Monday, July 29, 2013

What Do 2013 Senior Health Rankings Mean for the Future?

The United Health Foundation releases yearly health rankings as a way to measure the wellbeing of the general population, encourage states to improve their health programs, and help medical and other professionals in preparing for the challenges that lie ahead. The 2013 senior report provides insight regarding the overall wellbeing of elderly individuals.1 Senior care professionals believe that the state of North Carolina, which is ranked 29th in the country in terms of overall elderly health, should look to this report as a resource to assist home care providers in improving the quality of life of their patients.

North Carolina: An Overview
At 29th in the country, it is clear that there are a few things that the individuals in the state of North Carolina can do to improve the overall health of the area's elderly population. Four of the issues that the report takes into consideration are obesity, smoking, diabetes, and physical inactivity. The scores for North Carolina are as follows:

  • Obesity: A total of 24 to 27 percent of seniors have a body mass index, or BMI, of 30.0 or higher.
  • Smoking: Eight to 10 percent of the senior population of North Carolina smokes. 
  • Diabetes: In total, 81 to 87 percent of the seniors enrolled in Medicare in the state of North Carolina have diabetes. 
  • Physical inactivity: Of the seniors in the state, 24 to 29 percent report that they do not engage in regular physical activity. 

While all of these issues require attention, elder care professionals are particularly concerned about the high percentage of seniors who have diabetes within the state. Ultimately, the goal is to use this information to improve healthcare standards, including education and treatment options.

Looking to the Future
Home care professionals are encouraged to use these statistics to focus on the needs of their patients and, as a result, help them achieve a higher degree of health. Education plays a key role in this initiative, as learning about the best ways to prevent diabetes, manage weight, and stay active is imperative in reducing the number of seniors who are affected by obesity, smoking, diabetes, and physical inactivity.

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