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Educators preserve, shape future with 'ALT NEW COLLEGE'; NY appeals court denies delay for Trump civil fraud trial; Michigan coalition gets cash influx to improve childcare.

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A House Committee begins its first hearing in the Biden impeachment inquiry, members of Congress talk about the looming budget deadline and energy officials testify about the Maui wildfires.

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A small fire department in rural Indiana is determined not to fail new moms and babies, the growing election denial movement has caused voting districts to change procedures and autumn promises spectacular scenery along America's rural byways.

Report: AZ Ranks 30th for Health Status of Older Adults

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Tuesday, May 30, 2023   

Arizona has received an overall rank of 30th in the nation for the health and well-being of older adults in the state.

According to the United Health Foundation's 2023 Senior Report, the Grand Canyon state does well when it comes to low risk of social isolation and there being a high level of hospice care use for Arizona seniors.

The state is facing challenges relating to having a low percentage of older adults with a dedicated health care provider and high suicide rates.

Dr. Rhonda Randall, chief medical officer of Employer and Individual for United Healthcare, said she is concerned about not only steady suicide rates being seen in Arizona and across the country, but also the spike in drug deaths among seniors.

"That dramatic increase in drug deaths concerns me, and also the suicide rate among seniors," Randall noted. "It's been stubbornly high now for the past several years. Although it didn't increase significantly from last year to this year, it concerns me that it's not going down."

Randall added the report consists of 52 different measures of senior health across five different categories, including socioeconomic factors, the physical environment where seniors live, the clinical care they receive, behaviors and health outcomes.

Arizona saw a 13% increase in early deaths from 2020 to 2021. Randall emphasized she is worried about how for the first time, her group is seeing gains related to longevity and an increase in life expectancy "start to reverse." Randall reported the early death rate among adults ages 65 to 74 increased 4% between 2020 and 2021, and 22% since 2019. Premature death among white seniors increased 6%, and despite the jump, the early death rate still remains the highest among Black older adults.

"We still have more people turning 65 and having that birthday and aging into their Medicare years," Randall acknowledged. "But it is concerning that we are losing such a significant amount of our nation's greatest treasure, our seniors."

Randall added the report stressed the need to foster greater connectivity and community engagement among seniors in Arizona and across the country, especially given the lingering impacts brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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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