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New Jersey is in the Northeastern and mid-Atlantic part of the United States. It is bordered on the north and east by New York, on the south and southeast by the Atlantic Ocean, Pennsylvania on the west, and Delaware on the southwest. Although the state of New Jersey is small in area, only 8,722.58 square miles, and the fourth-smallest state in America, it is the most densely populated state with 1210.10 people per square mile. With a population of close to nine million residents, it is the 11th most populous state in the United States.
The state of New Jersey is a part of the combined statistical areas of either New York or Philadelphia and it was the second-wealthiest state by per capita income several years ago. The capital of the state is Trenton, yet the largest city is Newark. New Jersey has the 24th highest percentage of seniors, with 13.5% of the residents aged 65 or older. With all that the state of New Jersey can offer, is the “Garden State” a wise choice for senior citizens who are looking to retire?
Costs of Assisted Living in New Jersey
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 New Jersey is slightly higher at $4,950. Across New Jersey alone, the costs of assisted living facilities vary from $4,000 in Vineland, New Jersey to $6,060 in Trenton, New Jersey. Not only do costs vary across the state, but the costs also vary within facilities depending on the needs of the residents, the staff to resident ratio necessary to provide adequate care to residents, and the level of nursing care – as opposed to attendant care – necessary for the residents.
Home health care and Adult Day Care are sometimes used over Assisted Living Care because they allow the person to remain living at home while still getting the help that they need. A Home Health Aide in New Jersey costs, on average, close to $4,200 a month, over $50,300 annually. Adult Day Care in New Jersey costs on average $1,842 or a bit over $22,000 annually. Care in an Assisted Living Home is comparable to having a Home Health Aide in New Jersey, but an Assisted Living Facility provides 24-hour care as well as professional nurses around the clock. In fact, to provide the same hours of care in your home, you would need 3.8 Home Health Aides a week, which would cost approximately $16,000 per month – around 190,000 per year. Home Health Aides provide attendant care and help with Activities of Daily Living, but they are not licensed to provide nursing care and few provide more than light housekeeping duties.
On the other end of the Long-Term Care spectrum is Nursing Facility care. Currently, it is estimated that a semi-private room in a New Jersey Nursing Facility costs around $118,625 per year, and a private room will cost over $133,835 annually in New Jersey. These costs will only increase as the number of seniors increase and the regulations increase as well.
By the year 2030, it is estimated that the cost of Assisted Living in New Jersey will be close to $90,000 per year. The cost of Nursing Home Facilities in New Jersey will rise to roughly $179,500 for a semi-private room and over $202,000 for a private room by 2030.
Within the state of New Jersey, the costs of Assisted Living Facilities are noticeably different from city to city, for example, these are the latest average monthly fees for Assisted Living Facilities in New Jersey:
- Vineland Area, New Jersey - $4,000
- Atlantic City Area, New Jersey - $4,155;
- Ocean City, New Jersey - $4,223;
- Northern New Jersey Area, New Jersey - $5,305; and
- Trenton, New Jersey - $6,060;
Pros and Cons of Senior Living in New Jersey
If you are looking for senior living facilities in New Jersey, you should consider the following:
- Cost of Living – the state has a higher cost of living that the nationwide average;
- Crime Rate – the rate of violent and property crimes in the New Jersey are lower than the national average. The crime rate for violent crimes is 2.55 and for property crimes it is 16.26, while the United States average is 3.8 for violent crimes and 26 for property crimes. A New Jersey has a 1 in 392 chance to be a victim of violent crimes and 1 in 61 for property-associated crimes. However, although the crime rate is less, the size of New Jersey means that there are more crimes per square mile, around 69 crimes in New Jersey as compared with the national median of 32.85;
- New Jersey is somewhat tax friendly towards its seniors; and
- Retirement Communities – although New Jersey does not have an overwhelmingly high percentage of senior citizens, the state does have quite a few age-restricted communities.
