Senior Guidance

North Dakota Senior Living

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North Dakota Senior Living CommunitiesNorth Dakota is the 39th state of the United States and was admitted to the Union on November 2, 1889. It is in the Upper Midwestern region of the United States in the region known as the Great Plains and is bordered by the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba to the North, Minnesota to the east, South Dakota to the south, and Montana to the west.  North Dakota is the 19th largest state by area, with 70,698 square miles, and with approximately 757,952 residents it is the 47th most populated state. The population density is 11.7 people per square mile which is also the 47th in the nation.

The central part of North Dakota divides into the Drift Prairie and the Missouri Plateau, while the eastern part of the state is mainly flat and is where the Red River Valley is located. Devil’s Lake, the largest natural lake in the state, is also found in eastern North Dakota. The capital of North Dakota is Bismarck, but the largest city is Fargo and the Fargo Metropolitan Area. The original North Dakota State Capital burned to the ground in 1930. It was replaced by a limestone-faced art deco skyscraper that is still standing today. Fargo, largest city, is also the home of the second-largest campus of Microsoft with 1,700 employees. North Dakota is the only state in the Union with a state-owned bank, the Bank of North Dakota in Bismarck, and a state-owned flour mill, the North Dakota Mill and Elevator in Grand Forks. Agriculture plays a large role in North Dakota, ranking 9th in the United States.

North Dakota may not be a popular state for retirees yet from a numbers standpoint, and in fact it rates 37th out of the 50 states as far as senior population goes, with 14.16% of residents of North Dakota being age 65 or older. However, is North Dakota a state that you should consider when looking for senior living communities and assisted living?

Costs of Assisted Living in North Dakota

Although Assisted Living is expensive, it is sometimes necessary when a person can’t be safe or cared for in their own home. Assisted Living provides 24-hour care, housekeeping, meals, housing, medical care, and a safe environment. In America, the average cost for a monthly stay in an Assisted Living Facility is $3,628. In North Dakota, the state median for a month of care in an Assisted Living Facility costs $3,340 which is almost $300 less than the average cost of Assisted Living nationwide. The difference in cost is due, in part, to the cost of housing being lower in North Dakota than the costs across the country.

The cost of care in an Assisted Living facility also varies across the state, yet in North Dakota the state average is $3,340 for the towns that we have listed below and $2,950 is the average in the rest of the state. Often, the costs of Assisted Living vary across the state as well as within specific cities and facilities. In facilities that use tier-based systems, the resident or prospective resident is charged based on the level of care required for them to live safely in an Assisted Living Facility community. It should also be noted that Alzheimer’s and memory care patients may see increased costs of assisted living in North Dakota and other states.

Adult Day Health Care and Home Health Aides are other senior living options to help care for seniors and these options are often preferred as they allow seniors to stay in their homes. However, these costs are expensive as well. A Home Health Aide in North Dakota costs, on average, $5,331 a month – almost $64,000 per year. Adult Day Care in North Dakota costs on average $1,685 monthly or almost $20,220 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. The high cost of Home Health Aides in North Dakota may be related to the higher cost of health care as well as the low rate of unemployment. Experts forecast that over the next five years, the prices of Home Health Aides costs will increase 4%, and Adult Day Health Care will increase 3%.

For seniors with higher level medical needs, 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. It is estimated that a semi-private room in a Nursing Facility in North Dakota costs almost $11,000 per month – $130,860 per year, and a private room will cost around $11,000 monthly – $129,276 annually. It is interesting, and unusual, that the costs of a semi-private room are so close in price to that of a private room. Experts project that the costs of North Dakota skilled nursing care will increase 14% for semi-private rooms and 11% for private rooms in the next five years.

By the year 2030, as the number of seniors needing care increase, the regulations on facilities will also increase. It is projected that the cost of Assisted Living in North Dakota will be close to $60,625 per year, and the cost of Nursing Homes will increase to almost $195,000 for a semi-private room and almost $195,600 for a private room. The costs of Adult Day Care will be around $30,600 and a Home Health Aide will cost almost $96,800 annually.

            These are the latest approximate costs of a monthly stay in an Assisted Living Facility in different areas of North Dakota:

  • Grand Forks, North Dakota - $3,019;
  • Bismarck, North Dakota - $3,610; and
  • Fargo, North Dakota - $3,654.

