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Lawmakers consider changes to Maine's Clean Election law, Florida offers a big no comment over "arranged" migrant flights to California, and the Global Fragility Act turns U.S. peacekeeping on its head.

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New Report Shows Challenges Faced by Alabama's Older Adults

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Friday, May 26, 2023   

A new report cites a pressing need for better health-care support and better internet access for older adults in Alabama.

The United Health Foundation's 2023 Senior Report found that older Alabamans' health challenges range from inadequate internet access and health-care worker shortages to early death rates.

Despite an increase of 5% in the number of personal care and home-health-care workers between 2020 and 2021, Dr. Michael Stockman, market chief medical officer for UnitedHealthcare, said the report demonstrates that many older adults aren't receiving the assistance they need.

"As we try to support people in their homes, either people who have long-term disabilities or people who are recovering from surgery and need to be at home," he said, "having that low home-healthcare worker rate presents a challenge."

Stockman said the early death rate is a major concern. The report said factors such as smoking rates, lack of exercise, inadequate sleep and multiple chronic health conditions all are high among Alabama seniors, but it also showed a rise in early death rates in other states as well, reversing longer-term improvement.

Experts have said the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on older adults also has heightened the need for community support. Stockman said Alabama ranks fairly well in that regard, promoting stronger connections and active community involvement.

"Alabama seniors have a lower prevalence of excessive drinking," he said. "There is a high level of community support expenditures within the state, and then there is a low prevalence of severe housing problems among seniors."

The report also noted significant progress nationwide in combating food insecurity among older adults, with a noticeable 6% reduction in the nationwide rate from 2019 to 2020.

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.


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