louisiana - $2,840;
- Houma Area, Louisiana - $2,850;
- Lafayette, Louisiana - $2,900;
- Monroe, Louisiana - $2,950;
- Lake Charles, Louisiana - $3,100;
- Baton Rouge, Louisiana - $3,128;
- New Orleans, Louisiana - $3,788;
- Hammond, Louisiana - $3,868;
- Alexandria, Louisiana - $4,515;
Pros and Cons of Senior Living in Louisiana
Here are some important to consider for seniors before they start looking for senior living communities in Louisiana:
- Cost of Living – Louisiana has a lower cost of living than the nationwide average. Based on a United States average of 100, the cost of living in Louisiana is 89.90, with housing being the biggest factor;
- Crime Rate – the rate of crimes in Louisiana State is higher than the national average – both property and violent crimes. In terms of violent crimes, Louisiana’s rate of violent crimes is 5.4, while the United States average is 3.8 for violent crimes. Regarding property crimes, the rate is 33.53 in Louisiana, and it is 26 in the nation. The chances of become a victim of a violent crime in Louisiana is 1 in 185 and 1 in 30 for property crimes. Louisiana has a crime rate of 34 crimes per square mile, which is higher than the national median of 32.85, although not extraordinarily higher;
- Taxes – Louisiana collects income tax based on 3 levels: 2%, 4% and 6%, however Louisiana is tax-friendly towards senior citizens. There are no taxes on Social Security Income and the taxes on wages are 2%. Although private pensions are partially taxed, there are no taxes on public pensions and withdrawals from retirement accounts in Louisiana are only partially taxed.
- Cost of Living - Louisiana has a lower cost of living than most other states, with housing is the biggest factor in the cost of living difference. Out of 100 points, Louisiana ranked lower than the national average with a cost of living of 89.90. Louisiana rated lower than the average overall (90) and in the categories of: health (94), groceries (95.1), housing (78), transportation (98), utilities (85), and miscellaneous (97.)
- Unemployment – Louisiana has an unemployment rate of 7% and job growth of 0.32%. Over the next ten years it is predicted that job growth will be over 33%. The unemployment rate is higher in Louisiana than the US average of 5.2%, while recent job growth and future job growth are all lower when compared to the U.S. average, which is 1.59% and 37.98% respectively. However, if you’re a retired senior, you do not need to worry about keeping a job.
- Health – Louisiana state has an average of 195 physicians per 100,000 residents while the US average is 210. Other health indices that are rated (with 100 being the best): Air quality – 50.4 in Louisiana, 58.4 nationwide; Water Quality – 41 in Louisiana, 55 nationwide; Superfund sites – 86.8 in Louisiana, 86.9 nationwide; and Health Cost – 93.6 in Louisiana, 100 nationwide; and
- Weather – Louisiana has, on average, almost 60 inches of rainfall annually, while the United States has only 39.2, and the average snowfall is 0.23 compared to the national average of 25.8. There are 74 days of precipitation, lower than the 102 days that is the national average, and it has 216 sunny days while the United States has 205 on average. The July average temperature in Louisiana is close to 92°, higher than the 86° in the rest of the nation, yet the temperatures in January average 38.44° which is warmer than the 22.5° found elsewhere in the United States. The “comfort index” is 68 in this state while the national average is 54. Finally, the UV Index is 5.7 in the state of Louisiana, which is higher than the average in the United States of 4.3.
Places of Interest for Seniors Living in Louisiana
Louisiana has attractions that are interesting for people of all ages and are unique to the state of Louisiana, particularly when it comes to the Cajun and Creole cultural parts of the state. Here are some ideas of things that senior citizens may enjoy in Louisiana:
- The National World War II Museum – located in New Orleans, Louisiana. This museum was originally founded in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum and was designated by Congress in 2003 as the official WWII Museum of the United States. Today, it is the top-rated tourist location in New Orleans. The museum has immersive exhibits, multimedia experiences, artifacts, and first-personal oral histories from those that were there. There are also opportunities for senior citizens to tour and ride on an authentic restored PT-boat, tours behind the scenes.
