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Sioux Falls Ranks High for Livability with Older South Dakotans

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Sioux Falls gets high marks for livability from its residents over age 50 in a new survey. (Wikimedia Commons)
Sioux Falls gets high marks for livability from its residents over age 50 in a new survey. (Wikimedia Commons)
October 17, 2016

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A new survey shows that older residents of Sioux Falls find it a desirable place to live, and they want to stay in their homes as long as possible.

In the survey, sponsored by AARP South Dakota, 81 percent of respondents - all age 50 or older - said they own their homes, and 38 percent have lived in those homes for more than 30 years. In addition, 92 percent rated Sioux Falls as an 'excellent,' 'very good,' or 'good' place to live as they age.

According to Erik Gaikowski, state director at AARP South Dakota, the survey showed the importance of community.

"Our members like to stay in place, but they also like to be in social realms,” Gaikowski said. "They like to be places where they've got good, quality access to health care, they've got reliable transportation, but there's also strong community support around them."

The survey indicated that almost 90 percent of those over 50 plan to stay in their homes and communities as they age.

The survey results weren't all glowing, however. Sioux Falls residents gave low marks for the availability of affordable home-care services. Gaikowski said that's an area that needs attention.

"There's going to be a challenge of making sure we've got enough people to cover those,” he said; “improving our care-giving resources, really looking at ways to use some of the things that we already provide to our folks that are still in their homes, and just better ways to coordinate that care."

Gaikowski said the survey results can be extended to other cities and communities in the state to help provide services to their residents as well.

“Really looking at ways for the cities to understand what's important to their community residents,” he said, "whether it's health care, whether it's social participation, whether it's transportation, outdoor spaces - things like that."

The survey also placed a strong emphasis on streets and roads, to allow residents more access to safe walking and biking options, Gaikowski said.

Jerry Oster, Public News Service - SD