By Natalie Krebs (Radio Iowa)
A new report ranks Iowa 20th in the nation for the overall health of older adults.
The annual “America’s Health Rankings” by the United Health Care Foundation looks at more than 50 factors that affect adults over the age of 64. It found Iowa seniors have low rates of food insecurity and mental distress — and very few elderly Iowans avoided seeking medical care due to the cost.
Archana Dubey, the Chief Medical Officer at United Healthcare, says Iowa also ranks low for the number of doctors who specialize in treating aging adults, but that’s improving.
“There is a definite increase in geriatric providers,” she says. “That’s something that I did notice – a 19% increase in physicians who are practicing this specialty.”
The report found a low rate of social isolation among elderly Iowans. However, it did find households with someone age 65 or above are slightly less likely to have a high speed connection to the internet.
“Even though nationally, we improved on internet access, but we noticed that in Iowa, we could do better so there is a lower percentage of household connectivity to high speed internet,” Dubey says.
The report found 79% of Iowa households with people age 65 plus have high speed internet. That compared to 83% nationally. Dubey says being able to go online to order groceries or visit with a nurse or doctor is important to the health of older adults.
The United Health Care Foundation’s annual report found dental health among Iowa seniors has improved, while the rate of injuries from falls among older adults in Iowa is higher than the national average.