Over the past five years, Arizona has experienced a perpetual decrease in senior health, according to America’s Health Rankings. It has since fallen 13 points, 18thin the country in 2013 and in the past year alone declining eight points, tying with Florida for 31st.
Difficulties for improvement arise from a low Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) enrollment, the higher prevalence of mental distress and the insufficient coverage of flu vaccinations, reports the United Health Foundation.
Rankings are determined on account of 34 different measures such as behavior, policy, clinical care, education and suicide.
To read about all 34 measure with detailed description, access the full report here.
In an interview with KTAR News 92.3 FM, Dr. Rhonda Randall, senior medical advisor with United Health Foundation explained the importance of looking at the measures that were contributing to Arizona’s decline—highlighting both strengths and shortcomings.
Arizona has low coverage when it comes to flu vaccinations, which are used to strengthen the immune system and prevent the spread of ailment, and are very important to the health of the senior population. However, high percentage of 4 and 5-star nursing home beds as well as a high percentage of hospice care use strengthen their ranking.
Utah took the spot for the healthiest seniors in the nation, pushing Hawaii back to the No.2 position. Seniors have the lowest risk for isolation in Utah, according to the report, but shares the same challenges with Arizona in low coverage for flu vaccines and low SNAP enrollment.
For more detailed information on each state and the determinants, visit United Health Foundation’s full report.