Purpose: To document and disseminate a comprehensive analysis of senior population health on a national and state-by-state basis across ~35 measures.
Rationale: According to the United States Census Bureau, adults aged 65 and older now comprise more than 15 percent of the total population.1 By 2030, that number will climb significantly to 20 percent.2 Adults aged 65 and older are the largest consumers of health care, and this poses challenges to policy-makers, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security in addition to the effect on families, communities, and healthcare providers including advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs).
Theoretical framework: America’s Health Rankings® Senior Report was built upon the World Health Organization (WHO) definition of health. The model reflects that determinants of health directly influence health outcomes.
Methods: This descriptive study draws data from more than a dozen government agencies and leading research organizations to create a focused, uniquely rich dataset for measuring health at the state level. A composite variable focused on social isolation in older adults will include analysis of measures from the AARP Foundation Isolation Framework Report (2012) and the American Community Survey (ACS). Quantitative analysis included descriptive statistics and standard formulas to determine a score for each state and rankings on key measures.
Results: These data from the 2020 America’s Health Rankings Senior Report are pending and anticipated to be released in late April.
Application to practice: Continued population growth, coupled with more complex medical conditions and social isolation threaten to further strain the healthcare system. APRNs caring for older adults can take an active role in improving overall health outcomes for their populations by leveraging these data. In addition, APRNs have to opportunity to collaborate with additional inter-professional teams to drive policy change and promote the health of older adults.
References 1. U.S. Census Bureau https://www.census.gov/newsroom/facts-for-features/2017/cb17-ff08.html. Accessed February 14, 2020 2. https://www.census.gov/prod/2010pubs/p25-1138.pdf. Accessed February 14, 2020