- Houmas House Plantation and Gardens – located in Houma, Louisiana. Known as the Sugar Palace, this Historic Plantation tells the story of the wealthy Sugar Barons in the 19th century. There is a collection of art, furniture, decorative arts on display in their natural setting. The Gardens at Houmas House are known as the best in the South, encompassing 36 acres with pounds, fountains, bronzes, and other beautiful objects. There are also restaurants that serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner and include Fine Dining. There is an Inn located there with 21 rooms for those that wish to stay overnight;
- Audubon Zoo – located in New Orleans, Louisiana. This zoo is in the historic area of uptown New Orleans and has many animals from around the globe, educational programs, gardens, and hands-on animal encounters. Many of the animals are in natural habitat, but enclosed in habitats that mimic their habitats outside of the zoo such as the award-winning Louisiana Swamp and the Jaguar Jungle. The Audubon Zoo is one of the country’s best for innovation and entertainment value and a must see for retired seniors to visit.
- RTA Streetcars – located in New Orleans, Louisiana. The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority has a network of buses and streetcars that wind through every neighborhood of the city. The streetcars, the most famous of these modes of transportation, include the historic St. Charles line, the Canal Street line, and the Riverfront line. The Transit Authority is working on establishing more streetcar lines.
- Preservation Hall – located in New Orleans, Louisiana. Established in 1961 to honor Traditional New Orleans Jazz. It is in the heart of the French Quarter, on St. Peter Street, and has events over 350 nights a year featuring ensembles from more than 100 local master practitioners.
- Jackson Square – located in New Orleans, Louisiana. This is a historic park in the French Quarter of New Orleans that is on the National Register of Historic Places in Orleans Parish. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960 and in 2012 it became one of “America’s Great Public Spaces” as set by the American Planning Association. Jackson Square was designed by the architect/landscape architect Louis H. Pilié, after the well-known 17th century Place des Vosges in Paris, France. It is about the size of a city block. Within the square is a statue of Andrew Jackson for whom the military parade ground was named. Sculptor Clark Mills’ statue of Jackson on a horse was erected around 1856. Today, Jackson Square is filled with street painters, musicians, jugglers, tarot card readers and artists of all types;
- Zam’s Bayou Swamp Tours – located in Kraemer, Louisiana. This Cajun Bayou swamp tour is only accessible by boat and you can see alligators, turtles, birds, furry animals all while being guided by a French-Speaking guide if necessary. There is a gift-shop as well as a Cajun restaurant located on site which is open on the weekends. There are also hotels, motels, Bed & Breakfasts, Cabins/Campgrounds/RV parks nearby in LaFourche Parish.
- St. Louis Cathedral – located in New Orleans, Louisiana. St. Louis Cathedral is in Jackson Square and it is the oldest continuously operated Cathedral in the United States.
- Tabasco Visitor Center and Pepper Sauce Factory – located in Avery Island, Iberia Parish, Louisiana – a salt dome that is best known and world known as the source of Tabasco Sauce. The island was named after the Avery Family after they settled there in 1830, but the Native Americans had already found that Avery Island was covering a massive salt dome. In 1938, E.A. McIlhenny established a nutria farm on the island. The nutria spread throughout the state and into Texas and in 1958 the federal government established a wildlife control programs to try and curb the further spread and number of nutria. With the Avery / McIlhenny family’s management program, Avery island is still a natural paradise that is inhabited by animal species and plants throughout the world. The TABASCO® facility tour has been expanded and guests are now able to see the growing of the plants, the mash warehouse to see the TABASCO® aging process and learn about the bottling and shipping process around the world. In addition, visitors can sample the spicy new products that are available at the TABASCO Country Store®.
- Acadian Village – located in Lafayette, Louisiana. Seniors living in Louisiana should visit this small 19th century Cajun Bayou community, which has genuine Cajun Homes and recreated period buildings as well as a Native American museum.
Some cities to consider for Louisiana Senior Living
Here are some cities or towns that have ranked highly in different categories and in which seniors may enjoy living and spending their retirement:
- Crowley, Louisiana – a city in, and the parish seat of, Acadia Parish, Louisiana. It is the principal city of the Crowley Micropolitan Statistical Area and is part of the Lafayette-Arcadiana Combined Statistical Area. It is known as the “Rice Capital of America” due to its history of rice harvesting and milling and it is home to the “International Rice Festival” that is held every third Saturday in October.
The population of Crowley, Louisiana is approximately 13,250 residents, of which nearly 16% are senior citizens 65 or older;
- Leesville, Louisiana – a city in, and the parish seat of, Vernon Parish, Louisiana. Leesville is part of the Fort Polk South Micropolitan Statistical Area and is where Fort Polk is located.
The population of Leesville is approximately 6,500 residents, of which around 14% belong to the 65+ senior living community;
- Lafayette, Louisiana – a city in, and the parish seat of, Lafayette Parish, Louisiana. Lafayette is the fourth largest city in Louisiana and it is the principal city of the Lafayette, Louisiana Metropolitan Statistical Area and in the Combined Statistical Area of Lafayette-Opelousas-Morgan City.
