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New Hampshire has not historically been a popular state for retirees, rating 28th out of the 50 states by total senior population, with 13.5% of residents of New Hampshire age 65 or older. However, with the increasing population of senior citizens and the variety of activities available in New Hampshire, is The Granite State a wise choice for seniors looking for senior living communities or assisted living facilities?
New Hampshire is a state in New England in the northeastern United States. It has the shortest ocean coastline of any of the United States coastal states at only 18 miles (although it is sometimes measured at only 13 miles.) New Hampshire is the 5th smallest state in the nation with only 9,349 square miles. The population of New Hampshire is 1,334,795 - the 9th least populated state in the country. However, the population density is also small, with 147 people per square mile, which ranks 21st in America. The northern third of the state is called “north country” or “north of notches” and less than 5% of the state’s population lives in this area. As the logging and paper industry decline, this portion of the state loses more people and gets poorer, yet the tourism industry is helping offset the losses from the closures of the mills. New Hampshire has the highest amount of timberland area in the United States including conifers, northern hardwoods, and mixed oak trees. There are also many rivers and lakes in New Hampshire, including the Connecticut River, Merrimack River, the Salmon Falls River and the Piscataqua River. The largest of New Hampshire’s lakes is Lake Winnipesaukee in the east-central part of the state with an area of 71 square miles. Squam Lake is the second largest lake that is entirely within the state and Umbagog Lake is around 12 square miles and is along the Maine/New Hampshire border. The capital is Concord, but Manchester is the largest city as well as the largest Metropolitan Area in the state and in northern New England. The nickname of New Hampshire is “The Granite State” due to the large granite formations and quarries, but New Hampshire is also a state that is unique and the state motto is “Live Free or Die.”
Costs of Assisted Living in New Hampshire
Although the goal is for seniors to maintain their independence and live their lives in their homes or the homes of loved ones, sometimes that is not possible. Senior citizens, particularly those with dementia or a tendency to fall, are often unable to remain safely in their homes. Those with dementia have been known to lean on stoves, drive away and get lost, or become so confused that they can be abusive, both physically and emotionally. It is also very hard on the caregiver to provide 24-hour care to someone and can be emotionally and physically taxing for both the caregiver and the individual who needs care.
Assisted Living in New Hampshire provides 24-hour care, housekeeping, meals, housing, medical care, and a safe environment for the resident. In America, the average cost for a monthly stay in an Assisted Living Facility is $3,628. In New Hampshire, the state median for a month of care in an Assisted Living Facility costs $4,800 which is almost $1,200 more than the average cost of Assisted Living nationwide.
The cost of care in New Hampshire Assisted Living facilities also varies across the state, with the average price in the state that’s $4,800 per month, while the costs are over $5,800 monthly in the Manchaster, NH Area. As the population ages and the severity of disabilities increase within the senior population, more people need care. To address the different needs of residents, many facilities in New Hampshire have started use tier-based systems where the senior or potential new resident pays based on the levels of care required for them to live safely in an Assisted Living Facility community.
Adult Day Health Care, as well as Home Health Aides are additional options to enable caring for seniors, and these options are often preferred as they allow seniors and other cared-for individuals to remain in their home. However, these costs are expensive as well and there are non-monetary costs on the caregiver that can’t be ignored. A Home Health Aide in New Hampshire costs, on average, $4,767 a month – over $57,000 per year. Adult Day Care in New Hampshire costs on average $1,517, or $18,200 annually.
For seniors with higher level medical needs, New Hampshire Nursing Facility Care is necessary. This is also true for those with severe dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, as the mid to end stages of dementia make it nearly impossible to care for someone in their home. Seniors can expect to pay $9,750 per month – $116,800 per year for a semi-private room in Nursing Facilities in New Hampshire, while a private room will cost an almost prohibitive $10,300 monthly – $124,370 annually. By the year 2030, New Hampshire residents can expect to pay over $87,000 per year for Assisted Living in New Hampshire, and Nursing Home Care will increase to almost $176,700 for a semi-private room and almost $186,600 for a private room. The costs of Adult Day Care will be over $27,500 and a Home Health Aide cost almost $86,500 annually.
