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Minnesota ranks as healthiest state for seniors

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The health care policy discussion seems to get more confusing, politicized and polarized by the day. There is one point of agreement: Primary care is important.
“Worldwide data show the more access to primary medical care, the lower the cost, higher the quality, and the lower the mortality,” said Dr. Macaran Baird, professor and head of the department of family medicine and community health at the University of Minnesota.
Wochit

 

Minnesota has been deemed the healthiest state for senior citizens by a new national survey that examined 20-plus metrics across five categories to determine its list.

That news focused on the North Star state’s strong scores in health care, population, community factors and environmental factors and builds on its previous good news. Minnesota was deemed the least-stressed state a few weeks ago, and Mayo Clinic routinely ranks among the top health care facilities in the country.

Minnesota was the only state to finish in the top 10 of four categories. It finished second in community factors, fourth in health care, sixth in population rank and eighth in environmental rank. However, it was just 28th in cost of living.

Dr. Nathan LeBrasseur, director of Mayo Clinic’s Healthy Living and Independent Living Program, calls the recognition “fantastic,” further noting Rochester actually might be the best city in the entire country to be an aging senior. He highlighted extensive trails and green space, in addition to what he calls Mayo’s “unknown fact,” which tips the scales in his mind.

“An unknown fact, I would say, is that Mayo Clinic has approximately 1 percent of all geriatricians in the entire country right here in Rochester,” LeBrasseur said. “We’re better equipped than anywhere in the world to care for elderly adults.”

Minnesota seniors finished first in food security and prescription drug coverage, according to the new survey compiled by MedicareSupplement.com. Just 8 percent of those older than 60 were deemed “suffering” for food, while 88 percent of those 65 or older have a health care plan that covers at least the Medicare standard.

Minnesota also finished second in three other metrics: volunteerism, ratio of home health care workers to residents age 75 or older and dental visits among those 65 and older. According to the data, 38 percent of the state’s seniors engage in volunteering, and 76 percent regularly see a dentist; details were not available on home health care workers.

The 13-page summary specifically highlighted Duluth, Minneapolis and St. Paul for being especially friendly for senior citizens, but not Rochester. Duluth was lauded for its high ratio of hospital beds to patients and low cost of living, while Minneapolis scored well in community factors because of its parks. St. Paul received high marks for its overall health metrics, including air quality and park score.

LeBrasseur argues Rochester also deserves to be highlighted on that list. However, he feels Minnesota tends to fare well on these internet lists because of generally active lifestyles, which continue into retirement.

He said locals tend to avoid the typical speed bumps that arise as people age, which include finding a purpose in retirement and transitioning from married to widowed.

“Rest is not best — that’s a very powerful message,” LeBrasseur said.

The top five states were rounded out by Iowa, North Dakota, Florida and Nebraska. North Dakota actually finished first in community and environmental categories and second in the cost of living.

The states bringing up the rear on the new list include Mississippi, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Nevada and Georgia.

Article source: http://www.sctimes.com/story/news/local/2017/06/03/2-120-results-copy-story-minnesota-ranks-healthiest-state-seniors/368215001/

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