The inaugural Fortune 25 Best Places to Live for Families featured Home Instead, Inc. research on the sandwich generation – those individuals raising children under the age of 18 while also shouldering the responsibility of regularly caring for aging parents.
Nearly half of Americans fall into this category and are the inspiration for the list. The new best-places list takes into account Americans’ new reality: that access to quality health care, good schools and senior living options are top priorities.
The Home Instead survey provides reference for the new best-places list and highlights the importance of proximity for these services. Key findings include:
- A majority (62%) of the “sandwich generation” say they feel like they have to choose between being a good parent and being a good son or daughter.
- More than six in 10 family caregivers report they regularly run errands, provide transportation, monitor health conditions, and cook and clean for their parents.
- Almost half of “sandwich generation” caregivers act as an advocate for their aging loved one with healthcare providers.
- And over half help to manage medications and medical appointments.
Where to Live
When deciding on a home base, the “sandwich generation” must weigh all of these factors.
The Fortune list found that where you live can make all the difference in managing caregiver roles, by finding neighborhoods with a better mix of amenities that promote well-being and work-life balance.
Fortune analyzed nearly 2,000 cities and towns across the U.S., and found that communities in the Midwest, West, and mid-Atlantic were more likely to offer better access to quality hospitals and doctors, solid public schools, and support for older residents, than in the Southeast. These areas were also more affordable than major metros like New York and San Francisco.
So what city topped the list? Ann Arbor, Michigan, a midsize community that is home to top-ranked University of Michigan, took the number one spot. The city has stellar education with the vast majority of the district’s K-12 schools ranking above average. The proximity to the university also offers a big wellness benefit, with the University of Michigan’s health system and academic medical center earning top marks for patient safety since 2012—one of only 23 U.S. hospitals to do so.
The following three on the list are also smaller midwestern communities close to larger cities: Wylie, Texas; Olathe, Kansas; and Mason, Ohio. For comprehensive resources on issues facing the “sandwich generation, click here.