PA 25th in U.S. for senior health
The United Health Foundation’s “America’s Health Rankings Senior Report: A Call to Action for Individuals and Their Communities” ranks Pennsylvania 25th among all states for senior health, a drop of three spots from 2014. The report shows positive trends nationwide for senior health, especially in measures that allow older adults to get the right care in their chosen setting.
Seniors are experiencing lower hospital re-admission rates and preventable hospitalization rates compared to last year, while hospice care use and the number of home health care workers have increased.
Many of Pennsylvania’s senior health strengths are in its support for programs enabling elders to remain in independent settings, instead of long-term care facilities. Many nursing home residents do not need the full suite of services offered by nursing homes, and are capable of living in their own homes with the help of home and community-based programs and services, such as Meals on Wheels and personal care.
In Pennsylvania, only six percent of those living in nursing homes are low-care, the fifth lowest rate in the nation; this indicates that older adults who are able to remain independent have the supports they need to do so.
With an aging baby boomer population, the number of geriatricians needed is growing dramatically. While all states have a shortfall of geriatricians, Pennsylvania has the sixth lowest shortfall, with 46.4% of the minimum number needed.
Other positive highlights for the state from the past year include a 16% decrease in food insecurity for adults age 60-plus; an increase of 12% in home health care for people age 75-plus; and a 15% decrease in hip fracture hospitalizations for Medicare beneficiaries
Among the weaknesses: Nearly one-third of Pennsylvania adults aged 65 and older are obese.