Saturday, November 27, 2021

Play

Don't want the hassles of Black Friday - consider a refurbished gift this year; day after Thanksgiving travel could be messy - and supporters regroup for recreational marijuana in South Dakota.

Play

Big retailers predict an historic holiday shopping season, but small businesses are not sharing that optimism, and economists weigh in on what s behind the nation's labor shortages.

Play

South Dakota foster kids find homes with Native families; a conservative group wants oil and gas reform; rural Pennsylvania residents object to planes flying above tree tops; and poetry debuts to celebrate the land.

Older Texans Say They're Exercising, But Also Smoking More

Play

Wednesday, May 26, 2021   

AUSTIN, Texas - Many folks have acknowledged dealing with more anxiety since the pandemic hit. But even before that, seniors were experiencing increased mental and behavioral health challenges, according to a new report.

The annual report from the UnitedHealth Foundation found that between 2016 and 2019, people age 65 and older have seen increases in drug-related deaths, suicide and frequent mental stress, nationwide.

In Texas specifically, said Dr. Rhonda Randall, executive vice president and chief medical officer of UnitedHealthcare Employer and Individual, seniors have renewed a habit many had given up.

"More seniors reported that they were smoking in Texas in the year 2019 than they did in 2017," she said, "by a magnitude of 63%."

Randall warned that smoking has a high correlation with heart disease, cancers and many other medical conditions. In contrast, the report said Texans older than age 65 increased their physical exercise by 51% in the same two-year timespan, and ate fruits and vegetables at a higher rate than did their counterparts in many other states.

Randall said older Texans also are getting more sleep than older residents of most other states, and - if they need it - can more readily rely on home health care.

"And they have access to home health-care workers," she said. "There are more home health-care workers per capita in Texas than there are in many other states."

Nationally, flu vaccinations among seniors were up in 2019 versus the two-year period prior to that by 6%. But by far, Randall said, the most worrisome trend is older people reporting health issues because they spend so much time alone.

"We saw a risk of social isolation continue to increase in this year's report," she said. "We know that there is a significant correlation between social isolation and overall health, and in particular, behavioral health."

By 2050, people older than 65 are expected to be about one-fifth of the total U.S. population. The authors said they hope the 2021 Senior Report will help leaders set future public-health priorities.

Disclosure: United Healthcare contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

References:  
Report, 5/18/21

get more stories like this via email
Vicki Harder-Thorne is honoring 30 years of sweat equity her parents put into restoring 80 acres of land in Ottawa County. (Harder-Thorne)

Environment

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Succession is an inevitable process for Ohio farmers, and it can also be an opportunity to re-imagine the land. Vicki Harder-…


Environment

HELENA, Mont. -- To honor the Biden administration's steps toward greater ties with tribal nations, conservation groups are calling on it to list the …

Social Issues

PIERRE, S.D. -- Supporters of establishing recreational marijuana in South Dakota say they're pouring all their energy into a new ballot initiative…


Farming is Virginia's largest private industry, according to the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

RICHMOND, Va. -- In central Virginia, permanent access to land is one of the biggest barriers to farming. A new land-trust model aims to secure both …

Social Issues

BOSTON -- This holiday season, consumer advocates are urging Commonwealth residents to consider giving gifts that don't require purchasing anything…

The mission of the 'Buy Nothing Project' is to promote the giving of goods and services within hyperlocal circles. (bfleeson/Pixabay)

Social Issues

AUSTIN, Texas -- Supply chain delays have some holiday shoppers stressed that gifts won't be on store shelves on this "Black Friday," or won't arrive …

Social Issues

DETROIT -- As cold weather moves in, state agencies are working to make sure Michiganders know how to apply for the Michigan Energy Assistance …

Social Issues

NEW YORK -- A team of New York-based filmmakers is producing a documentary about reclaiming Indigenous heritage, told through the experiences of an 18…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021