The state of Virginia is in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States as well as in the historic Southeast. The proper name is the “Commonwealth of Virginia,” but its nicknames include “Old Dominion,” “Mother of Presidents,” and “Mother of States.” The capital is Richmond, but the largest city is Virginia Beach. There are 8.39 million people living in Virginia, making it the 12th most populated state with a population density of 206.7 people per square mile, ranking 14th in America. At 42,774.2 square miles, Virginia is the 35th largest state in the nation. Virginia has the 41st highest percentage of senior citizens in the country, with over 13.7% of Virginians age 65 or older living in the state. However, is this historic state a wise choice for seniors who are looking to make a move during their older years?
Costs of Assisted Living in Virginia
On average in the United States, Assisted Living is $3,628 per month, and Virginia's assisted living facilities cost on average just a bit over $300 more per month ($3950), although the costs may vary depending on where the assisted living facility is located the type of care that's provided there. For example, those facilities that specialize in Alzheimer's or dementia residents will frequently cost more as they need staff who is properly trained to handle such residents. Within the state of Virginia alone, the costs of assisted living facilities vary from less than $3,100 per month in Harrisonburg to over $5,690 in Winchester, Virginia.
Due to more regulations and a higher level of care, nursing homes are much more expensive. In Virginia, a semi-private room in a nursing facility costs over $80,500 per year, and a private room will cost close to $89,000 annually. Adult Day Health Care is also an option to care for aging seniors. In Virginia, Adult Day Health Care averages $1,400 per month or close to $17,000 per year. A Home Health Aide in Virginia costs, on average $3,716 a month, over $44,500 annually.
Although the cost of an Assisted Living facility is close to that of a Home Health Aide in the state of Virginia, you must consider that a Home Health Aide is based on a 44-hour-week and does not offer 24-hour care that is provided in Virginia Assisted Living facilities. Additionally, while Home Health Aides are important and helpful, they are not licensed nurses which are available in most Assisted Living Facilities.
It is projected that by the year 2030, Assisted Living in Virginia will cost around $71,700 per year – an increase of over $24,000. The cost of Nursing Home Care will rise to approximately $122,000 for a semi-private room and $135,000 for a private room by 2030.
Within Virginia itself, the costs of Assisted Living Care vary from state to state. Here are the latest costs in an Assisted Living Facility in Virginia:
- Harrisonburg, Virginia - $3,100;
- Richmond, Virginia - $3,366;
- Staunton Area, Virginia - $3,420;
- Lynchburg, Virginia - $3,595;
- Blacksburg Area, Virginia - $3,855;
- Roanoke, Virginia - $3,813;
- Virginia Beach, Virginia - $4,402;
- Charlottesville, Virginia - $4,888;
- Winchester, Virginia - $5,675.
Pros and Cons of Senior Living in Virginia
Here are some things to consider for seniors when choosing whether to retire to Virginia:
- Popular for Retirees – although the percentage of elders is lower in Virginia than it is in other states, there is an increasing number of adult communities being built and many people choose to stay in Virginia after they reach retirement age. Also, many elders who have left the state and moved elsewhere have moved back to Virginia;
- Taxes – Virginia’s income tax top rate is 5.75% and there is neither an inheritance nor an estate tax;
- Tourism – while there are certainly quieter parts of the state, areas like Virginia Beach and Colonial Williamsburg are on the top of the list for tourists and therefore are costly areas in which to retire;
- High rankings in factors that affect residents and retirees – Virginia ranked #4 for crime rate, #10 for weather, #13 for health care quality and #15 for community well-being out of all states.
Financial Information for Virginia Seniors
Virginia has an income tax that is divided into four brackets and ranges from 2% to 5.75%. These brackets are:
- 2% on the first $3,000 of taxable income;
- 3% on income between $3,001 and $5,000;
- 5% on taxable income between $5,001 and $17,000; and
- 5.75% on taxable income of $17,001 and over.
The state sales tax in Virginia is 4.3%, but there is an additional 1% local tax on most purchases made in Virginia. The state tax on some food items decreased to 1.5% which lowered the amount of tax paid – 1.5% state tax and 1% local tax. There is no state property tax in the state of Virginia as the taxes are set and collected at the local government.
Virginia has no estate tax and no inheritance tax.
Virginia is a tax-friendly state for seniors, due to the following:
- Income from Social Security is not taxed in the state of Virginia;
- Withdrawals from retirement accounts are partially taxed;
- Wages are taxed at normal rates, in Virginia the marginal state tax rate is 5.0%;
- Public pension income in Virginia is partially taxed; and
- Private pension income in Virginia is partially taxed.