It is on the Vermillion River in the heart of both Cajun and Creole Country and was founded as Vermilionville in 1821. It was renamed for General Lafayette in 1884. This area is home to a large Roman Catholic population and there are many private parochial schools here as well as the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, South Louisiana Community College, Louisiana Technical College (Lafayette Campus.)
There are numerous health care facilities in Lafayette, including Lafayette General Medical Center, Lafayette General Surgical Hospital, Lafayette Surgical Specialty Hospital, Lafayette General Southwest, the Heart Hospital of Lafayette, Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center, Park Place Surgical Hospital, and the Cardiovascular Institute of the South. The Acadiana Symphony Orchestra and Conservatory of Music, Chorale Acadienne, Lafayette Ballet Theatre and Dance Conservatory, The Lafayette Concert Bad, the Performing Arts Society of Acadiana, the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum, and the Acadiana Center for the Arts are all located in Lafayette.
The population of Lafayette, Louisiana is estimated at approximately 130,000 residents, of which around 11% belong to the 65+ senior community;
- Natchitoches, Louisiana – a city located in, and the parish seat of, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana. Natchitoches, (pronounced Nak-e-tesh) was established in 1714 and was incorporated in 1819 after Louisiana became a state. It is the oldest permanent settlement in the area and was named after the indigenous Natchitoches people. There are three colleges/universities in Natchitoches, Northwestern State University, Louisiana Scholars’ College, and Louisiana Technical School. The city is near Cane River Lake which is the Spring Break training location for some college crew teams in the United States. The Natchitoches Regional Medical Center is the local hospital that serves the area. The Natchitoches Fish Hatchery and the oldest general store in Louisiana, Kaffie-Frederick, Inc., General Mercantile are also found here.
Natchitoches is quite the tourist draw, with the popular Natchitoches Christmas Lighting Festival and the many plantations nearby in the Cane River National Heritage Area. The city can be seen in the movie Steel Magnolias, and four of the antebellum plantations were used in the film 12 Years a Slave. Downtown Natchitoches still has brick streets and is filled with shops, stores, Bed and Breakfasts, and historic buildings. The population of Natchitoches, Louisiana is estimated to be around 19,000 residents, of which approximately 11.5% are senior citizens who are 65 years of age or older;
- Houma, Louisiana – a city in, and the parish seat of, Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. Houma, pronounced Ho-Ma, is the only city in Terrebonne Parish, although there are unincorporated areas such as Bayou Cane, and it is the principal city of the Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux Metropolitan Statistical Area. Named after the Houma people from the United Houma Nation and two other Houma tribes believed to be related to the Choctaw people, Houma is considered to be a medium sized city. During the Antebellum years, the area was a primary location for plantations that were worked mainly by enslaved African-Americans, but has become more industrialized and developed for trade since the late 19th century.
The second-oldest high school in Louisiana, Terrebonne High School, is in Houma. Houma was settled by French and Spanish colonists and then later it was settled by the Acadians (Cajuns) who had been expelled from Nova Scotia when they would not leave their Roman Catholic roots and convert to the Church of England. Of the 15,000 people who left Nova Scotia almost 3,000 people settled in this area of Louisiana and, with the mixture of French, Spanish, and Native Americans, the Cajun culture was born. Downtown Houma has many places on the National Register of Historic Places with attractions like the Folklife Culture Center, Bayou Terrebonne Waterlife Museum, the Regional Military Museum, local restaurants, and monuments to local armed forces. Many of the residents still live as their ancestors did, by shrimping, crabbing, fishing, trapping, and collecting oysters. Houma has been recognized as the city with the deepest old well in Terrebonne Parish and it is also the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux.
Houma has been featured in quite a few movies, including, “The Apostle,” “Crazy in Alabama,” “Fight Club,” “A Lesson Before Dying,” “The Skeleton Key,” and some scenes from “The Butler” were filmed in downtown Houma.
