Texas Drops in Senior Health Ranking

Texas seniors face a myriad of health problems and are stuck with some of the worst nursing home quality in the nation, according to a recent report.

Texas Falls in Ranking

The United Health Foundation released their annual Senior Health Report that ranks each state based on the health and healthcare of seniors in that state. This year, Texas ranked 41st on the list, dropping 2 spots from their ranking of 39 last year in 2013. Though the United States pays more per capita for health care than any other country in the world, it seems the quality of care in our health care system is struggling to stay on par with the cost.

Despite the fact that Texas is often hailed as an ideal retirement spot for seniors, this report shines light on some of the drawbacks of the state’s senior health care system and helps expose some of the troubles those seniors are experiencing.

The Foundation used a number of various measures to determine each state’s ranking on the list including community support, home health care, obesity, poverty, cognition, food insecurity, depression. Texas fell even further to the bottom of the list this year and there are a few measures that stand out as noteworthy.

Lack of Senior Community

When it comes to community, Texan seniors don’t have much of one at all. According to the report, Texas ranks 49th in senior community and 48th in community support. This statistic may come as a surprise because of the number of seniors in Texas, but despite the growing demographic, the support system seems to be nearly nonexistent.

Texas came in at number 21 for diabetes management and 27 for depression, which isn’t the greatest ranking but isn’t near the bottom, either. Seniors with a chronic condition that requires pain management aren’t in a good spot, though. The Lone Star State ranked 42nd in pain management of all the 50 states. On top of that, the state also ranked 42nd in multiple chronic conditions, meaning there is a great deal of seniors who are suffering from more than one chronic disease, be it heart disease, diabetes, dementia, stroke, or cancer.

As the prevalence of dementia increases across the nation, Texas remains at the bottom of the list in terms of cognition, ranking 41st. In terms of overall senior health, the health status of seniors in Texas was ranked as 31st in the nation.

Long Term Care in Texas

It isn’t all about individual health, though. Long term care settings also have a huge impact on the collective senior health and how seniors can navigate their health care system. Unfortunately, Texas ranks 29th in nursing home quality, meaning they have almost the worst quality of nursing homes in the whole country.

On the other hand, though, Texas ranks at the top of the list in terms of home health care, at number 5. So while the quality of skilled nursing facilities is extraordinarily poor, the quality of home health care, a common and often preferred alternative, is quite high.

One big change that occurred within the last year in Texas is the prevalence of smokers. Smoking increased a shocking 10% in the past year alone. The state ranks 34th for smoking. Another more positive change is an increased use in hospice care and a drop in the number of seniors dying in the hospital, which means better care is being paid to these individuals who are int heir last days. Rather than die in a hospital, they pass in a more comfortable setting that is meant for end of life care. While this may seem inconsequential to some, this is actually extraordinarily important to a lot of seniors.

Challenges Facing Lone Star Seniors

The state of Texas faces a number of big challenges: there is a high percentage of seniors struggling in poverty, the quality of nursing home care is low, and the prevalence of food insecurity is high. But the availability of home health care workers is good, which is a positive sign for seniors in the state. As the number of seniors continues to grow across the nation, senior health care is moving to the forefront of priorities. Long term care is becoming a talked about topic as people begin to recognize the importance of planning for a long life and ensuring they aren’t forced into a poor quality nursing home.

Texans have a number of options to help plan for long term care and for those with assets to protect, Long Term Care Insurance is a wise one. A policy can help provide you with either home care or nursing home care and help you avoid spending yourself into poverty. Find out more about Long Term Care Insurance here or fill out this form to request a free quote today.

To read the full Senior Health Report, click here or read our take on last year’s report here.

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