Financial Information for New Jersey Seniors
New Jersey’s tax system is based on six or seven brackets – ranging from 1.4%-8.97%. 2.7% and 4.6%. New Jersey’s state sales tax is 7% and all retail sales are taxable unless they are exempted by law specifically. There is also a “use tax” for goods and services that are purchased and either New Jersey sales tax is not collected or it is collected at a lower rate than the New Jersey’s sales tax rate.
New Jersey taxes all real and tangible property located in New Jersey unless it is specifically exempted. Real property taxes are based on 100% of the market value. In New Jersey, property tax payments are due in four installments, on February 1, May 1, August 1, and November 1. There are some homeowner property tax relief programs that are available to those who qualify.
New Jersey does collect an inheritance tax. In addition, New Jersey also imposes a separate estate tax. The estate tax may be applied even when no New Jersey inheritance tax is due. After the Federal government phased out the estate tax, New Jersey went back to the estate tax that it had prior to 2002.
New Jersey does not tax Social Security income. It does partially tax private pension for New Jersey residents, as well as public pension and retirement account withdrawals. New Jersey also taxes wages at a rate of 1.8%.
New Jersey has a rather high cost of living as compared to the United States average. Out of 100 points, New Jersey ranked higher than the national average with a cost of living of 126.60. New Jersey rated higher than the average overall (127) and in the categories of: health (107), housing (161), transportation (104), grocery (107), and utilities (135), and miscellaneous (114).
Places of Interest for Seniors Living in New Jersey
New Jersey has some amazing and unusual attractions that are interesting for people of all ages. Here are some ideas of things that senior citizens living in the state may enjoy in New Jersey:
- Thomas Edison National Historic Park – located in West Orange, New Jersey. This is the actual laboratory and residence used by Thomas Edison in West Orange, Essex County, New Jersey. From Edison’s laboratory came the inventions of the sound recordings, motion picture camera, better phonographs, the nickel-iron alkaline electric storage battery and sound as well as silent movies. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966, a National Historic Site on September 5, 1962, and a designated National Historic Park on March 30, 2009.
- Battleship New Jersey – located in Camden, New Jersey. The Battleship can be found on the Camden Waterfront and tours are available, both guided and self-guided, year-round. Seniors can view or even climb inside the 16” gun turrets, explore the captain’s cabins and the crew quarters. Special accommodations can be for families and youth groups so that they can spend the night aboard the ship;
- Historic Cold Spring Village – located in Cape May, New Jersey. This is an open-air living history museum that welcomes seniors and everyone else to explore the past of southern New Jersey. Open only during the spring and summer seasons, this non-profit museum is a re-created rural southern New Jersey town that is set on more than 30 acres;
- Duke Farms – located in Hillsborough, New Jersey. It’s a farm/museum that is environmental friendly and works to help teach senior citizens and other visitors how to become informed about taking care of Earth. Much of the mission of Duke Farms is to inspire people to become more conservative of natural resources and building a sustainable future;
- Sayen House and Gardens, New Jersey – also known an Sayen Park Botanical Gardens. It is located in Hamilton, New Jersey and it’s a municipal park and botanical gardens that is open to the public year-round. It began in 1912 when the site was purchased by Fredrick Sayen and his wife Anne Mellon and surrounded it with plants from their world travels. In 1998, Hamilton Township purchased the site from the developer David Cellars and it was opened to the public in 1991. The township expanded and improved the park in 2003 and it now contains more than 1,000 azaleas, almost 500 rhododendrons, and more than 250,000 flowering bulbs for the spring display. There are also ponds, bridges, gazebos, and walking trails;
