City, services draw retirees

City, services draw retirees

March 25th, 2012 by Mariann Martin in Chattanooganow2012

Eighty-five-year-old computer instructor Bill Nichols, top, helps Ronnie Rodgers during computer class at the Alexian Brothers Senior Neighbors building in downtown Chattanooga in this file photo.

Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

With its mix of outdoor attractions, small city life and affordable living, Chattanooga has become known as a retirement mecca.

Magazines such as Money, U.S. News & World Report and Retirement Lifestyles have listed the Scenic City as one of the top retirement towns and most affordable places to live.

"People look for ways to meet people that share their interests and the more retired people who live here, the more will want to come here," said Collen Combs, executive director for Alexian Brothers Senior Neighbors.

Alexian Brothers Senior Ministries manages numerous retirement homes and groups in Chattanooga ranging from residential homes to assisted living to in-home care.

Senior Neighbors focuses on bringing opportunities to older adults that keep them active and engaged, Combs said.

They connect senior volunteers with local nonprofits and host a senior Olympics every year.

The agency also provides employment training for older adults who are trying to return to the workforce.

Chattanooga offers a Senior Care Network at www.chattanooga seniorcare.com that provides resources for seniors such as community resources, financial resources, health care, in-home services and residential communities.

Another local organization, Choose Chattanooga, a nonprofit promotional and relocation agency, helps seniors who decide to relocate to Chattanooga.

Chattanooga is among 11 cities designated as the best retirement communities by the Retire Tennessee program and is the largest city in Tennessee with that designation.

Ramay Winchester, program director for Retire Tennessee, said retirees moving from bigger cities enjoy the small-town feel of Chattanooga.

"They love the East Tennessee mountains and the livability of downtown Chattanooga," Winchester said.