Pros and Cons of Senior Living in New Hampshire
New Hampshire seniors, especially those who are looking to move from another state, should be mindful of a few things when choosing senior living communities in New Hampshire:
- Cost of Living – New Hampshire has a higher cost of living than the nationwide average. Based on a United States average of 100, the cost of living in New Hampshire is 117.90, with housing being the biggest factor;
- Outdoor Recreation – New Hampshire has mountains, lakes, and beaches all with outdoor activities waiting for you. The White Mountains have 102 trails and glades in the Bretton Woods section, 67 trails at Attitash Mountain Resort, and 49 trails at Wild Cat Mountain. The forests have more than 1,200 miles of hiking trails and there are 273 navigable lakes and ponds;
- Crime Rate – the rate of crimes in New Hampshire State is lower than the national average for both property and violent crimes. New Hampshire has a crime rate of 6 crimes per square mile, which is far lower than the national median of 32.85;
- Taxes – New Hampshire is tax-friendly towards seniors. Social Security Income is not taxed in New Hampshire, nor are withdrawals from retirement accounts, wages, private and public pensions;
- Unemployment – New Hampshire has an unemployment rate of 2.7%, and job growth is 0.96%.
- Health – New Hampshire state has an average of 247 physicians per 100,000 residents, quite a bit higher than the US average of 210. Other health indices that are rated (with 100 being the best): Air quality – 73.5 in New Hampshire, 58.4 nationwide; Water Quality – 56 in New Hampshire, 55 nationwide; Superfund sites – 96.5 in New Hampshire, 86.9 nationwide; and Health Cost – 113.4 in New Hampshire, 100 nationwide; and
- Weather – New Hampshire has around 47 inches of rainfall annually, while the United States has only 39.2, and the average snowfall amount is 67 inches compared to the national average of 25.8. There are 84 days of precipitation, lower than the 102 days that is the national average, but it has 198 sunny days which is only a week shy of the average in the United States of 205. The July average temperature in New Hampshire is close to 80°, lower than the 86° in the rest of the nation, yet the temperatures in January average 10° which is much colder than the 22.6° found elsewhere in the United States. The “comfort index” is 39 in this state while the national average is 54. Finally, the UV Index is 3.2 in the state of New Hampshire, which is lower than the average in the United States of 4.3.
Places of Interest for Seniors Living in New Hampshire
New Hampshire contains various places of interest for all ages and senior citizens and has played an interesting role in the history of our country, including:
- Mount Washington Observatory Discovery Center – located in Conway, New Hampshire. It is a working observatory, science, and education center designed to measure the unique weather conditions on Mount Washington. Guided tours and exhibits are available.
- Currier Museum of Art – located in Manchester, New Hampshire. Senior citizens will enjoy this art museum that features both European and American paintings, photographs, and sculptures. There are tours, activities, and “family days” that have activities for all age groups. Founded by former Governor Moody Currier and his third wife, Hannah Slade Currier, there is a permanent collection of works by Picasso, Monet, Matisse, O’Keefe, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Andrew Wyeth.
- Zimmerman House – located in Manchester, New Hampshire. Here, seniors will find a house in the residential area of North Manchester designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for Dr. Isadore and Lucille Zimmerman. It is a “usonian” house designed in 1950 and is the only house designed by Wright that is open to the public in New England.
A single-story house, it is designed around a large L-shaped chimney central to the house and covered by a deeply overhanging roof. The house was designed around a rock that is just inside the entrance to the house and most of the interior features of the house that were designed by Wright are still available to see. The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.
