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Best Cities for Successful Aging | Ames, IA
#3
OVERALL RANKING

Ames, IA


SCORE: 79.04

#2
FOR AGES 65-79
SCORE: 79.39
 
#5
FOR AGES 80+
SCORE: 77.32
 
Percent of Population 65+:  10.32%
Population 65+:  9,460
Total Population:  91,630

Indicator Rank Score Average
Score
Percent
+/-
General Livability 5 92.70 81.58 13.63 %
Health Care 43 59.05 50.15 17.75 %
Wellness 41 74.07 68.45 8.21 %
Financial 8 94.33 81.09 16.33 %
EducationEducation 1 100.00 71.18 68.80 %
Living ArrangementsArrange-
ments
131 71.75 71.18 0.80 %
Employment 79 55.76 51.56 8.15 %
Transportation/
Convenience
Transport-
ation
10 80.10 57.14 40.18 %
Community EngagementEngage-
ment
14 74.82 51.89 44.19 %
(Three-tier color code: 1-25 Green, 26-75 Black, 76+ Red)
Find out about the methodology used for these indicators

Nailed It


General livability

- Lowest unemployment rate of all small metros
- Smallest percentage of older adults in poverty
- Email them: high older-adult Internet usage
- Few car crashes per capita
- Many libraries, civic and religious groups

Cost-effective care

- Medicare-eligible adults mostly enrolled
- Lots of rehab centers and hospice care
- Affordable hospitals

Healthy bodies and lifestyles

- Getting physical: fitness centers galore
- Few smokers, low diabetes rates
- Many adults aging at home; many walkers and transit users

Needs Work


Livability features

- Relatively high cost of living; high income inequality
- Poor air quality
- Hold those fries: too much fast food
- Job seekers: employment for older adults lacking

Quality, diverse health care

- Lack of Joint Commission and magnet-hospital accreditations
- No five-star nursing homes; too few home health providers
- Limited primary care, physical therapy access

Takeaway


Improved health-care offerings pushed Ames up from sixth place in “Best Cities” 2014. Diverse cultural amenities, from libraries to civic groups, keep its educated older population engaged, and Iowa State University provides stable health and employment infrastructure. Add in its top ranking in education, and Ames is an all-around age-friendly place.

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General Indicators

Indicator Rank Score Average
Score
Cost of Living 192 41.86 49.09
Crime Rate 28 63.15 42.85
Employment Growth (2007-2012) 32 85.29 80.67
Unemployment Rate 1 100.00 46.80
Income Distribution 203 80.85 84.25
Weather 249 50.29 62.27
Fatal Car Crashes 13 56.93 29.38

Health-Care Indicators

Indicator Rank Score Average
Score
Number of Doctors 49 42.58 33.5
Number of hospital beds 93 32.41 29.37
% of Hospitals with JCAHO Accreditation 233 50.00 79.11
Number of Long-Term Hospitals 57 0.00 6.57
Number of Hospitals with Geriatric Services 37 44.83 21.44
% of Hospitals with Rehabilitation Services 11 59.77 25.8
Number of Hospitals with Alzheimer's units 36 0.00 4.68
Number of Hospitals with Hospice Services 14 57.09 15.09
% of Hospitals with Medical School Affiliation 177 0.00 26.60
% of Magnet Hospitals 64 0.00 6.27
Number of Orthopedic Surgeons 55 16.42 13.35
Number of nurses 79 27.93 24.78
Number of Physical Therapists 150 1.77 2.35
ER Wait Times 45 35.35 24.64
 

Wellness Indicators

Indicator Rank Score Average
Score
Obesity rate 66 49.96 46.33
Smoking rate 10 33.07 13.69
Diabetes rate 11 61.73 41.83
Binge drinking 255 11.71 20.32
Alzheimer's cases 268 44.97 74.78
Caregivers 28 55.35 39.11
Life expectancy at 65 20 84.65 76.89
Depression 89 51.88 49.3
Physical activity 47 47.28 39.05
Fitness and recreational sports centers 9 70.27 42.27
Fast-food outlets 141 34.26 35.09
Golf courses, ski resorts 131 14.98 17.69
Air quality 180 55.56 61.2

Financial Indicators

Indicator Rank Score Average
Score
Banks and financial institutions 169 50.61 53.83
Total bank deposits 35 1.30 1.37
Tax burden 164 67.92 70.55
Dependency ratio 2 96.64 61.29
Small business growth 44 85.22 81.17
Older adults below poverty line 1 100.00 29.07
Capital gains 215 22.39 31.31
Income growth 280 53.64 60.52
Reverse mortgages 47 42.41 27.26
 

Living Arrangements Indicators

Indicator Rank Score Average
Score
Median house price 185 40.10 46.02
Median rental price 155 69.13 70.18
Households with older adults 275 25.32 39.04
Nursing beds 51 71.07 49.76
Cost of semiprivate nursing room 42 80.00 70.35
Home health-care service providers 272 1.92 14.31
Continuing-care facilities 49 23.40 14.8
Cost of assisted living 116 72.14 71.61
Nursing-home rating 229 0.00 22.29
Older adults in family homes 59 86.10 82.84
Cost of adult day services 57 58.33 55.7

Employment/Education Indicators

Indicator Rank Score Average
Score
Percent of 65+ employed 67 63.55 56.23
65+ unemployment Rate 64 37.76 31.34
Employment growth 66 46.80 44.29
Output of service sector/manufacturing 166 4.66 9.94
 

Transportation/Convenience Indicators

Indicator Rank Score Average
Score
Average commute time to work 26 84.53 71.39
Number of Passenger Trips 2 55.42 11.53
Investment in Public/Senior Transportation 212 30.87 64.25
% of commuters who walk to work 11 45.53 17.90
Number of Grocery, etc. 113 45.67 55.19
% of Seniors near grocery 84.52
Walk score 82 49.38 xx.52

Community Engagement Indicators

Indicator Rank Score Average
Score
Percent of population 65+ 262 19.86 39.94
Number of arts, entertainment, and recreation facilities 53 24.40 18.61
Senior volunteer rates 34 71.55 63.01
Number of public libraries 5 74.62 25.07
Number of civic and religious organizations 8 91.30 12.40
Funding for older adults 18 32.45 25.37
 

Education Indicators

Indicator Rank Score Average
Score
Educational attainment 2 99.79 85.93
College enrollment 1 100.00 26.46