To determine which states are most and least healthy for senior populations, Stacker consulted America's Health Rankings' 2022 Senior Report, where public health researchers analyzed metrics of senior health for every state, ranging from nursing home quality to preventable hospitalizations. The report was released in 2023.
Although the numbers in certain categories changed drastically in some states after the COVID-19 pandemic — and while that may have influenced the behavior of senior citizens regarding clinical preventive services — the health crisis was not considered individually in the report. The metrics are split into five categories: social and economic, physical environment, clinical care, behaviors, and health outcomes.
Nationwide, there have been demonstrable shifts in several key factors relative to overall health and quality of life for seniors. Poverty-stricken states rank poorly, and their seniors' eating and physical activity habits tend to be unhealthy. Seniors in these areas also tend to avoid getting medical attention due to the high costs of healthcare services. Drug-related deaths, for example, doubled between 2018 and 2020, while depression and obesity rose 9% and 16%, respectively, since 2011.
And yet, while early deaths rose 17% among seniors, "high health status," defined as adults over 65 reporting very good or excellent health, actually increased by 13%. This suggests that despite the concerning increases in certain deleterious factors, senior living, in some parts of the U.S., is improving.
Stacker included each state's overall score and its rank in all five categories in this story. Read on to see where your state stacks up against the national average.
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