5 Top States For Senior Health – Sorry, Florida!

Where does your state rank? A new report lists the healthiest states for older people

| Great news for Utah; Florida, no so much

(Patrick J. Kiger, AARP) A new study on the health of Americans age 65 and older finds that those in rural areas generally have poorer health outcomes than their counterparts in urban and suburban areas.

The United Health Foundation’s annual America’s Health Rankings Senior Report found that 36 percent of rural-dwelling older adults consider their health to be good or excellent, compared with 42 percent in suburban areas and 41 percent in cities.

The report also revealed that the risk of social isolation is highest in Mississippi, Louisiana and other parts of the South and Appalachian regions. Older residents face the lowest risk of isolation in Utah and New Hampshire.

The report ranked Utah as the healthiest state for older people, followed by Hawaii, New Hampshire, Minnesota and Colorado. Read the full story at AARP.

Florida ranked #32. Here’s the full list: 

  1. Utah
  2. Hawaii
  3. New Hampshire
  4. Minnesota
  5. Colorado
  6. Connecticut
  7. Massachusetts
  8. Rhode Island
  9. Maryland
  10. Iowa
  11. Delaware
  12. Wisconsin
  13. Vermont
  14. Maine
  15. Oregon
  16. Washington
  17. Pennsylvania
  18. New York
  19. North Dakota
  20. California
  21. South Dakota
  22. Alaska
  23. New Jersey
  24. Virginia
  25. Nebraska
  26. Michigan
  27. Idaho
  28. Montana
  29. Kansas
  30. Wyoming
  31. Arizona
  32. Florida
  33. North Carolina
  34. Ohio
  35. Nevada
  36. Missouri
  37. South Carolina
  38. Illinois
  39. Indiana
  40. New Mexico
  41. Texas
  42. Alabama
  43. Georgia
  44. Tennessee
  45. West Virginia
  46. Oklahoma
  47. Arkansas
  48. Kentucky
  49. Mississippi
  50. Louisiana

Source: America’s Health Rankings® Senior Report

America’s Health Rankings® and America’s Health Rankings® Senior Report

United Health Foundation

Overview

According to the United States Census Bureau, adults aged 65 and older now comprise more than 15 percent of the total population.

By 2030, that number will climb significantly to 20 percent. The growing number of seniors and the corresponding projected growth in the use of clinical and community services will only deepen their impact on the overall health status of the nation.

As community leaders, policymakers and public health professionals prepare to address these population shifts, America’s Health Rankings® offers a suite of readily available health data to help inform important decisions and community health efforts.

The 2018 America’s Health Rankings Senior Report provides the latest check-up on the health and well-being of our nation’s seniors.

Using 34 measures of senior health, the report highlights successes and challenges this population faces on a national and state-by-state basis.

This year’s report highlights two supplemental measures — the suicide rate among seniors as well as a new measure to identify locations where seniors are at higher risk of social isolation.

Senior Report Spotlight Highlights

Risk of Social Isolation Associated with Poor Health

With the senior population projected to grow rapidly over the next several decades, the impact of seniors’ health and aging on their quality of life is an expanding area of interest.

Because of the association between social isolation and increased mortality, poor health status and greater use of healthcare resources, America’s Health Rankings Senior Report now includes a measure that evaluates the key risk factors for social isolation as identified by the AARP Foundation Isolation Framework Project.

America’s Health Rankings developed a new measure comprised of six factors to identify locations where adults aged 65 and older are at higher risk of social isolation.

The new measure includes the following risk factors: divorce, separation or widowhood, as well as seniors who never married, are living in poverty, have a disability, have difficulty living independently and live alone.

The analysis found social isolation risk among seniors is highest in Mississippi and Louisiana with a concentrated area of high risk from the mid-Southern region through the Appalachian Mountain states.

Seniors have the lowest risk of social isolation in Utah and New Hampshire.

Overall, seniors in states that are ranked healthier have a lower risk of social isolation than seniors living in states that face greater health challenges.

While risk of social isolation varies across states, large variation also occurs within states by county.

The new measure identifies variation across the six risk factors of social isolation by comparing the top 20 percent of counties with the bottom 20 percent of counties in each state.

Colorado has the largest variation, while the smallest variation exists in Iowa and Vermont. Read the complete Executive Summary here. 

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