- Emlen Physick Estate – located in Cape May, New Jersey. This 18-room Victorian house museum was created for Dr. Emlen Physick Jr. in 1879 and was designed by the acclaimed American architect Frank Furness. The mansion is an example of “Slick Style” architecture and is distinguishable by upside-down corbelled chimneys, its oversized features, hooded “jerkin-head” dormers and very large brackets on the porch. Inside, many of the original furnishing pieces are on display. The house is now owned by the city of Cape May but it is leased by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC) which offers guided tours of the house throughout the year. On the four-acre estate, seniors will also find the Carriage House, the Carroll Gallery, the Carriage House Museum Shop and the Carriage House Café & Tearoom. It was featured in the 1981 movie “The Prowler;”
- Batsto Village – located in Washington Township, Burlington County, New Jersey. This historic unincorporated community was once a thriving industrial center for both iron and glass. In the late 1950’s the state purchased the Wharton properties with plans to develop the property, although it allowed the few people still living there to remain. In 1989, the last house was vacated. Today there are over 40 structures in the 1,200-acre village, including the Batsto mansion, a sawmill, ice and milk houses, a blacksmith, a charcoal kiln and wheelwright shop, a general store, and a gristmill. The Post Office is still in operation as is the Batsto-Pleasant Mills Methodist Episcopal Church. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 10, 1971;
- Pahaquarry Copper Mine – located in Hardwick Township, Warren County, New Jersey. Seniors will find this abandoned copper mine on the west side of Kittatinny Mountain. The mine was never profitable and was abandoned. However, nearby are hiking trails and waterfalls. It is located within the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and is administered by the National Park Service. The “Old Mine Road” is also nearby which is 104 miles in length and was built to connect the mines to Kingston, New York. Although the age of the road is unknown, it is thought to have been built in the 1600s and is one of the oldest continuously used roads in the United States;
- Manasquan Reservoir – located in Howell Township, Monmouth County, New Jersey. It is a source of water for many municipalities and utilities and a 1,204-acre park. The park has trails, a visitor’s center, a nature/environmental center, several fishing areas, and a boat launching area; and
- Grounds for Sculpture – located in Hamilton, New Jersey. This 42-acre not-for-profit sculpture park and an arboretum was founded by Seward Johnson. Senior citizens can check out over 270 contemporary sculptures by renowned and emerging artists and the exhibits change seasonally in the five indoor galleries. The park is open year-round and you can purchase memberships which allow for free admission year-round as well as other benefits.
Some cities to consider for New Jersey Senior Living
Here are some cities or towns that have ranked highly in different categories that are helpful to seniors:
- Ocean City, New Jersey – located in Cape May County, New Jersey. Ocean City is the county’s largest city and is the principal city of the Ocean City Metropolitan Statistical Area. During the summer months, Ocean City is a tourist destination and the population grows immensely. The beaches of Ocean City have ranked high since at least 2005, and it was #1 in 2009. Ocean City is also well-known for its’ boardwalk which is one of the most recognizable landmarks both on the resort and in the world. The population of Ocean City, New Jersey is approximately 11,500 full-time residents of which almost 30% are senior citizens age 65 or older. Last year, Ocean City ranked #5 out of 605 of the “Best Places to Retire in New Jersey,” and #169 out of 609 of the “Best Places to Live in New Jersey;”
- Lavallette, New Jersey – located in Ocean County, New Jersey. Lavallette is located on the Barnegat Peninsula which separates Barnegat Bay from the Atlantic Ocean. The population of Lavallette is approximately 2,100 residents, of which close to 40.4% belong to the 65+ senior living community. The median age in Lavallette is approximately 60.5 years. Last year, Lavallette ranked #3 out of 605 of the “Best Places to Retire in New Jersey,” #9 out of 418 of the “Safest Places to Live in New Jersey,” #9 out of 395 of the “Safest Suburbs in New Jersey,” and #19 out of 408 of the “Safest Suburbs in New York City Metro;”
