Survey ranks Grass Valley second-best for senior living |

Survey ranks Grass Valley second-best for senior living

Members of the Nevada County Walkers, Joanne Witte, left, and Chirs Olson enjoy their walk through Empire Mine Tuesday morning.
Laura Mahaffy/ | The Union

Robert Bogam’s connection with Grass Valley goes way back. The 72-year-old native of Kansas got a sneak peek of the city 30 years ago when he helped a friend relocate to Sacramento. Bogam came back to the area in July, this time for a longer stay.

“A lot of it have to do with the access to outdoor activities and places to go, the biking, the outdoor and the trail,” said Bogam, who took up retirement in the city after an extensive career in Berkeley as a graphic designer.

While the nation’s popular retirement spots remain concentrated in Florida, Grass Valley earned a nod recently from a New York financial technology research firm, seizing a second-place title for the social activities and retirement centers it offers to senior citizens, trailing only behind Sonoma.

“Retirement presents a chance for many Americans to meet new people and create new experiences, and according to a new study, Grass Valley is among the best places to do it in California,” said Steve Sabato, a spokesperson for SmartAsset, the company that conducted the survey.

“Retirement presents a chance for many Americans to meet new people and create new experiences, and according to a new study, Grass Valley is among the best places to do it in California.”Steve Sabatoa spokesperson for SmartAsset

The same study also placed Grass Valley as the seventh best place to retire in the state.

The researchers compared the numbers of recreational centers, retirement services and doctors per 1,000 residents in cities in California, According to the company, 22 percent of Grass Valley residents are seniors, compares to 11.4 percent in California and 13.2 percent in the nation.

There are 6.2 doctor’s offices per 1,000 residents, much higher than the California and the national average of 1.2. Grass Valley also outpaces the state and the national average in terms of the numbers of recreational and retirement centers.

“Any time our community gets a positive light cast upon it is a good thing,” said Grass Valley Mayor Jason Fouyer. “It’s not just the city, it’s the areas around it, We have wonderful walking trails. We also have nonprofits and businesses that provide community services…..just a variety of activities that make it a beautiful place to live for seniors.”

“They are attracted by the beautiful forest, and the opportunities for them to live an active lifestyle,” said Sandy “Jake” Jacobson, executive director for Gold Country Community Services, an organization which coordinates community events to assist seniors. “Many residents come up and visit friends, and they know how active they can be here,” said Jacobson. “Most people don’t want to retire and wither away. Grass Valley offers them an opportunity to retire and live an active life.”

Chris Olson, a 62-year-old chemist who retired to Lake Wildwood from the Bay Area five years ago, said the lower expenses and the proximity to friends are why he chose to move here.

“I took an early retirement deal and started to look for places to move to. I came up here because my best friend since first grade moved here. I came up to visit him and we drove around, and I said this place looks very nice. So I cashed my house in the Bay Area and bought another house here, and I still have money left in the bank. ”

Olson is part of Nevada County Walkers, a Meetup group started by Mary Cahill in 2010 that currently has 1,191 members.

Jacobson said senior housing, food, medical needs, closeness to town are all important factors for seniors to consider when selecting a place to retire.

“They don’t come initially here for the social services,” said Jacobson, “but that’s what keeps them here.”

To contact Teresa Yinmeng Liu, email or call 530-477-4236.

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