Pros and Cons of Senior Living in North Dakota

Here are some important to consider for seniors when choosing whether to retire to North Dakota:

  • Cost of Living - North Dakota 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, North Dakota ranked lower than the national average with a cost of living of 82.80. North Dakota rated higher than the average overall (82) and the categories of health (94), groceries (92.2), housing (54), utilities (97), and miscellaneous (95.) Only transportation was higher than 100 at 102.
  • Crime Rate – the rate of crimes in North Dakota State is lower than the national average – both property and violent crimes. In terms of violent crimes, North Dakota’s rate of violent crimes is 2.39, while the United States average is 3.8 for violent crimes. Regarding property crimes, the rate is 21.25 in North Dakota, and it is 26 in the nation. The chances of become a victim of a violent crime in North Dakota is 1 in 418 and 1 in 47 for property crimes. North Dakota has a crime rate of 17 crimes per square mile, which is lower than the national median of 32.85, yet this may be partially due to the low population density in the state of North Dakota;
  • Taxes – North Dakota is somewhat tax-friendly towards seniors. Social Security Income is partially taxed and withdrawals from retirement accounts are fully taxed. The taxes on wages are 1.1%. Private and public pensions in North Dakota are partially taxed;
  • Unemployment – North Dakota has an unemployment rate of 3.40, and job growth is negative 0.72%. Over the next ten years it is predicted that job growth will be over 36.06%. The unemployment rate is higher in North Dakota than the US average of 5.20%, while recent job growth is not only lower than the United States average, but it is in the negative. Future job growth is also lower when compared to the U.S. average, which is 36.06% and 37.98% respectively;
  • Health – North Dakota state has an average of 179 physicians per 100,000 residents, lower than the US average of 210. Other health indices that are rated (with 100 being the best): Air quality – 83 in North Dakota, 58.4 nationwide; Water Quality – 53 in North Dakota, 55 nationwide; Superfund sites – 98.7 in North Dakota, 86.9 nationwide; and Health Cost – 102.9 in North Dakota, 100 nationwide; and
  • Weather – North Dakota has around 18.50 inches of rainfall annually, while the United States has only 39.2, and the average snowfall is 32.25 compared to the national average of 25.8. There are 42.57 days of precipitation, lower than the 102 days that is the national average, but it has 201 sunny days which is close to the United States of 205. The July average temperature in North Dakota is close to 82°, lower than the 86° in the rest of the nation, yet the temperatures in January average 0.755° which is much colder than the 22.6° found elsewhere in the United States. The “comfort index” is 43 in this state while the national average is 54. Finally, the UV Index is 3.1 in the state of North Dakota, which is lower than the average in the United States of 4.3.

Places of Interest for Seniors Living in North Dakota

North Dakota has attractions that are interesting for people of all ages and has outdoor activities for all seasons. Here are some ideas of things that senior citizens may enjoy in North Dakota:

