Living a good life and being as healthy as possible — that’s what we hope for our senior loved ones. Are they achieving that, though?
The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Is your senior thinking that to age in place successfully a new home in a new town may be a healthy change?
Did you know that some locations are healthier than others for seniors as they age?
A new report that assesses the health and well-being of older adults at a state level from America’s Health Rankings Senior Health 2013 analyzes four major aspects and how they interact to impact our senior’s health. Those studied were 65 years and older.
Four Aspects of State “Health”
- Our senior’s behaviors such as smoking, drinking, inactivity, overweight, underweight, and pain management
- The environment and community in which our seniors live, their homes and surroundings such as quality nursing homes, volunteerism, poverty, food insecurity and social support
- The policies and practices of health, public and private such as low quality nursing homes, shortage of geriatricians, and drug coverage
- The care our seniors receive including dental care, hospitalizations, vaccines, health screenings, diabetes management, home health care, hospice and health outcomes
Currently 80% of seniors are diagnosed with at least one chronic disease and 50% have two or more. The health needs of seniors are more costly than the younger population by nearly twice as much. It was determined that our seniors are living longer but with more preventable chronic diseases.
Healthiest States for Seniors
- Rhode Island
Healthiest states have a high rate of annual dental visits, a high percentage of volunteerism, a low percentage of marginal food insecurity, a high percentage of creditable drug coverage, and ready availability of home health care workers. Also there is a low rate of hospitalization for hip fractures, a high percentage of seniors who report very good or excellent health, a high prevalence of able-bodied seniors, a low premature death rate, a low prevalence of full-mouth tooth extractions, and few poor mental health days per month.
Un-Healthiest States for Seniors
- West Virginia
Pennsylvania, which is a leader in spending on its elder citizens, as money from its lottery is earmarked for senior care, ranked 17.
The 34 measures calculated to determine the rankings of each state included actions that can affect the future health of the population or what has already occurred either through death or disease. Each state must alter their calculations in order to receive designation as a healthier state.
According to the report, proven, effective, and innovative actions can improve the health of people in every state whether the state is ranked first or 50th.
America’s Health Rankings Senior Report 2013 is available in its entirety at Americas Health Rankings.
Family caregivers of senior adults need to be aware of the availability of adequate healthcare and advocate for our communities to make necessary improvements to become healthier. We also have to utilize the services that are available in order to help our senior loved ones age successfully.