Virginia is a higher-price state than the national average. For example, what you could purchase for $100 in Virginia is what you would expect to spend $97.47 on in another state. The cost of living is higher in Virginia than it is in other states in every category with housing being the biggest difference. Out of 100 points, Virginia came in with a cost of living of 107.00. Virginia rated lower in the categories of groceries (96.4), miscellaneous (97), transportation (95), health (99) and utilities (98); however, it rated higher overall (107) and in housing (129).
Places of Interest for Seniors Living in Virginia
There are many things that might be of interest for senior citizens in Virginia State, all of which can’t be included in this list so we urge you to research and visit some places that you would enjoy. However, some of the more interesting things that seniors and those who visit them may enjoy in Virginia include:
- Arlington National Cemetery – located in Arlington, Virginia – this 624-acre cemetery contains the graves of some of the Veterans from every American war from the Revolution to the United States most current campaigns. It was officially declared a military cemetery in 1864 and there are over 260,000 veterans buried there. Arlington National Cemetery is also the site of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the grave of John F. Kennedy whose gravesite is marked by an eternal flame;
- Tomb of the Unknown Soldier – located in Arlington, Virginia at Arlington National Cemetery. This tomb contains the remains of three veterans and is guarded by soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Regiment. It is a great honor to guard the “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier” for the U.S. Military - many soldiers apply, but under 20% are accepted to be trained and just a small percentage of those go on to be full-fledged Tomb Guards.
Those who guard the “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier” do not wear rank insignia so they do not outrank the unknowns, and those who stand guard have strict rules they follow. This is emotional service and not a sight for seniors to miss when in Virginia;
- Monticello – located in Charlottesville, Virginia – the primary residence, a plantation, of Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States. He began designing Monticello at age 26 after inheriting the land from his father. Jefferson is buried on the grounds of Monticello and it is both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and on the list of the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Senior citizens can take a guided tour and see the many historical rooms, gadgets, furniture and artifacts as they learn more about Thomas Jefferson. And please, don’t forget that he is the man who introduced Macaroni and Cheese to America;
- Colonial Williamsburg – located in Williamsburg, Virginia. Elderly Virginians can take a step back in time and visit Colonial Williamsburg and live like they did during the Revolutionary War. There are art museums, golf courses, hotels (with spas) and more. Be sure and stop at the Silversmith Shop;
- Jamestown – located in Williamsburg, Virginia – the original site of the first permanent English settlement in America. Thanks to ongoing archeological research at the James Fort, we are learning more and more about life in 1600s Virginia. The site is administered by the National Park Service and Preservation Virginia;
- Bacon’s Castle – located in Surry, Virginia – this castle offers older Virginians guided tours, gift shopping, and information for tourists on Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays between 10-5, and Sunday from 12-5, but the site is open all year long during the daylight hours. The castle was built in 1665 and had a previous name of Arthur Allen Brick House. The 40-acre site is a museum.
- George Washington’s Mount Vernon – located in Mount Vernon, Virginia – this is the home of George Washington (and his wife Martha). Seniors can explore the mansion and grounds. There are theaters, exhibits, and views of the Potomac River that you can see from the mansion;
- Virginia’s Living Museum – located in Newport News, Virginia – at this unique museum you can see endangered red wolves, get close to a loggerhead turtle and touch live spider crabs and fossilized dinosaur tracks. Senior citizens can explore the world under the famous Chesapeake Bay and see the inside of a limestone cave. There is a touch tank with sea stars, horseshoe crabs, and other hands on activities for all ages. Educational opportunities abound at the Conservation Garden and Green Living House;
- Shenandoah Caverns – located in Shenandoah Caverns, Virginia – these underground caverns have been open to the public since 1922 and it is the only Virginia cavern with elevator service (which may make it possible for those seniors who are handicapped to visit, however you should call to see if the caverns are accessible for anyone who is handicapped). The “bacon formations” have been featured in the magazine “National Geographic,” due to their unique attributes. There are 17 rooms where you can take personally guided tours and other attractions are available throughout the year.;
- Roer’s Zoofari – located in Vienna, Virginia – a zoo of sorts, but not your typical zoo. This is a more interactive experience where seniors can feed the parakeets, bottle feed little lambs and goats, and go on the safari wagon ride. There is a “Creature Festival” at 10, noon, and 2 where guests can have a meet and greet with a small animal;
- The National D-Day Memorial – located in Bedford, Virginia – Bedford, Virginia was the community that suffered the highest per capita losses on D-Day, when the Americans invaded Normandy on June 6, 1944 during World War II. The names of the 4,413 Allied Soldiers are listed on the memorial.