  • North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum – located in Bismarck, North Dakota. This is the largest museum in the state of North Dakota and has four galleries which illustrate the state’s history from the geological formations of 600 million years ago up until the present day.
  • Scandinavian Heritage Park – located in the Upper Brooklyn neighborhood of Minot, North Dakota – this unusual attraction features replicas and monuments representing each of the Scandinavian countries: Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland. An impressive 40% of the population of Minot is of Scandinavian descent. This park was established in 1988 to both celebrate and to preserve the heritage of the Scandinavian counties.
  • Chatuea de Mores – located in Medora, North Dakota – a historic home built in 1882 by the Marquis de Morès as a hunting lodge and a summer home for family and guests. The house has 26 rooms and is now part of a 128-acre Chateau de Mores Historic Site which also includes Chimney Park and de Mores Memorial Park. It was built by the Marquis, a French aristocrat, who came to the Dakota badlands to start a cattle operation. It currently is a museum operated by the State Historical Society of North Dakota and is open to the public with guided tours available. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.
  • On-a-Slant Village – located in Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, Mandan, North Dakota – part of Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, the On-A-Slant Village was established in the late 16th century and inhabited until the late 1700s when the Mandan tribe was virtually wiped out by smallpox.
  • The Dakota Zoo – located in Bismarck, North Dakota – founded in 1961 by Marc and Betty Christianson with a group of dedicated volunteers and on 15-acres of land with only 75 mammals and 23 birds. Today, the Dakota Zoo has flourished into a 90-acre facility with 600 animals, birds, reptiles, and fish and is visited by more than 150,000 people annually.
  • Lewis and Clark Riverboat – located in Bismarck, North Dakota. The Lewis and Clark Riverboat is the finest passenger vessel on the upper Missouri River. It was privately owned for a while, but is now both owned and operated by the Fort Abraham Lincoln Foundation.
  • The Enchanted Highway – located near Regent, North Dakota. This road has no highway number but is distinguishable by the large scrap metal sculptures that are found along the 32-mile stretch of highway in the southwestern part of the state.
  • Fort Union Trading Post – located in Williston, North Dakota. Known as the Grandest Fort on the Upper Missouri River, this fort was the most important fur trading post on the Missouri River. The Assiniboine and six other Northern Plains Indian Tribes exchanged buffalo robes and smaller furs for good from around the world. The post annual traded over 25,000 buffalo robes and around $100,000 in merchandise.
  • Sitting Bull – located in Williston, North Dakota. This is a memorial to Sitting Bull, the most revered of the Lakota Indians. In 1881, he came to the American agents at Fort Buford desperate and hungry and surrendered his Winchester rifle to the commanding officer at Fort Buford. A statue of Sitting Bull by artist Michael Westergard is at the front entrance of Stevens Hall, at Williston State College as of July 16, 2011.

Some cities to consider for North Dakota Senior Living

Here are some cities or towns that have ranked highly in different categories and in which seniors may enjoy living. When choosing senior living communities in North Dakota or when selecting the best North Dakota assisted living facilities, please keep the following cities in mind:

  • Dickinson, North Dakota – a city in, and the county seat of, Stark County, North Dakota. Dickinson is the principal city of the Dickinson Micropolitan Statistical Area, an area which covers Billings and Stark Counties. This city has been one of the fastest growing cities in the United States since the North Dakota oil boom.

Some things of interest in Dickinson are the Dickinson Dinosaur Museum, Dickinson Museum Center, West River Community Center, West River Ice Center, Biesiot Activities Center, and the Ukrainian Cultural Institute. There are 124 physicians per capita in the town of Dickinson and the crime rate is 42.2. The population of Dickinson, North Dakota is approximately 24,000 residents, of which around 16% belong to the 65+ senior living community;

  • Minot, North Dakota – a city in, and the county seat of, Ward County, North Dakota that is in the state’s northcentral region. Minot is best known for the Air Force base that is 15 miles north of the city. Minot is the principal city of the Minot Micropolitan Statistical Area, a micropolitan area that covers McHenry, Renville, and Ward counties with a combined population of nearly 75,000. Minot is the 4th-largest city in the state of North Dakota and a trading center for parts of northern North Dakota, southeastern Saskatchewan and southwestern Manitoba. Minot also goes by the name “Magic City” as an ode to its remarkable growth in such a short period of time. Minot is divided into three major divisions, North Hill, the Souris River Valley, and South Hill. The art community of Minot includes an art museum, a symphony orchestra, an opera company, a city band and theater troupes, a youth/punk concern organization, and the AMP. The largest city park are Roosevelt Park and Oak Park and the Roosevelt Zoo is one of the top zoos in the area. Minot is the location of the North Dakota State Fair that is held annually. The Apple Grove Grove Golf Course and the Souris Valley Golf Course are also in Minot. Nearly 40% of the residents are of Scandinavian ancestry and every October Minot has hosted the Norsk Høstfest, which is North American’s largest Scandinavian-American festival and the Scandinavian Heritage Park features replicas from the countries of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland. Other sites of interest in Minot are the “62 Doors Art Gallery,” “Arlene Theater,” “Dakota Territory Air Museum,” the Minot Riverwalk, Northwest Air Center, Old Soo Depot Transportation Museum, Pangea House, Pioneer Village, The Railroad Museum of Minot, and the “Taube Museum of Art.”

