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Gray-friendly states

December 17, 2015
by Pamela Tabar, Editor-in-Chief
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If you’re looking for a healthy place to retire, you may find that some states are more “gray-friendly” than others, notes new data on the healthiest—and unhealthiest—states for seniors. As the population of those over age 65 is projected to soar over the next 15 years, the graying of America will begin to affect different states in different ways, according to new data from the United Health Foundation and American Public Health Association.

By 2030, more than 20 percent of the populations will be over 65. Arizona, Nevada and Florida are expected to see the highest increases in older demographics over the next 15 years. States like Alaska, Texas and Idaho could see 60-70 percent increases in their senior populations.

Hawaii takes the top spot as the overall healthiest state in the nation, but it’s not just because of the sun and sea breezes. Three chilly states—Vermont, New Hampshire and Minnesota—ranked highest for healthy seniors.

What does it take to be a great state for seniors? The report rankings took into account access to senior care service, including hospice care and home health services. Regional rates for obesity, smoking and lack of exercise also factor in, since they are so closely tied to chronic diseases and complications in older adults.

For example, several of the Rocky Mountain states have the nation’s lowest rates of obesity and diabetes.

Where are some of the red-flag states for gray-friendly environments? Mississippi has the nation’s highest rates of cognitive problems/dementia (Iowa has the lowest), while Tennessee has the highest rate of senior hip fractures (Hawaii has by far the lowest.)

See all the parameters and state statistics here.


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