The population of Houma, Louisiana is approximately 36,000, with approximately 12% of residents age 65 or older, so it has a quite substantial senior population of 4300+;
- Covington, Louisiana – a city in, and the parish seat of, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana which is at the fork on the Bogue Falaya and the Tchefuncte River. Covington is part of the New Orleans-Metarie-Kenner Metropolitan Statistical Area. There is a 10-foot-tall statue of Ronald Reagan on a six-foot base is reported to be the world’s largest statue of the former president, and the Covington Trailhead is the start of Tammany Trace, a 31-mile paved trail for both hikers and bicyclists. There have been movies filmed in Covington, including: “Dead Man Walking,” “Kingfish: A Story of Huey Long,” “The Yellow Handkerchief,” “I Love You Phillip Morris,” “The Pregnancy Pact,” “Beautiful Creatures,” and “American Ultra.” The population of Covington is approximately 10,000 with approximately 14.5% of the residents living there who are senior citizens aged 65 or older;
- Opelousas, Louisiana – a small city in, and the parish seat of, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana. It is at the junction of Interstate 49 and U.S. Route 190. Opelousas is the principal city for the Opelousas-Eunice Micropolitan Statistical Area and it is the third largest city in the Lafayette-Acadiana Combined Statistical Area. Opelousas is not only the most densely populated city in Louisiana with 3,240 residents per square mile, but it is also Louisiana’s third oldest city – founded in 1720.
Opelousas is the center of zydeco music, which is a blend of blues, rhythm and blues, and music that is indigenous to the Creole population and the Native people of the state. The Creole Heritage Folklife Center which is on the new Louisiana African American Heritage and the Evangeline Downs Racetrack and Casino are also found in Opelousas. Due to the production and sales of seasonings such as Tony Chachere’s, Targil Seasonings, Savoie’s cajun meats and products, and LouAna Cooking Oil, Opelousas has proclaimed itself as the “spice capital of the world.” Home to both public and private schools, Opelousas also is home to one to the campuses of South Louisiana Community College.
Opelousas, Louisiana has approximately 17,000 residents, with close to 16% of whom belong to the 65+ senior living community;
- St. Francisville, Louisiana – a town in, and the Parish Seat of, West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana on the northern border between Mississippi and Louisiana and it is part of the Baton Rough Metropolitan Statistical Area. After the American Civil War ended, some Jewish emigrants who tried to flee religious persecution in Germany came to this are. They provided credit when the banks failed and built Victorian Homes such as the Wolf-Schellenger House which is now the St. Francisville Inn Bed & Breakfast. Other attractions are the restored buildings and historic plantations including the “Rosedown Plantation State Historic Site,” “Butler Greenwood Plantation,” “Audubon State Historical Site,” “The Myrtles,” “Greenwood Planation” and others. The population of St. Francisville, Louisiana is approximately 1,700 residents, of which approximately 12% belong to the 65+ senior living community;
- Thibodaux, Louisiana – pronounced Tib-e-doh, is a city in, and the parish seat of, Lafourche Parish, Louisiana that is along the banks of Bayou Lafourche in the northwestern part of the parish. In fact, the city is nicknamed “Queen City of Lafourche.” Thibodaux is a principal city of the Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux Metropolitan Statistical Area.
It was incorporated in 1830 under the name Thibodeauxville after Henry Schuyler Thibodaux who provided the land for the village center and served as the acting governor of Louisiana in 1824. During the Antebellum period, when the town was developed it was used for sugar cane plantations. The name changed to Thibodeaux in 1838 and the current spelling of Thibodaux was adopted in 1918. In the year 1896, Thibodaux was the home of the first rural free delivery of mail in Louisiana and it was the second such RFD in the entire nation. There are Roman Catholic patron saints of Thibodaux –Saint Valerie, an early Christian martyr, and Saint Vitalis of Milan, her husband. There is a life-sized statue of Saint Valerie which contains her arm bone, on display in her shrine in St. Joseph Co-Cathedral in Thibodaux. A smaller one, containing a relic of St. Vitalis, is near that of Saint Valerie’s. These saints are invoked to protect Thibodaux from hurricanes. Nicholls State University is in Thibodaux.
The population of Thibodaux is around 14,600 residents, with 14% belonging to the senior living community of 65 years or older;
- Abita Springs, Louisiana – a town in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. Abita Springs is part of the New Orleans-Metarie-Kenner Metropolitan Statistical Area. The town was originally a Choctaw Indian Village and the Choctaw burial and execution grounds are nearby. The Abita Brewing Company was established in 1986 and the beer is brewed from the water from the artisan well in Abita Springs. Also located in Abita Springs is the UCM Museum (pronounced “you-see-‘em”) and is also known as the “Abita Mystery House,” as well as the Abita Springs Opry which presents six concerts a year of roots music by performers throughout the United States. The population of Abita Springs is approximately 2,500 residents of which around 10.5% of the residents belong to the 65+ senior living community.