Senior Care in Nebraska and Iowa: How Do We Rank?


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A new report by America’s Health Rankings looked at 34 measures that affect senior health, including physical inactivity, obesity, poverty, drug coverage, and hospital re-admssions. While lifespans may be increasing, so are rates of obesity, diabetes, and other chronic conditions, which the study suggests will eventually lead to a nationwide healthcare crisis. The report also ranked each state in terms of senior health, with Minnesota taking the top spot and Mississippi coming in last.

How do Nebraska and Iowa rank?

Both states fared well in the study, with Iowa coming in at number 5 and Nebraska ranked at number 14 overall.

Iowa‘s strengths include low prevalence of activity-limiting arthritis pain, high percentage of volunteerism, and high percentage of creditable drug coverage. Challenges Iowa faces include high prevalence of obesity, limited availability of home health care workers, and high percentage of low-care nursing home residents.

Other highlights for Iowa:

  • Iowa has the highest prevalence of flu vaccination in the nation.
  • Iowa has a high rate of 4- and 5-star rated nursing home beds.
  • Iowa has some of the lowest numbers of poor mental health days per month among seniors.
  • 29.1 percent of seniors in Iowa are obese.

Nebraska‘s strengths include high percentage of volunteerism, high rate of highly-rated nursing home beds, and low prevalence of food insecurity. Challenges Nebraska faces include low percentage of social support, high geriatrician shortfall, and limited availability of home health care workers, a common problem amongst many states.

Other highlights for Nebraska:

  • Nebraska’s rate of 4- and 5-star nursing home beds is higher than most other states.
  • Nebraska has a high percentage of seniors with credible drug coverage.
  • In Nebraska, 67,000 seniors are obese and 82,000 seniors are physically inactive.
  • Fewer Nebraskan seniors are marginally food insecure when compared to most other states.

Challenges seniors face

The study also found a number of impending challenges seniors will likely face in the coming years, including the fact that:

  • 13% of Americans (40.3 million) are 65 and older. This is projected to grow to more than 19% in 2030. By 2050, seniors will make up a quarter of the population.
  • Nearly 1 in 5 seniors live with one chronic condition, and among those, 50% have two or more.
  • 25% of older Americans are currently obese, and among those, 20% have been diagnosed with diabetes, more that 70% have heart disease, and around 60% have arthritis.
  • Adults 65 and older spend upwards of twice as much on health care each year than those aged 45-64.

A statistic that is even more frightening is the dwindling numbers of qualified care providers for the population. Additionally, if the number of obese seniors in the U.S. continues to climb, we will need stronger caregivers, or more caregivers per person, driving up costs. Many elderly people have not planned well enough to live longer, so when they do (which has been the case recently), they are unprepared. This limits their options when it comes to staying at home, or figuring out other types of care.Â

The report is intended to be a wake up call to seniors, their families, the health care industry, and the government, all at once. The U.S. is at critical time in its history where a demographic change will likely have wide-reaching effects on the entire population’s health care. The best advice we can offer everyone is to be prepared.

What are you and your family doing to plan for the senior health crisis? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter.

Encompass Senior Solutions currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. Get your free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here . Or contact us for a free consultation or just to say hello!

Photo credit: Sifter via photopin cc

“Encompass Senior Solutions solves the problems families face in finding home health care providers they can trust. Providers who will focus on strategies that keep parents in their homes. To learn more about our health care services, visit http://www.encompass-home-health-care.com.”