- Strawberry Banke Museum – located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. This is the oldest neighborhood in New Hampshire that was settled by Europeans and has more than 35 restored buildings originally built between the 17th and 19th centuries. Nine houses are open to the public and furnished with interiors representative of their historic time. Some of the houses have costumed tour guides. Senior citizens will find that there are five formal exhibits on archaeology, architecture, woodworking tools and skills, post-and-beam construction, and amusements and entertainment. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.
- Wright Museum of World War II – located in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. World War II was a time of great difficult and sacrifice. This museum has the purpose to educate, entertain, and inspire those of World War II-era Americans, rightly known as the “Greatest Generation”
- Squam Lakes National Historic Center – located in Holderness, New Hampshire. Here, elderly NH residents will find a center where wild animals are available to the public to view as the animals have been injured, orphaned, or are unable to return to the wild. Housing river otters, bobcats, mountain lions, deer, bears, foxes, bird, and skunks, the mission of the Center is to educate visitors about the nature in New Hampshire.
- The Mount Washington Cog Railway – located in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. Older NH residents can travel to the top of Mount Washington on the world’s first cog railroad.
- Canterbury Shaker Village – located in Canterbury, New Hampshire. It is a historic site and a museum that was originally one of the Shaker communities founded in the 19th century. The museum was founded in 1969 by a non-profit organization to preserve the history and heritage of the Canterbury Shakers. Seniors living in New Hampshire can learn about the ideals, life and legacy of the Canterbury Shakers through exhibits, programs, tours, research and publications.
- USS Albacore Museum – located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The retired USS Albacore is a research submarine that changed the shape of submarines forever. The “teardrop” hull was one of the major changes of modern submarines. The USS Albacore was commissioned on December 1953 and decommissioned in December 1972.
In 1985, she was declared a memorial, and in 1989 she was added to the National Register of Historic Places and declared a National Historic Landmark. Today, seniors and others who visit can learn more about the role that submarines have played in our history and go aboard and explore the cramped quarters of life on a submarine.
Some cities to consider for Senior Living
New sure which town to pick when choosing senior living communities in New Hampshire? Consider some options below:
- Enfield, New Hampshire – a town in Grafton County, New Hampshire. The area where most people live in town is known as the Enfield census-designated place (CDP), of which the main village of Enfield is part of. Incorporated in 1761, Enfield was settled by people from Enfield, Connecticut but it was renamed in 1766 as Relhan to honor Dr. Anthony Relhan. After the American Revolution, in 1784, the town was renamed Enfield. The highest elevation is the summit of Prospect Hill at over 2,100 feet. Last year, Business Insider ranked Enfield as the most affordable small town in New Hampshire with 87.3% of homes being affordable.
There are 692 physicians for every 100,000 people in the town of Enfield, New Hampshire which is far above the national average of 210. The crime rate in Enfield, based on a 100-point-scale, is 36 for both violent and property crimes. The U.S. average for these crimes is 31.1 and 38.1 respectively. The population of Enfield, New Hampshire is approximately 4,500 of which almost 14% belong to the 65+ senior living community;
- Concord, New Hampshire – the capital of the state of New Hampshire and the country seat of Merrimack County, New Hampshire. Concord includes the villages of Penacook, West Concord and East Concord. The city is 67.5 square miles of which 3.2 square miles are water. The city is centered on the Merrimack River and lies within the Merrimack River watershed.
Top employers in the city include the State of New Hampshire, Genesis HealthCare, Concord Hospital, New Hampshire Hospital, and the Lincoln National Corporation. The New Hampshire State Prison for men is also in the city of Concord. There are quite a few landmarks and tourist attractions in the city of Concord, including:
- The New Hampshire State House – constructed between 1815 and 1818 it is the oldest state house that is still in use in the nation;
- The Walker-Woodman House – the oldest standing two-story house in Concord;
- Pierce Manse – the house in which Franklin Pierce lived both before and after his presidency;
- Beaver Meadow Golf Course – one of the oldest golf courses in New England and located in the northern part of Concord;
- SNOB (Somewhat North of Boston) Film Festival – brings independent films and filmmakers to Concord to display their films. The SNOB Festival helped allow the city to build the Red River Theatres;
- Capital Center for the Arts;
- The Granite State Symphony Orchestra;
- The New Hampshire Historical Society; and
- The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center – a planetarium named after Christa McAuliffe who died during the January 1986 Challenger explosion.
