I go into many homes where the TV is usually on, sometimes blaring! Typically, I don’t pay attention to what’s airing. But the other day, a local TV station reported a story that piqued my interest: America’s health rankings. The United Health Foundation recently issued its “Senior Report: America’s health rankings, 2022.” The report provides a look into the health/wellbeing of older Americans over the past decade. Their model uses categories that drive health outcomes: social and economic factors, physical environment, clinical care and behaviors. These all control health outcomes, according to the foundation. The report broke down health ratings/rankings/stats state-by-state. I’ll highlight Missouri and Kansas.
Missouri: Overall health ranking 42nd
- High numbers of home health care workers! I told you in a previous blog that home health care in Missouri is competitive! Ranking: 10th
- Low prevalence of severe housing problems. Ranking: 20th
- Low prevalence of excessive drinking. Meaning: The percentage of older adults (age 65+) who reported binge drinking or heavy drinking (15 or more drinks per week) Ranking: 18th
- High prevalence of frequent physical distress. Physical distress is characterized by 14 or more days of self-reported poor physical health in the past month (30 days). It’s associated with chronic conditions like CHF, COPD and Diabetes.
- High percentage of low care nursing home residents. Ranking: 49th. This means the percent of nursing home residents who did not require physical assistance for bed mobility, transferring, using the toilet and eating. Why’s this important? These residents who don’t need help with everyday living tasks might be more suitable to live independently, either in their home or an assisted or senior living facility. Studies show better health outcomes for folks who do not live in a nursing home.
- High prevalence of smoking. Ranked 42nd, 11% of people age 65 and older reported smoking.
Kansas: Overall health ranking: 27th
- Low percentage of older adults who avoid care due to cost: Ranking: 2nd
- Low percentage of insufficient sleep: Ranking: 12th
- Low percentage of excessive drinking: Ranking: 11th
- High prevalence of falls. Ranking: 33th
- Low geriatric provider rate. Ranking: 40th. Number of family medicine and internal medicine geriatrics and nurse practitioners per 100,000 adults ages 65 and older
- High percentage of low care nursing home residents. Ranking: 47th
What does this all mean? Both states can do a better job in addressing their weaknesses, especially in having their older adults “age in place.” That means home health care (if needed) for the 77% of older adults surveyed, according to the study, who said they want to stay in their homes for as long as they can!
Follow the link to view the report: