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Naples, among USA’s best for senior health

Phil Fernandez, Naples Daily News | June 28, 2021

Naples has received yet another honor the growth and development sectors will welcome.

This time, the Collier County metro area landed fifth among the best for senior health in the country.

The Sebastian-Vero Beach region of Indian River County finished second, and The Villages, spread out over three north Central Florida counties, earned the sixth slot. Número Uno: Truckee, California.

The Mesothelioma Center, based in Orlando, looked at the ratio of older residents to the total population, average retirement income, life expectancy, poverty rates, Medicare enrollment and quantities of senior living centers and cancer doctors.

“Our list of the country’s best cities for senior health clarifies 10 ideal locales for older adults to find an idyllic lifestyle,” said Walter Pacheco, managing editor at the advocacy organization of legal and medical workers. “As the results show, the sunshine and beach access Florida offers makes it a popular choice for seniors with three cities making the top 10.”

Spokeswoman Laura Kutch pointed out Thursday how the research intersected with the best beach towns news In the Know first detailed for you about a dozen days ago.

Naples had topped the WalletHub analysis, and Vero Beach grabbed the 12th spot. Traverse City, Michigan, which had the highest slot among lake communities in that tally, picked up third in the senior review.

And all that makes some sense.

“Living near miles of beaches (can be) good for senior health,” the report said. “Coastal areas are linked to having better mental health.”

The gulf breezes aren’t the only pluses.

“Aside from being another beach city, Naples is one of the top-rated cities in the nation for air quality, according to the American Lung Association — which is an important factor for seniors with underlying lung health conditions,” the group found.

In its newly released “State of the Air” 2021 findings, the association gave Collier an A grade for not having high ozone days, which are linked to pollution emissions. From 2003 to 2005, the county had been above the national average, but it steadily dropped since then, hitting the zero mark a decade ago and holding there through 2019, the most recent recorded.

Lee, Sarasota and Pinellas counties received a B, Manatee a C and Hillsborough a state-worst F among fellow Southwest Florida coast regions. It didn’t have monitoring data for Charlotte. Hendry and DeSoto counties.

Collier has a lot more going for it.

“Home to 117,197 seniors, Naples has the highest average retirement income and is one of the cities with the highest average life expectancy of 82 years of age,” the senior study noted.

Collier matches Indian River at 32% of its population 65 and over for second in the Top 10. The county surpasses the 70,918 total in The Villages, where it is 57%, the highest in the U.S.

Leading the Top 10, Collier’s life expectancy of 82 beats the 78 for the Peninsula, the nation and the counties of Hendry, DeSoto, Pinellas and Hillsborough.

Lee, Charlotte and Manatee inhabitants survive to 79, and those living in Sarasota and Indian River just make it to octogenarian, barely out of septuagenarian level, according to the U.S. Census and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The average retirement income of $48,633 provides Naples retirees more than $10,000 annually than those in Vero Beach and Truckee, which also were near the top of the list.

The senior probe also rated Collier high for its quality level of numerous adult hospital procedures and conditions including those for colon cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

“Naples’ rank as No. 5 on our list reflects a relaxing beachside community where seniors can peacefully live out their lives surrounded with top-rated air quality and premier medical care,” Pacheco said Friday. “Proximity to hospitals and quality doctors is a critical concern for seniors with serious health conditions, such as mesothelioma and other cancers, which is why we made it a focus of our study.”

Collier has a track record for this kind of recognition.

In 2016, Kiplinger magazine named it as one of a dozen “Great Places to Retire for Your Good Health.”

The Naples-Marco Island metropolitan area has ranked No. 1 in the last four renditions of the annual Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, based on dwellers’ views about health, financial security, community and sense of purpose.

Not that other parts of the Sunshine State were left off near the top of the most recent one: Cape Coral-Fort Myers, sixth; North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, ninth; and Port St. Lucie, 11th.

Other Naples accolades include:

In addition to WalletHub earlier this month, Travel + Leisure magazine wrote in April that the Southwest Florida city was the top U.S. beach town to reside. And WalletHub also put Naples at No. 1 in 2019.

Last summer, a report generated by Resonance Consultancy, a specialist in the destination-branding industry, ranked the community No. 2 on its 2020 list of Best Small Cities.

Collier tourist director Jack Wert has told me the county welcomes the well-earned praise.

“The more awards we receive, the more people become convinced that Collier County is the place to eventually settle down in,” Wert said recently. “That grows our economy and jobs and support the many amenities we offer that many other communities our size do not have. Visitors support the large number of restaurants, our three performing arts venues, our array of unique shops and attractions and our many outdoor activities.”

Here is The Mesothelioma Center’s top 10, which can be found at

1. Truckee, California
2. Sebastian-Vero Beach
3. Traverse City, Michigan
4. Ocean City, New Jersey
5. Naples
6. The Villages
7. St. George, Utah
8. Barnstable, Massachusetts
9. Pinehurst, North Carolina
10. Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin


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