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February 27, 2018

Top 20 Cities for LGBT-Friendly Retirement in 2018

Senior Advice
By Yvonne Feltman
Retirement can be an exciting time for seniors to explore the opportunity to dwell in a new vibrant city or a sleepy suburb of their choice. Factors such as weather, location, cost of living, healthcare options, senior living facilities, activities and culture can be a lot to consider when planning where to spend the golden years.

Between 2010 and 2050, the United States is projected to experience rapid growth in its older population. Over the next four decades, the number of Americans aged 65 and older is projected to double from 40 million in 2010 to over 88 million in 2050. Baby Boomers are largely responsible for this increase in the senior population, as they began turning 65 in 2011.

The growing senior population includes a demographic often difficult to calculate: seniors who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgendered (LGBT). Older members of the LGBT community have to be even more selective about choosing where to retire. Not all cities in the US are welcoming to those living "non-traditional" lifestyles.

According to the national nonprofit Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders (SAGE), today there are 3 million LGBT people age 55+ living in the United States. With that number increasing each year, the need to discover locations that are welcoming to LGBT elders also increases.

Here are the best cities in America for LGBT seniors in 2018:

1. Fort Lauderdale, FL

There is a reason the senior population is nearly 20 percent in the state of Florida: the mild year-round climate. Fort Lauderdale is the 10th largest city in Florida and along with its warm weather, it offers a warm welcome for those in the LGBT community. Wilton Manors, a community of 12,000 bordering Fort Lauderdale, has a 14 percent per capita LGBT population. The area has many gay-friendly businesses, bars and restaurants.

Fort Lauderdale has several city parks, gay-specific beaches, resorts and over 130 area golf courses. Celebrating 25 years of service, Pride Center Florida was established in the city to meet the distinct health, social, educational, socio-economic and safety needs of the LGBTQ community and its allies.

In Florida there is no state income tax and Fort Lauderdale has very low assisted living and home healthcare costs compared to national averages. Seniors make up just over 15 percent of the city's population.

2. Austin, TX

With a LGBT population of just over 5 percent, it is no wonder that this Capital city in the middle of Texas made our list again. With its welcoming attitude, low-crime rate, warm weather, abundance of restaurants, arts and culture activities, nature trails and gay-owned businesses, Austin is a gem for LGBT seniors.

Austin drives progressive policies and ongoing advocacy for the LGBT community, and there is a strong support network for gays living in Austin. With a huge number of attendees to the annual gay pride festival and parade, Austin clearly celebrates the LGBT community. To empower and strengthen LGBT businesses and offer advocacy, connections and education programs, the Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce, was formed in 1997.

The overall cost of living in Austin is average compared to the national US average and Texas has no state income tax which is an attractive perk for seniors. Austin has a high number of Medicare registered doctors in the city, 20 hospitals and over 100 senior living facilities in close proximity to the area.

3. Atlanta, GA

The senior population in Atlanta is just under 10 percent and the general LGBT population there is just over 4 percent in the metro area. The city has one of the highest LGBT populations in the south. An annual LGBT pride festival draws roughly 200,000 people. Several Atlanta neighborhoods have businesses that market heavily to the LGBT community. Offering support for these and future businesses is the Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

Atlanta is a diverse city with rich cultural and art influences. With relatively short and mild winters and stellar quality healthcare like the Emory University Hospital System and other health facilities, Atlanta is a great place for seniors to call home.

There are over 200 senior living facilities in the Atlanta vicinity. Costs for senior living facilities in Atlanta are all below the national average. The cost of living in Atlanta is average compared to other cities in the US.

4. Portland, OR

The LGBT population in Portland is about 5.5 percent, making it one of the largest per capita in the country for individuals identifying as LGBT. Portland is known for its excellent and inexpensive public transit which can be used to travel to its many gay-friendly neighborhoods. The Burnside Triangle near downtown is known for its abundance of restaurants, nightlife and boutiques catering to the LGBT community.

The Oregon Equality Act prohibiting discrimination for those identifying as LGBT became effective in 2008, but Portland has long been one of the most progressive cities in the US when it comes to legislation supporting gays. SAGE Metro Portland has developed several initiatives including a program designed to assist senior housing providers in reaching their goals of having an attractive housing option for the growing LGBT senior community.

With a wealth of senior living facilities in close proximity, no weather extremes and a plethora of nature trails, golf courses and parks in the area, Portland proves to be a smart choice for the LGBT population. Check out the Rainbow Vista LGBT Senior Community nearby.

5. Palm Springs, CA

With the cost of living above the national average, Palm Springs is still a great alternative to San Francisco for those LGBT seniors who seek a more financially reasonable California city to call home. A diverse west coast city, it boasts a vibrant gay community and people from all kinds of religious, ethnic, liberal and conservative backgrounds.

Harboring a relaxed vibe in this highly walkable city, with its mild weather, beaches, golf courses and abundance of outdoor leisure, Palm Springs is an active playground for LGBT residents and tourists alike. Palm Springs ranks third among the top cities nationally with the highest number of same-sex couples per 1,000 people, according to census data from the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law.

In December of 2017, Palm Springs made history by becoming the only city in the US with an entirely LGBT city council. Coupled with its gay-friendliness and being one of the most senior-dense cities in the US, Palm Springs is a good destination to spend the post-retirement years.

Those in need of full service care will find Stonewall Gardens, a luxury assisted living facility that provides support and dignity for LGBT seniors in Palm Springs.

To see the entire Top 20, go to the article on SeniorAdvice. >>

Read the original article online here.

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