America’s Health Rankings Reports Increasing Availability of Home-Based Care for Seniors

Seniors have increasing access to home-based care and support services that may help them continue to live at home, according to the 2019 America’s Health Rankings® Senior Report.

Key findings include:

  • There are 550,000 more home health care workers than last year – a 21% rate increase per 1,000 adults age 75 and older.

  • Medicare decedents’ use of hospice care, which can be provided while living at home, has increased in all 50 states and has increased 48% overall since 2013.

  • The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program now serves 5.4 million eligible seniors, a 13% increase since 2015.

“Home is where most seniors want to be, so it is great news that home-based services are being made even more available to help support better health,” said Dr. Rhonda Randall, executive vice president and chief medical officer, UnitedHealthcare National Markets, and an adviser to America’s Health Rankings. “This is an encouraging trend that may help seniors continue to live independently or remain in their homes longer.”

The senior population has grown 45% since 2000, with more than 50 million seniors (age 65 and older) living in the United States today.

This year’s Senior Report offers a comprehensive analysis of the health of seniors on a national and state-by-state basis across 34 core measures. It was developed in collaboration with an advisory group of public health leaders and in partnership this year with the Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association (GAPNA), a national organization that represents and educates advanced practice nurses and advocates for evidence-based, quality care of older adults.

The Senior Report identifies many encouraging trends; however, a number of health concerns facing seniors are on the rise. Most notably, depression increased 19% in the past year, with significant increases in 11 states. Nearly 8% of seniors reported frequent mental distress.

“This data-driven report will have enormous impact on the care of older adults. It pinpoints challenges and critical issues advanced practice nurses see every day,” said GAPNA President Valerie Sabol.

The 2019 Senior Report ranks Hawaii as the healthiest state for seniors, followed by Utah (No. 2), Connecticut (No. 3), Minnesota (No. 4) and Colorado (No. 5). Mississippi fell from No. 49 in 2018 to become the state with the most challenges for seniors this year, followed by Kentucky (No. 49), Louisiana (No. 48), Oklahoma (No. 47) and West Virginia (No. 46).

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