Eureka named top city for seniors: Population, art community cited as factors

Eureka was named one of the "13 Best Cities for Swingin' Seniors" by Estately, a national online real estate search site, this week.

Estately writer Hanna Olsen said she was looking for cities off the beaten path.

"We like to highlight places that are outside the traditional lists," Olsen said. "A lot of places name off locations people have already heard of and will go to."

To compile the list, Olsen said she considered cost of living, the population of people over the age of 55 or 65, things to do, arts and cultural centers, ease of parking, number of services and number of doctors.

"Eureka was kind of a good fit in a couple of different ways," Olsen said. "It had a really large population of people over the age of 55, it had a pretty decent general split among seniors, which is not very common, ladies tend to outnumber men a lot.

"There's a great retail center which is important, I also learned Eureka has the region's only Costco, which is good because most seniors are on a fixed income," Olsen added.

Eureka resident Judy Geppert said she agrees the city has a lot to offer seniors.

"Overall, I think this is a good place," said Geppert, a member of the Senior Action Coalition. "I think everybody who lives here ... we generally stay here because there's a lot of services for seniors."

Activities such as local art walks, cooking and exercise classes, and health insurance counseling are available. Geppert also said access to good medical care, the mild climate and proximity to fellow community members are a plus.

Coalition member Kay Escarda said it is an honor to be recognized, but there is more work to be done.

"I don't think we can rest on our laurels," Escarda said. "We have to continue to make sure people are taken care of and plan for the future, because seniors are really expanding numerically quite rapidly."

While it can be hard to measure whether recognition like this results in an increase in tourism or business, Eureka Main Street Executive Director Charlotte McDonald said when a city is named as a top place to visit or live, it entices people to explore and do more research.

"With websites being so accessible, it would more than likely advance the visitor opportunities," she said.

When Olsen visited the county seat, she said she found Eureka to be a friendly place.

"It just seemed like a very pleasant place to spend one's twilight years," she said.

Lorna Rodriguez can be reached at 441-0506 or Follow her on Twitter @LornaARodriguez.