Higher Education in Concord includes: NHTI - Concord’s Community College, the University of New Hampshire School of Law, Granite State College, the Franklin Pierce University Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program.
There are 291 physicians for every 100,000 residents in Concord, New Hampshire which is higher than the national average of 210. The crime rate in Concord, based on a 100-point-scale, is 16 for violent crimes, and 40 for property crimes. The U.S. average for these crimes is 31.1 and 38.1 respectively.
The population of Concord is around 42,500 residents, of which approximately 13.8% are part of the senior living community of 65 years old or older;
- Portsmouth, New Hampshire – a city in Rockingham County, New Hampshire. In fact, Portsmouth is the sole city in the county. It has historically been a popular tourist destination during the summer and was the home of the Strategic Air Command’s Pease Air Force Base which is now Portsmouth International Airport at Pease.
The first European to explore and write about Portsmouth was Martin Pring in 1603 and the west bank of the Piscataqua River was settled by English colonists in 1630. Fishing, lumber, and shipbuilding were the major businesses of the area, but Portsmouth was part of the Triangle Trade and slavery was a profitable business for the residents.
When the town was incorporated in 1653, it was named in honor of John Mason, the founder of the colony who had been captain of the port of Portsmouth, England in the county of Hampshire.
Sites of interest in the city of Portsmouth include:
- USS Albacore Museum & Park – a museum featuring the U.S. Navy submarine the USS Albacore, which was decommissioned in 1985 and is open for tours;
- Discover Portsmouth Center – includes a visitor center, gallery, gift shop, John Paul Jones Historic House, and walking tours of Portsmouth that is operated by the Portsmouth Historical Society;
- The Music Hall – a 900-seat theater that opened in 1878. It hosts musical acts, theater, dance, and films;
- North Church – a historic church, of which the steeple is visible from Portsmouth;
- New Hampshire Theater Project – a non-profit theater organization that produces both contemporary and classical works. It was founded in 1986;
- The Player’s Ring Theater – a black box theater that showcases the work of local playwrights;
- Portsmouth Athenaeum – a private membership library, music, and art gallery;
- Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse – although it was first established in 1771, the structure that stands currently was built in 1878 and is open for tours from May through September;
- Prescott Park Arts Festival – provides summer entertainment at Portsmouth’s waterfront park;
- Seacoast Repertory Theater – a professional theater troupe founded in 1988;
- Strawbery Banke Museum – the site of one of Portsmouth’s earliest European settlements, the neighborhood has been restored to preserve the unique architecture in the area.
Higher education in Portsmouth includes: Community College System of New Hampshire, Great Bay Community College – Portsmouth campus; Granite State College -Portsmouth campus Franklin Pierce University – Portsmouth campus; and Southern New Hampshire University – Portsmouth campus.
Portsmouth is a liberal town politically and it is a stronghold for the Democratic Party. In 2014, Portsmouth became the first municipality in New Hampshire to pass laws protecting city employees from discrimination on the basis of gender identity.
There are 193 physicians per 100,000 people in the city of Portsmouth while the United States average is 210 per capita. The crime rate in Portsmouth, based on a 100-point-scale, is 14 for violent crimes, and 41 for property crimes. The U.S. average for these crimes is 31.1 and 38.1 respectively.
The population of Portsmouth, New Hampshire is approximately 21,600 residents, of which nearly 16% belong to the 65+ senior living community;
- Nashua, New Hampshire – a city in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, which is the second largest city in the state of New Hampshire, after Manchester, as well as the second largest city in the three northern New England states. The town is located at the intersection of the Nashua and Merrimack rivers and although it was first a fur trading town. In both 1987 and 1998, the city of Nashua was named the “Best Place to Live in America” by Money magazine and it is the only city to have achieved the number one ranking in two different years. There are two hospitals in Nashua, St. Joseph Hospital, and Southern New Hampshire Health System.