- Surf City, New Jersey – a borough located in Ocean County, New Jersey. It was originally called “Long Beach City” but was renamed “Surf City” in 1899 to avoid confusion with other places on the New Jersey Shore. Surf City was home to the first large boarding hotel on the Jersey Shore, the Mansion of Health, which burned down in 1874. The population of Surf City is approximately 1,200 of which close to 38% of the population are part of the 65+ senior community. The median age of Surf City is almost 60 years. Last year, Surf City ranked #1 out of 605 of the “Best Places to Retire in New Jersey, #72 out of 418 of the “Safest Places to Live in New Jersey,” #3 out of 108 of the “Best Places to Live in New Jersey,” and #75 out of 608 of the “Best Places to Buy a House in New Jersey;”
- Sea Girt, New Jersey – located in Monmouth County, New Jersey. The population of Sea Grit is estimated to be around 2,000 of which approximately 30% are elderly New Jersey residents, 65 years of age or older. Last year, Sea Grit ranked #4 out of 605 of the “Best Places to Retire in New Jersey,” and #60 out of 605 of the “Healthiest Places to Live in New Jersey;”
- Laurel Springs, New Jersey – a borough in Camden County, New Jersey. It was named due to the therapeutic springs in the nearby laurel groves. The population of Laurel Springs, New Jersey is approximately 2,000, with around 12% of residents belonging to the 65+ senior living community. Last year, Laurel Springs ranked #22 out of 605 of the “Best Places to Retire in New Jersey,” #43 out of 608 of the “Best Places to Buy a House in New Jersey,” #43 out of 577 of the “Best Suburbs to Buy a House in New Jersey,” and #75 out of 251 of the “Safest Suburbs in Philadelphia Metro;”
- Spring Lake Heights, New Jersey – a borough in the coastal portion of Monmouth County, New Jersey. It was named Spring Lake due to the clear spring-fed lake. The population of Spring Lake is estimated to be around 4,700 people with nearly 26% of the population who are seniors age 65 or older. Last year, Spring Lake ranked #7 out of 106 of the “Best Places to Retire in New Jersey,” #227 out of 875 of the “Best Suburbs to Live in New York City Metro,” #330 out of 874 of the “Best Suburbs to Buy a House in New York City Metro,” #32 out of 408 of the “Safest Suburbs in New York City Metro,” and #15 out of 418 of the “Safest Places to Live in New Jersey;”
- Tinton Falls, New Jersey – a borough in Monmouth County, New Jersey. It was named for the plantation of Lewis Morris, Tinton Manor, where both slaves and white workers were employed. The borough is where the highest waterfall on New Jersey’s coastal plain can be found. Tinton Falls, New Jersey has approximately 18,000 residents, with around 25.5% of residents comprising the 65+ senior living community. Last year, Tinton Falls ranked #25 out of 605 of the “Best Places to Retire in New Jersey,” #95 out of 418 of the “Safest Places to Live in New Jersey,” and #93 out of 395 of the “Safest Suburbs in New Jersey;”
- Ellisburg, New Jersey – an unincorporated community and a census-designated placed in Camden County, New Jersey. It is located within Cherry Hill Township. The population of Ellisburg is around 4,500 residents, of which approximately 25% belong to the senior living community of 65+. Last year, Ellisburg ranked #18 out of 605 of the “Best Places to Retire in New Jersey,” #157 out of 444 of the “Suburbs with the Best Public Schools in Philadelphia Metro,” #114 out of 451 of the “Most Diverse Suburbs in Philadelphia Metro,” #254 out of 578 of the “Best Suburbs to Live in New Jersey,” and #136 out of 569 of the “Suburbs with the Best Public Schools in New Jersey;”
- Monroe Township, New Jersey – located in southern Middlesex County, New Jersey. There are a handful of age-restricted communities within Monroe Township. It was named after President James Monroe and it is one of the most rapidly growing communities in the state of New Jersey. The population of Monroe Township is approximately 45,000, with around 35% of residents who are part of the 65+ senior community. Last year, Monroe Township ranked #8 out of 605 of the “Best Places to Retire in New Jersey,” #88 out of 418 of the “Safest Places to Live in New Jersey,” and #136 out of 874 of the “Best Suburbs to Buy a House in New York City Metro,” and
- Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey – a borough located in Bergen County, New Jersey. The world headquarters of CNBC, Unilever, and both Ferrari and Maserati of North America call Englewood Cliffs home. Englewood Cliffs is on the list of the most expensive zip codes in the United States with a median home value that is almost 1 million dollars. The population of Englewood Cliffs is approximately 5,500 with 24% of the residents who are part of the 65+ senior living community. Last year, Englewood Cliffs ranked #39 out of 605 of the “Best Places to Retire in New Jersey,” #80 out of 418 of the “Safest Places to Live in New Jersey,” #79 out of 395 of the “Safest Suburbs in New Jersey.”