Some cities to consider for Virginia Senior Living
Here are some cities or towns that have ranked highly in different categories that are helpful to seniors:
- Abingdon, Virginia – located in, and the county seat of, Washington County Virginia. Abingdon is part of the Kingsport-Bristol (TN)-Bristol (VA) Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population is approximately 8,200 with almost 21% residents who are age 65 or older. Last year, Abingdon ranked #14 out of 185 of the “Best Places to Retire in Virginia,” and #23 of 64 of the “Safest Places to Live in Virginia;
- Colonial Beach, Virginia – located in Westmoreland County, Virginia. Colonial Beach has the second-largest beachfront in the state of Virginia and was a popular resort town before the construction of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge made Maryland beaches more accessible. The population of Colonial Beach is approximately 4,000 of whom around 23% are aged 65 or older. Last year, Colonial Beach ranked #12 out of 185 of the “Best Places to Retire in Virginia,” and #19 out of 64 of the “Safest Places to Live in Virginia;”
- Forest, Virginia – a city in Bedford County, Virginia. Forest is part of the Lynchburg Metropolitan Statistical Area. Poplar Forest, the summer home of Thomas Jefferson is a popular attraction nearby, as are the Point of Honor in Lynchburg, the National D-Day Museum in Bedford, the Peaks of Otter in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The population is around 9,150 with around 9.5% of the population age 65 or older. Last year, Forest ranked #7 out of 185 of the “Best Places to Retire in Virginia,” #37 out of 209 of the “Best Places to Buy a House in Virginia,” and #96 of 209 of the “Best Places to Live in Virginia;”
- Archdale, Virginia – located in both Guilford and Randolph Counties, Virginia. Archdale has a population of approximately 11,600, around 15.5% of whom are age 65 or older. Last year, Archdale ranked #11 out of 179 of the “Best Places to Retire in Virginia,” #24 out of 130 of the “Safest Places to Live in Virginia,” and #47 out of 179 of the “Best Places to Buy a House in Virginia;”
- Hollins, Virginia – located in Botetourt and Roanoke Counties, Virginia. It is part of the Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area and covers most of the area that is known locally as “North Country.” It is the home to Hollins University and four properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places – The “Black Horse Tavern-Bellvue Hotel and Office”, “Harshbarger House”, the “Hollins College Quadrangle,” and “Old Tombstone.” The population of Hollins is estimated to be 14,750 of which around 22% are seniors age 65 or older. Last year, Hollins ranked #1 out 185 of the “Best Places to Retire in Virginia,” #81 out of 209 of the “Best Places to Buy a House in Virginia” and #145 out of 209 of the “Best Places to Raise a Family in Virginia;”
- Brandermill, Virginia – located in Chesterfield County, Virginia on the Southside of Richmond, near Midlothian, Virginia. It is a planned community and was the first planned community is Chesterfield County. It is also where the notorious killer John List was apprehended after 18 years on the run. The population of Brandermill is estimated to be around 13,750. Last year, Brandermill ranked #16 out of 185 of the “Best Places to Retire in Virginia,” #85 out of 209 of the “Best Places to Live in Virginia,” and #83 out of 209 of the “Best Places to Buy a House in Virginia,”
- Tuckahoe, Virginia – located in Henrico County, Virginia. It is a northwestern suburb of Richmond, Virginia. The population of Tuckahoe is approximately 47,500 of which almost 18% are Virginians who are at least 65 years old. Last year, Tuckahoe ranked #6 out of 185 of “Best Places to Retire in Virginia,” #54 out of 209 of the “Best Places to Live in Virginia,” and #73 out of 209 of the “Best Places to Buy a House in Virginia;”
- Wytheville, Virginia – a town in, and the county seat of, Wythe County, Virginia. It is named after George Wythe, who signed the United States Declaration of Independence and was also a mentor to Thomas Jefferson. It is also the birthplace of Edith Boling Wilson, the wife of President Woodrow Wilson. The population of Wytheville, Virginia is approximately 8,200 residents, with almost 28% of residents who are seniors 65 or older. Last year, Wytheville ranked #2 of 185 of the “Best Places to Retire in Virginia,” and #9 out of 64 of the “Safest Places to Live in Virginia,”
- West Point, Virginia – an incorporated town located in King William County, Virginia. The population of West Point is approximately 3,450 with almost 20% of whom are age 65 or older. Last year, West Point ranked #10 out of 185 of the “Best Places to Retire in Virginia,” #3 out of 64 of the “Safest Places v to Live in Virginia; and #2 out of 33 of the “Safest Suburbs in Virginia;”
- Cave Spring, Virginia – located in Roanoke County, Virginia. Cave Spring covers most of the area known as “Southwest County” which has the more affluent suburbs of Roanoke, Virginia. Cave Spring is part of the Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population is approximately 25,500 with almost 16% seniors age 65 or older. Last year, Cave Spring ranked #14 out of 185 of the “Best Places to Retire in Virginia, #22 out of 209 of the “Best Places to Buy a House in Virginia,” and #78 out of 209 of the “Best Places to Live in Virginia.”