A new study ranks Hillsboro as one of the top 10 places in Ohio for retirees to live, based upon “the most recreational and social opportunities for retirees.”
The survey, conducted by the financial technology company SmartAsset, ranked Hillsboro at number 10 in that category.
Nancy Avedisian is a member of the Highland County Senior Citizens and said she wasn’t surprised by the survey’s findings.
“I have no reason to move and go someplace else,” she said. “I’m content here. I’m a ‘nester,’ I’ve got my nest made and we’ve lived here 42 years.”
Family ties and deep friendships made over the years are other reasons Avedisian gives for staying in the familiar confines of Hillsboro.
The smiling face behind the desk at the senior citizens center belongs to Judy Stevens, and she agrees that Hillsboro is not only a nice place to live, but a great place to call home once a person retires.
“I can vouch for what Nancy said since I’ve lived here all of my life,” she said. “I was born in Montgomery County, then we moved to Hillsboro when I was 3 years old, and I’ve been here ever since.”
Stevens added one thing that makes the local senior citizens center unique is that it’s a non-profit enterprise, and therefore doesn’t take state or federal funds.
“We’re the only non-profit one in the state of Ohio,” she noted, “which is good since we can do or say whatever we want and not have the government telling us what to do.”
In Stevens’ opinion, the reason Hillsboro placed so high in the survey has to do with the city’s history and culture.
“I lived and grew up here back in the 1950s,” she said. “And Hillsboro back then was a lovely little town with lots of mature trees no matter which way you came into town, and it had all these little stores and shops — just a nice place to grow up in.”
Companionship, activity and things for seniors to do are what the senior citizens center is all about, according to Stevens. “Turn off that TV, get out of that recliner and come down to the Highland County Senior Citizens Center,” she said.
Debbie Vance, membership supervisor and office manager for the Highland County YMCA, offered the same advice.
“We’re very senior friendly,” she said, pointing out the YMCA has group exercise classes, a fitness center, indoor walking track and much more in the line of “low impact” activity.
One program the YMCA offers is called “Silver Sneakers,” a low impact activity geared to seniors that is sponsored by various insurance companies.
“Some insurance companies will provide their members a free Y membership for Silver Sneaker certified classes,” she said. “And the end benefit is it gets those seniors up and moving, gives them an excuse to get out of the house, and lets them build friendships and a social life.”
Kristie Finnegan handles member services at the YMCA, and said the key for retirees is to stay active and involved.
“You’ve got to keep moving, and that’s what we try to relate to everyone here,” she said. “Whether they come here or to the senior citizens center or go out to Rocky Fork Lake, it’s easier to stay motivated and active when you have somebody else to do things with.”
SmartAsset’s study found that overall, many of the best places to retire in Ohio are found in the northeastern part of the state, based upon taxes, available medical care, and recreation and social centers.
Milford, in Clermont County, was the only nearby besides Hillsboro city that consistently placed in the top 10 when factors like senior-friendly taxes, doctor’s offices per 1,000 people, proximity to major hospitals, and overall percentage of retirees in the population was considered.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571