There are 277 physicians per capital in Minot and the crime rate is 42.3. The population of Minot is approximately 50, 000 residents, of which around 15% are part of the senior living community of adults 65 years or older;

  • Wahpeton, North Dakota – a city in, and the county seat of, Richland County, in southeastern North Dakota. Wahpeton is located alone the Bois de Sioux River where it converges with the Otter Tail River, and then forms the Red River of the North. The North Dakota State College of Science is in Wahpeton. There are 116 physicians per capita in Wahpeton and the crime rate is 36.2. The population of Wahpeton, North Dakota is around 8,000, with approximately 12.5% of the residents belonging to the 65+ adult senior living community;
  • Mandan, North Dakota – a city in on the eastern border of Mercer County. Founded in 1879, in 1881 it was declared the county seat of Morton County. Mandan is a core city of the Bismarck-Mandan Metropolitan Area.  It was named after the indigenous Mandan of the area who are part of the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation. In 2013, Mandan was a finalist in the “Most Patriotic City” competition held by Rand McNally. Triumph Hospital Central Dakotas is a critical-care hospital located in Mandan and Bismarck State College has a Mechanical Maintenance Technology program at the Mandan Campus.

The population of Mandan is over 23,000, with approximately 13.2% of the population being part of the 65 years old or older senior living community;

  • Fargo, North Dakota – the most populous city in, and the County Seat of, Cass County, North Dakota. Almost 15% of the population of North Dakota lives in Fargo.

In 2014, Fargo was ranked by Forbes magazine as the fastest-growing small city in the United States.

Fargo was founded in 1871 and is located on the Red River of the North floodplain and is the home to North Dakota State University.

The universities in the Fargo area - North Dakota State University, North Dakota State College of Science, Rasmussen College, The University of Jamestown’s Doctor of Physical Therapy, and Masters Baptist College, all promote and bring cultural events to the town. There are also several private theatre companies in Fargo. There is also the Fargo-Moorhead Opera, the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra, and the Fargo-Moorhead Youth Symphony, and the Fargo-Moorhead Ballet. Other cultural opportunities in Fargo are the restored 1926 Art Deco Fargo Theatre, The Winter Carnival in Fargo, the Fargodome, The Plains Art Museum, The Fargo Air Museum, The Children’s Museum at Yunker Farm, The Courthouse Museum, the historic Bonanzaville village, The Roger Maris Museum, and the North Dakota State University Wall of Fame.

Fargo has 335 physicians per capita and a crime rate of 48.2. The population of Fargo, North Dakota is close to 120,000, residents, with approximately 1200 people who are part of the senior living community of 65+ year old adults;

  • Grand Forks, North Dakota – a city in, and the County seat of, Grand Forks County, North Dakota. It is the third-largest city in North Dakota. It is on the western backs of the north-flowing Red River of the North in the area known as the Red River Valley and the city is prone to flooding. The Grand Forks post office was established in 1870 and the town was incorporated in 1881. It was named due its location at the fork of the Red River and the Red Lake River.

The University of North Dakota in Grand Forks is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state, while the Alerus Center and the Ralph Engelstad Arena host athletic and other events.

Grand Forks is 74 miles north of the Fargo-Moorhead area and 145 miles south of Winnipeg, Manitoba. It is one of the flattest cities in the world, therefore there are very few differences in elevation. There are no lakes in the city limits but the Red River and the English Coulee do flow through the community.

Thanks to the presence of the University of North Dakota there are quite a few artistic and cultural events offered in Grand Forks. The Empire Arts Center is in downtown Grand Forks and hosts several cultural events a year. The Myra Museum is another place seniors can visit, which is a small history museum that traces history from the Ice Age through modern times.

The Grand Forks Parks District operates 14 neighborhood parks, 28 tennis courts, and a swimming pool. There are also 11 outdoor ice-skating rinks and indoor ice arenas. There are several golf courses in the city, including the Arnold Palmer designed King’s Walk Golf Course, and a historic 9-hold Lincoln Golf Course. Finally, there are two pedestrian/bicycle bridges that span the Red River.

Grand Forks has 386 physicians per capita and a crime rate of 45.3. The population of Grand Forks, North Dakota is approximately 58,000 with about 5800 residents who are part of the 65+ or older adults senior living community;

  • Jamestown, North Dakota – a city in, and the county seat of, Stutsman County, North Dakota.