There are two public high schools in Nashua, Nashua High School South and Nashua High School North, a private coed Roman Catholic high school, Bishop Guertin High School, and a public charter school, the Academy for Science and Design.
Nashua is home to Nashua Community College, Southern New Hampshire University’s Nashua campus, Rivier University, and Granite State College.
There are 223 physicians for every 100,000 people in Nashua compared with a national average of 210. Regarding crime in Nashua, out of a 100-scale, violent crime ranks 17 and property crime is 37, while the U.S. average is 31.1 for violent crime and 38.1 for property crime.
The population of Nashua, New Hampshire is around 88,000 people with over 12.5% of the residents who comprise the 65+ senior living community;
- Dover, New Hampshire – a city in, and the county seat of, Strafford County, New Hampshire. Dover is the most populated town the New Hampshire Seacoast Region and the seventh-oldest settlement in the United States. The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, First Parish Church, Wentworth-Douglas Hospital, the Religious Society of Friends Meetinghouse, the Woodman Institute Museum and St. Thomas Episcopal Church all call Dover home. Unlike most of the cities in New Hampshire, Dover has only 186 physicians per 100,000 residents, below the average of 210 in America. On a scale of 1 to 100, with 1 being the lowest, Dover rates at 29 for violent crime – the average nationally is 31.1 – and 27 for property crime – the US average is 38.1. The population of Dover is approximately 31,000, with about 13% of residents belonging to the 65+ senior living community;
- Hanover, New Hampshire – a town in Grafton County, New Hampshire. The main village of Hanover is a census-designated-place and the junctions of New Hampshire routes 10, 10A, and 120. Etna and Hanover Center are other villages located within the town of Hanover. In 2011, both CNN and Money magazine rated Hanover as the sixth best place to live in America and the second best in 2007. The February 2017 issue of Yankee said about Hanover, “this just might be the best college town.” With a total size of 50.3 square miles, 49 of which are land and 1.3 water, the primary part of Hanover is centered around Dartmouth College and is where 75% of residents live. Nearby towns are Lyme, Enfield, Canaan, Lebanon, and Norwich, Vermont.
There are trails and nature preserves within Hanover which are good for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. A part of The Appalachian Trail known as “The Velvet Rocks Trail” crosses through the town and has rock-climbing and hiking areas. The prestigious Dartmouth College is in Hanover, as is the US Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory. There are 692 physicians per 100,000 residents in Hanover, New Hampshire. The US average is 210. On a scale from 1 to 100 Hanover has a score of 34 when it comes to violent crimes and for property crimes Hanover scores 35. The US average is 31.1 and 38.1 respectively. The population of Hanover, New Hampshire is approximately 11,500 and 13.7% of the residents comprise the senior living community of 65+ senior citizens;
- Somersworth, New Hampshire – a city in Strafford County, New Hampshire. It was settled before 1700 as a part of Dover and organized in 1720 as the parish of “Summersworth,” meaning “summer town” as that is the season when the ministers would preach there. A clerical error during the incorporation changed the name to “Somersworth.” It was incorporated as a city in 1893 but before then it was also called “Great Falls” due to the town being near the location where the Salmon Falls River drops 100 feet over a mile. There are 186 physicians per 100,000 in Somersworth while the national average is 210. The crime rate, out of a scale from 1 to 100 is 32 for violent crimes and 56 for property crimes, while the average is 31.1 and 56 respectively. The population of Somersworth, New Hampshire is approximately 12,000, with 65+ senior living community making up a total of 12% of the residents;
