Maine has a low rate of many chronic health problems among the elderly, a low rate of residents of low-care nursing homes, and a high rate of cancer screenings.
All the good news, according to the United Health Foundation’s annual senior report for 2022.
Less commendable findings are the high suicide rate in Maine, the high rate of tooth extraction with a full mouth, and the low cost of community support for the elderly.
Maine finished 13th overall in the United States. The top five were Utah, Vermont, Minnesota, Connecticut and Colorado, respectively. New Hampshire was number 6 and Massachusetts was number 10.
Mississippi ranked last. Rounding out the last five were Louisiana, Kentucky, West Virginia and Oklahoma. High levels of smoking, obesity and early death were identified as challenges for these countries.
United Health Foundation’s Tenth Annual Report on Senior Health Rankings in America highlights the improvements, challenges and disparities in health and well-being over the last decade, according to a recently published report.
Highlights of the report on older people in Maine include:
• An increase of 46% in the percentage of smoking between 2014 and 2020, from 6.1% to 8.9% per 100,000 adults aged 65 and over.
• 25% reduction in frequent physical suffering from 16.3% to 12.3% between 2018 and 2020.
• 17% increase in influenza vaccination, from 61.6% to 72.3% between 2011 and 2020.
In response to the challenges, Maine has initiatives to address suicide rates and inadequate dental care, according to Jackie Farwell, a spokesman for the state Department of Health and Human Services.
“Earlier this month, Governor (Janet) Mills signed an executive order to set up an aging cabinet, fulfilling a promise made by her in the state,” Farwell said, adding that Maine’s middle age makes him the oldest state in the world. increasing demand for aging-related services.
Among the initiatives, Maine DHHS is investing more than $ 230 million in state and federal funds over the two-year period 2022-23 to strengthen Maine’s behavioral health care system, including suicide prevention and response, Farwell said.
This effort, supported by Mills and the legislature, includes collaboration between state and local organizations “to support mobile crisis teams that can respond directly to the location of a person in crisis or offer entry services to facilities that provide an environment similar to at home. Said Farwell.
As for dental care, the allocation in the two-year budget will be used to establish compensation for adult dentists under MaineCare by July 1, she said.
“Adults aged 21 and over will have access to comprehensive benefits, including full and partial dentures, prevention services, diagnostic and rehabilitation services,” Farwell said. “Previously, MaineCare only covered adult extractions.”
Farwell does not cite an initiative to meet the challenge of low levels of community support costs for older people.
However, Maine proposes a participant-oriented model that allows the member or their representative to act as an employer to direct their care, “she said.
Some programs also allow spouses to be reimbursed for providing personal care services, she said.
Farwell said the strengths cited in America’s Senior Health Rating Report are the result of public health initiatives funded by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
She said the low rate of many chronic health problems in the state among the elderly could be due to the Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention program in Maine, which includes cancer prevention and control.
“Maine also uses standardized objective medical assessment to accurately determine individuals’ needs for long-term services and support, such as nursing care,” Farwell said.
“Today, adults aged 65 and over make up approximately 16.9% of the United States population, or just over 55.6 million adults,” the report said.
The age group is expected to make up 21% of the population (73.1 million) by 2030.
This, according to the report, makes it “essential for the continuing well-being of our nation to understand the short-term and long-term trends affecting the health of this growing and vulnerable population.”
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