Jamestown was founded in 1872 after the railroad was built near the area and in 1873. Stutsman Country became the first official county within the Dakota Territory with Jamestown as the county seat although Jamestown was not incorporated until 1883. One of the places of interest for seniors here is the Jamestown Reservoir  - 3 interconnected, man-made 12-mile-long lakes that were formed after the construction of Jamestown Dam. These lakes are popular for watersports and fishing. There are also two 18-hole-golf courses - Jamestown Country Club and Hillcrest Golf Course, two-disc golf courses, an 18-hold recreational course in Klaus Park, and a 27-hole championship course on the island and land surrounding the reservoir.

Jamestown also features the “World’s Largest Buffalo” a 26-foot tall sculpture of an American Bison.

There are 128 physicians per capita in Jamestown. The population of Jamestown is approximately 15,500, of which around 17% of the residents are now part of the senior living community of 65+ year old adults;

  • Devils Valley, North Dakota – a city in, and the county seat of, Ramsey County, North Dakota. It is named for the lake nearby, Devils Lake. It was originally named Creelsburg after Lieutenant Heber M. Creel who was a West Point graduate and a topographical engineer stationed at nearby Fort Totten. The first post office was founded in Creelsburg on November 15, 1882, but when the village was incorporated in 1994 the name was changed to “City of Devils Lake,” and then shortened to “Devils Lake.”

Lake Region State College is in Devils Lake and other attractions are the Devils Lake Town and Country Club and Devils Lake Basin Joint Water Resource Board.

There are 192 physicians per capita in Devils Lake and the crime rate is 56. The population of Devils Lake is around 7,500, of which 19.2% are belong to the 65+ adult senior living community;

  • Williston, North Dakota – a city in, and the county set of, Williams County, North Dakota. It is near the junction of the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers at the upper end of Lake Sakakawea reservoir.

It is the sixth-largest city in the state of North Dakota and the population boom is a result of the increase in population between the periods of 2010 and 2015. Both Williston State College and the Miss North Dakota Scholarship Pageant are held in Williston.

Williston was founded in 1887 and named for Daniel Willis James, a board member of the Northern Pacific Railroad.

Sites of interest in Williston include: Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site, Missouri-Yellowstone Confluence Interpretive Center, Fort Buford, Lake Sakakawea, Eagle Ridge Golf Club, The Confluence (where the Missouri and the Yellowstone River meet), The Links of North Dakota at Red Mike Resort (rated 41st by Golfweek among America’s 100 best modern courses in 1997), Cut Bluff Overlook (a historical site located about two miles east of Williston), Williston Municipal Golf Course, James Memorial Art Center (built in 1911, this was originally the community library) and the Williston Area Recreation Center – a 234,000-square-foot recreation center that was built in 2014. It includes indoor surfing, golf simulators, and a water park.

Williston health care clinics including: Craven-Hagan Clinic, Trinity Community Clinic-Western Dakota and Fairflight Medical Center. Mercy Medical is the Williston hospital and is home to the Leonard P. Nelson Family Center. Mercy Medical Center was ranked in the Top 200 Critical Hospitals in the United States by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.

The population of Williston is growing rapidly and the U.S. Census estimated that there were 14,716 residents; however, they did not count those who live in temporary housing and therefore a more accurate population estimate is around 30,000 with around 14.5% who are part of the 65+ adult senior living community;

  • Hatton, North Dakota – a city in Trail County, North Dakota. It was founded in 1882 and named for Frank Hatton, then the Assistant Postmaster General.

The population of Hatton, North Dakota is about 700, with a little more than 27% of the residents who are senior citizens age 65 or older;

  • Valley City, North Dakota – a city in, and the county seat of, Barnes County, North Dakota. It is the 13th largest city in North Dakota and was founded in 1874. Valley City is home to Valley City State University and the North Dakota High School Activities Association (NDHSAA.) The city is called the “City of Bridges” due to the numerous bridges over the Sheyenne River, including the Hi-Line Railroad Bridge. Other attractions in Valley City are the Hi-Line Railroad Bridge, the North Dakota Winter Show, the North Country Trail, and The Vault (a coffee shop). The population of Valley City is approximately 6,700 of which around 23.1% of the residents belong to the 65+ senior living community.

SeniorGuidance.org provides comprehensive resources on various senior living options, including: assisted living facilities, senior living communities, nursing homes, independent living communities, continuing care retirement communities (CCRC) and all other long term senior care options, including memory care such as Alzheimer's or Dementia.

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