by Elena Bittinger
Retirement … It’s such a captivating thought when you’re young, but what happens when the years pass by, and you learn what retiring really means? It’s daunting, isn’t it?
Questions based on three aspects of fear begin to form, explains Oliver Hazan, Vice President of Sales and Marketing from Cross Keys Village Brethren Community Home:
Can I/we afford and maintain our home?
How is my/our health?
What kind of social activity can I/we participate in now that
work is over, family isn’t around, and friends aren’t near?
As these concerns race through the aging mind, it’s difficult to understand the growing world around you and what benefits are readily available.
In Pennsylvania, however, those worries are minimal. Persons 65 and older make up 17.8 percent of Pennsylvania’s population. The percentage in Adams County is 19.7 percent and 17.1 percent in York County.
Ranked as a low-sales-tax state at 6 percent, Pennsylvania also has a few extra features on why retiring here is more attractive than other states.
No tax on retirement income
In Pennsylvania, taxes are exempt from retiree’s Social Security, pensions, 401(k)s, and IRAs.
Pennsylvania has a multitude of healthcare facilities available, such as Penn State/Hershey Medical, Penn Medicine, and UPMC, so receiving the care retirees require is accessible. Also, if a Pennsylvania resident decides to retire to a community home, like Cross Keys Village, Oliver says, they have “excellent accommodations – the best. We have specialists here, and we have more resources then most.”
Those resources can consist of personal care (assisted independent living), health care (round-the-clock care), rehabilitation care (various physical and mental therapies), and memory care.
“One out three Americans will die in a state of dementia,” says Oliver. If you have signs of dementia, “consider retirement communities with a strong memory care element.” This way, memory support can be applied appropriately and comfortably. Oliver says, “People come from far away to come to our memory care program.”
In Pennsylvania only, retirees win the lottery, too, where “all proceeds benefit ages 65 and over,” says Linda Thompson, Community Services Director from Adams County Office for Aging. She explains that the lottery funds many programs.
• Property Tax & Rent Rebate Pennsylvania retirees may receive a rebate up to $650, which varies on income and amount of rent or property taxes they have paid.
• PACE is “prescription assistance,” Linda says. Retirees won’t have to worry that they won’t receive their prescriptions. PACE provides a co-pay of $6.00 for generic medicines and $9.00 for brand names. To qualify, retirees must be 65 and over and must make less than $14,500 the previous year as a single person and or less than 17,700 as a married couple.
• PACENET provides further assistance in raising income eligibility so that more people can have access to affordable medications. For a single person, income must be between $14,500 – $23,500 the previous year, while a married couple income must be between $17,700 – 31,500. With PACENET, enrollment into the program is required. Also, a deductible fee is required of $40 per month. Afterward, co-pay for generic medications is $8 and $15 for brand names.
• Reduced PA Driver Registration instead of paying $35 for vehicle registration, retirees pay $10. To qualify, retirees receiving retirement income can’t exceed $19,200 annually.
• Transportation “The lottery pays 85 percent of the cost of transportation – about two-thirds of all aging services in PA are covered,” says Linda. She explains, though, some agencies that provide assistance, like Adams County Office for Aging, will pay the remaining 15 percent if the trips are necessary, such as grocery shopping, doctor appointments, pharmacies, and banks. She says, “Our mission is to support people in their homes and communities for as long as possible.”
Retirees want to slow down and enjoy their golden years, so moving to Pennsylvania from a busy city offers experiences they can appreciate, like the four-season weather change.
Historic sites, such as Gettysburg, presents an entire town of American history, where they can take their time and learn everything they’d like to know about the Civil War, tour the battlefield, and visit the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum.
If a slower pace than Gettysburg is desired, visit Amish country in Lancaster, where a community of people live for their core beliefs and loved ones over modern accessories. It is a phenomenon worth seeing.
The Poconos, known for its mountains, has activity-based participation available, and if mobility is no problem, hiking, camping, and other adventures are available to engage in, including romantic retreats.
In addition to these many features found in Pennsylvania, lastly, land is cheaper, more space is available, and non-profit, faith-based communities are greater, Oliver shares.
“This region is privileged – very rich in non-profit communities,” he says. “It is important that the place be non-profit because non-profit means that there is a charitable element.” An element that goes back to retiree’s health and care.
“The faith component, of a faith-based community, can be just a little accessory on the side or it can be very much of the core of the community’s values,” but most retirees gravitate toward a faith-based community. Not only does it offer peace of mind, but it also offers them a home they can feel comfortable in, a healthy spirit they can believe in, and a chance to socially connect with others alike.