Florida Ranks Low In Healthcare? Here’s What Seniors Should Know

ourseniors.net-Florida Ranks Low In Healthcare And Seniors Should Be Observant

The U.S. continues to come in well behind other industrialized countries when it comes to healthcare and Florida in particular…comes in 25th out of the entire country. Healthcare among seniors in general is already poor but for Florida seniors there is significantly more of a concern with more and more seniors suffering from multiple chronic conditions, rates of loneliness getting higher, and higher housing expenses cutting into fixed incomes. 

Life in Florida is usually a dream for seniors but it’s not always as it seems considering that recent findings have shed light on the challenges faced by older adults throughout the state, with many of them exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. While Florida’s overall ranking for senior health has improved, certain key indicators such as early deaths, poverty rates, housing expenses, and chronic conditions continue to pose significant hurdles. 

We’re going to take a look at the challenges that seniors face in the sunshine state and the risk factors that pose concern when it comes to healthcare and the current health standing of older Americans. It may seem fine from the outside but there’s a lot to know.

The Impact of COVID-19 On Seniors in the U.S.

COVID-19 has disrupted the lives of people across the globe and still is. Older adults were particularly affected and what has been found is that social relationships and support systems were severely impacted and this led to challenges in seniors’ health and well-being. The main issue has been continued isolation and worsening physical conditions. It has even been found that seniors living in Pinellas County, for example, had a 77.7% chance of being socially isolated. Additionally, the pandemic left a lasting list of risks that seniors were exposed to from depression, neurocognitive dysfunction, and increased frailty. 

Florida specifically has a few disheartening facts when it comes to the impact that COVID has left on the state. For example, Florida has experienced an increase of 27% in early deaths among adults and this is something that seniors and their families should be paying attention to.

What Exactly Do Florida Seniors Need to Know?

According to a recent report created by the United Health Foundation, there are a few notable things that Florida seniors need to be aware of.

  • Florida’s poverty rate among seniors has increased by 8% between 2017 and 2021, which means that the state now ranks 38th nationwide
  • Florida ranks 44th in the prevalence of multiple chronic conditions among seniors, which unfortunately represents 58% suffering from multiple chronic illnesses.
  • The number of home healthcare workers has decreased by 7% since 2020, which has resulted in 15 workers per every 1,000 residents

All of this is important because Florida falls right in the middle when it comes to “good healthcare”. That means that the healthcare system in the state isn’t the worst but it isn’t the best either. Unfortunately, healthcare funding isn’t in the best standing when it comes to health and federal funds for Medicaid expansion are significantly limited. Surprisingly, the list of the best states for seniors doesn’t include Florida at all. The list features Alaska, Washington, Wyoming, and South Dakota. 

However, Florida seniors that have already been exposed to the state’s weather, endless possibilities of things to do, and availability of senior-specific resources want to remain in the state and it’s not hard to see why. Florida is a great place for seniors to be in the general sense but the state has to do much better when it comes to the struggles that seniors face day-to-day. Unfortunately, the state’s oldest citizens are facing a significant burden of medical bills and this is one of the many concerns for older adults aside from physical and mental health disparities.

How Can Florida Seniors Do Better When It Comes to Their Health?

Taking charge of your health as a senior is essential to lead a fulfilling and healthy life. By prioritizing certain aspects of your wellness, you can improve your quality of life and this is something that we want to express considering the current standing of healthcare in the state at the moment. To give you a head start, here are some key steps that you as a Florida senior can take:

Ensure You Stick With Regular Health Check-ups

Scheduling regular visits to healthcare professionals is crucial for preventive care and early detection of potential health issues. Florida seniors should ensure they receive recommended screenings, vaccinations, and check-ups to monitor their health status and address any concerns before they turn into health issues that affect their life significantly. Keep in mind that two in three seniors in the U.S. haven’t been to the doctor in more than a year and this is something that you want to avoid if you want to stay ahead of the issues that aging naturally presents.

Maintain a Balanced Diet

You may already know this but sticking with a balanced diet can mean the difference between having significant health issues and not having significant health issues. Something as simple as watching your diet and grocery shopping with intention can mean the difference between an extended and healthy life and the opposite. Simply put, a nutritious diet is the foundation of good health. Seniors in Florida should aim for a well-rounded diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. Consulting with a registered dietitian in Florida can help create personalized meal plans that cater to specific dietary needs and preferences and essentially will make doing so much easier than having to navigate it alone. 

To put this in better perspective, it’s not difficult to attain a better health standing when you understand what programs and other resources your state has. Specifically, more than 80,000 older citizens have benefited every year from community nutrition service programs alone. You can look more into Adult Care Food Programs, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or even the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program.

Manage All Chronic Conditions

Florida seniors facing multiple chronic conditions should work closely with their healthcare providers to manage their conditions effectively. Adhering to prescribed medications, following recommended lifestyle modifications, and attending regular follow-ups can help control chronic diseases and maintain optimal health. This plays well into the point of staying up to date with your checkups.

Ensure You Foster Social Connections

It’s important to remember that social isolation can negatively impact seniors’ mental and physical health. This is also something that has had a lasting effect on seniors post-COVID so it’s especially important to be proactive when it comes to combating loneliness. To prevent this, Florida seniors should actively seek opportunities to connect with others. 

Joining senior centers, participating in community activities, or volunteering not only fosters social connections but also promotes mental stimulation and a sense of purpose which are two important things for Florida seniors when it comes to mental health.

Safety and Fall Prevention

Believe it or not, falls were a continued concern post-COVID. Taking measures to prevent falls and ensuring a safe living environment is crucial for Florida seniors. Removing hazards at home, installing grab bars, using non-slip mats, and regularly checking vision and hearing abilities can help reduce the risk of falls and related injuries. This isn’t just a one-time check-in and should involve a continued check for older adults.

Make Sure You Stay Informed

Florida seniors should stay informed about available resources, programs, and services specifically designed for their needs. Local community centers, senior organizations, and healthcare providers can provide valuable information on support systems, financial assistance, and healthcare options.

Seniors Can Change the Narrative

By adopting these simple proactive steps, Florida seniors can empower themselves to take control of their health and well-being. It’s essential to remember that every senior’s health journey is unique, and personalized approaches tailored to specific needs and circumstances can often provide the best results. These are things that can make a significant difference in the lives of seniors and can also change the narrative of health and wellness for older adults in the state. With one step at a time and an intentional change at a time, Florida seniors can overcome the theme they are currently exposed to.