Middle of the pack. Actually, a shade on the wrong side of the middle of the pack. That’s how the latest national report ranks our state when it comes to the senior health. Arizona checked in at number 31 overall.
Arizona fell eight points in this year’s senior report from America’s Health Ranking, tying with Florida at No. 31 in the country for the states with the healthiest seniors.
The report looked at 34 different measures, including individual behavior, community wellness and how prepared a city is to care for the elderly.
Although Arizona ranked 31st in the report, it ranked number one in hospice care and succeeded in prescription drug coverage. More than 87 percent of seniors who live in Arizona have prescription drug coverage.
According to the KTAR story, one of the areas where Arizona did not fare well was flu vaccinations among the elderly. “Only 53 percent of seniors in Arizona got their flu shot last year.”
The healthiest state for seniors is Utah, followed by Hawaii, New Hampshire, Minnesota and Colorado. The states with the lowest ranking for older adults are Louisiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, Arkansas and Oklahoma. McKnightsSeniorLiving.com wrote that while social isolation and the suicide rate among seniors are both key issues in the report, another is rural health disparities.
A major finding of this year’s report was that rural senior citizens have poorer outcomes compared with their urban and suburban peers. Rural seniors, for instance, are more likely to report a fall (32.4% compared to 28.5% in suburban areas and 29.5% in urban areas) and less likely to report receiving a flu vaccination than urban seniors (57.2% versus 61.4%, respectively), the authors said.
BusinessWire.com added several key findings in the report related to rural seniors, including:
- more likely to be physically inactive (34.3 percent compared to 30.4 percent in suburban areas and 30.1 percent in urban areas); and
- more likely to report a fall (32.4 percent compared to 28.5 percent in suburban areas and 29.5 percent in urban areas); and
- 7 percent less likely to report receiving a flu vaccination than urban seniors (57.2 percent vs. 61.4 percent, respectively); and
- less likely to receive health screenings compared with both suburban and urban seniors (66.4 percent vs. 74.3 percent and 75.3 percent, respectively).
We’d love to hear your thoughts about the report and how Arizona can help the seniors living in our state lead a healthier and happier lifestyle. We’d also like to know what you think can be done to help us climb a little higher in next year’s rankings. Generating meaningful dialogue around the health stories making headlines is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!