New report shows Arizona senior health ranking
The United Health Foundation recently released its 11th America’s Health Rankings Senior Report. The report covers 52 measures from 22 sources, providing insights into many of the strengths and areas of improvement in the health of older Americans on a national and state-wide level.
Arizona was ranked No. 30 in overall health, and key findings include:
- STRENGTH: high percentage of households with access to high speed internet
- STRENGTH: low risk of social isolation
- CHALLENGE: high suicide rate
- CHALLENGE: low percentage of older adults with a dedicated health care provider
“Some of the areas that we didn’t do that well was in the high suicide rate, specifically linked to high level of firearm deaths ,and then also some opioid related deaths,” said Dr. Archana Dubey, the Chief Medical Officer of UnitedHealthcare. Dr. Dubey pointed out seniors are at an increased risk for opioid-related deaths due to the fact they have easier access to prescription pain medication. There was a 43% increase in drug-related deaths in seniors compared to last year’s report.
Another area of concern for Arizona seniors is the lack of older citizens who have a dedicated health care provider. Dr. Dubey said with the increase in medical conditions that come with getting older, it’s important to consistently visit a health care professional.
Dr. Dubey pushes for Arizona older citizens to continue to focus on the positives such as lower food insecurity rates and high exercise rates among seniors. She also believes the state needs to work to find ways to limit the opioid consumption among older citizens not just in Arizona but across the country.