Milford, Seward listed among best towns for retirees in Nebraska


World Atlas named Seward and Milford in its list of eight top-ranked Nebraska towns for retirees on April 5. Kearney, Gretna, David City, McCook, Holdredge and Papillon also made the list.

World Atlas described Milford as sweet, small, calm and conveniently located near Interstate 80.

“Once in a while, you will want to relax in a rustic cabin at the West Fork Acres, and let the cares of everyday life melt away. As occasion permits, a brisk walk at the Blue River State Recreation Area will come in handy,” World Atlas said.

The publication cited Bottle Rocket Brewing Company, the National Guard Museum and more as attractive spots in Seward.

“With its quaint, historic downtown, the picturesque, seven-mile-away Junto Wine, and a Lutheran university that is more than a century old, retirement in Seward is like a renewal of life,” World Atlas said.

Both towns have assisted living facilities, which allow the older population to stay close to home as they transition to higher levels of care. Seward County Chamber and Deveopment Partnership President and CEO Jonathan Jank said Seward County has independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing care and memory care facilities.

Memorial Health Care Systems has clinics in Seward, Milford and Utica and has been repeatedly ranked as a top 100 critical access hospital in the United States. Seward and Milford also have excellent dentists, physical therapists, chiropractors and more, Jank said.

Jank said both towns also have senior centers that have excellent directors and do a great job creating community and fellowship. They offer services including exercise classes, activities, meals and shuttles within the county.

“The meal is important, but the socialization of eating the meal is almost as important as the actual nutritional value of the meal,” Seward Senior Center director Katrina Goldsmith said.

Jank said he has always been impressed with the sense of volunteerism across various civic and religious organizations in Seward and Milford. Seward has an active Rotary Club, and both towns have very active Kiwanis Clubs. 

“The joke I say is that we have three times as many churches as bars in the county, and, by numbers it is technically true,” he said.

A Wellness Center is in the works in Seward, and it will feature an indoor pool, walking track, basketball court and more. Seward Mayor Josh Eickmeier said it will be a great place for seniors to exercise safely and/or rehabilitate from an injury. 

The towns also boast amenities that may be attractive to a wide age group, including seniors. For example, they each have a pool, golf course, library, coffee shops and team sports courts. Seward also has a movie theater.

“(Amenities) are way to keep people of all ages active in the community, and that’s something that means a lot to me because I want Seward to be a vibrant community where people of all ages feel welcome and are able to live, work, explore and have fun,” Eickmeier said.

Jank said it is not uncommon for people to move away from Seward County as young adults and then return when they get older, as the area is especially attractive to young families and older adults. This is especially common for Concordia University graduates, he said. When they return, they are reminded of fond memories and rekindle past connections.

Higher learning institutions are also great places for seniors to engage in community activities including music, theater and sports. Additionally, older adults can keep their minds sharp and engaged by auditing classes at Southeast Community College in Milford.

Jank said Seward and Milford have each cultivated diverse local business economies that allow their residents to get everything they need right there. So, they get the benefits of a small town without sacrificing their easy access to goods, services and amenities. 

“We're a rural place, so it's tight-knit with relationships and it's safe, but you also have those amenities that you would need to be able to be successful in retirement,” he said.

Many local seniors have lived in the area their entire lives, and these amenities allow them to stay in a place they are familiar with and be surrounded by friends and family.

Jank said he believes Seward County residents understand the importance of caring for their neighbors and supporting people at every age. 

“I think older adults are just a rich part of the community, and to have older adults that can share their experiences is just key to us maintaining our culture and that sort of generational mix,” he said. “What a gift that is to have older adults that have those experiences and that have the history and the knowledge of the history of our town and of our county, and are able to share that.”