- Keene, New Hampshire – a city in, and the county seat of, Cheshire County, New Hampshire. The community known as “Upper Ashuelot” was intended to be a fort town to protect the Massachusetts Bay during the French and Indian Wars. By the year 1874 Keene was incorporated, but manufacturing declined in the 20th century and today Keene is known as a center for insurance, education, and tourism. Keene has the largest public school system in Cheshire County and is also known as a minor college town with Keene State College and Antioch University New England being located there. Keene has 188 physicians per 100,000 population which is below the US average of 210. On a scale of 1 to 100, Keene comes in at 19 on violent crimes and 50 on property crimes, this is compared to the national average of 31.1 for violent crimes and 38.1 for property crimes. The population of Keene is approximately 23,300, of which around 14.7% belong to the 65+ senior living community;
- Laconia, New Hampshire – a city in, and the county seat of, Belknap County, New Hampshire. Located between Lake Winnipesaukee and Winnisquam Lake, Laconia includes the villages of Lakeport and Weirs Beach. Like many other New Hampshire towns, Laconia was a mill town and was manufacturing textiles. However, the city’s largest employer was the Laconia Car Company, which built rail, trolley, and subway cars, from 1848 until the 1930s. The Belknap Mill, built in 1823 and in operation by 1828, is the oldest unchanged brick textile mill in the country and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Laconia is in the center of what is known as New Hampshire’s “Lakes Region,” with either all or part of four major bodies of water (Lake Winnipesaukee, Opechee Bay, Paugus Bay and Winnisquam Lake) within the city limits.
Attractions or Places of Interest in Laconia include:
- Belknap Mill Society Museum;
- Gale Memorial Library;
- Funspot Family Fun Center;
- Lake Winnipesaukee Historical Society Museum;
- Robbie Mills Field, home of the Laconia Muskrats of the New England Collegiate Baseball League;
- Weirs Beach, New Hampshire;
- Laconia Motorcycle Week – held for nine days in June and ending on Father’s Day, this is one of the largest motorcycle rallies in the world. It includes events such as races, shows, and a motorcycle hill climb competition;
- Laconia World Championship Sled Dog Derby; and
- New Hampshire’s annual Pumpkin Festival.
Laconia also is home to the Lakes Region Community College. There are 205 physicians for every 100,000 residents in Laconia while the national average is 210 and on a scale from 1 to 100, with 1 being the lowest, Laconia’s violent crime is 31 and property crime is 57 while the average in the US in 31.1 and 38.1. The population of Laconia, New Hampshire is approximately 16,400 of which around 17.2% comprise the 65+ senior living community; and
- Exeter, New Hampshire – a town in Rockingham County, New Hampshire. The town’s center is a census-designated place (CDP) with an area of 4.5 square miles. Exeter is located at the intersection of the Exeter River and the Squamscott River. It was founded by the Reverend John Wheelwright who, with others, purchased the land after being exiled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony because he shared the same views as his sister-in-law, none other than Anne Hutchinson. The minister took around 175 people to Exeter, a town he named after Exeter in Devon, England. Exeter had a role in establishing its own government, milling, Indian raids, serving as the capital of New Hampshire for 14 years, founding the Republican Party, education some of the brightest people at Phillips Exeter Academy founded in 1781, and even UFO sightings. The town of Exeter has an impressive list of buildings by prominent architects, including: The Old Town Hall of 1855, Phillips Exeter Academy, The Old Public Library of 1894, Academy Library, Ioka Theatre and Swasey Parkway. Other sites of interest in Exeter include: the American Independence Museum, Exeter Congregation Church – (1638,) Christ Episcopal Church (1865,) The Exeter Historical Society & Museum, Phillips Exeter Academy, Gilman Garrison House and Exeter High School. There are 193 physicians for every 100,000 people in Exeter, New Hampshire. The crime rate, on a scale of 1 to 100, is 35 for violent crime and 34 for property crimes. The national average is 31.1. and 38.1 for these crimes. The population of Exeter, New Hampshire is around 14,600 residents with only around 4.1% of the people part of the 65+ senior living community. When looking at the age distribution note that around 22.5% of the residents are under age 18, probably due to the enrollment at Phillips Exeter Academy.