Is Michigan Ready for an Aging Population and Shifting Health?

As we know, the baby-boomers are rapidly aging. The United Health Foundation’s Health Ranking Senior Report crystalizes how well communities are prepared to deal with the health needs of older adults.

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Preparing for the health needs of a population above age 65 requires categorizing the determinants of good health – clinical care, community environment, individual behavior, and public policy – for this new population.

Perhaps one of the most important factors determining the population health level for older adults is the growth in the obesity rate in Michigan. According to data from the Michigan Department of Community Health, the rate of obesity among those older than 65 has risen 7.5% in the past decade.

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Increasing numbers of people with chronic conditions will put a strain on Michigan’s workforce by requiring more intense levels of care for more people.

How can we improve some of the challenges to health among seniors? Three factors the foundation indicates are: high rates of obesity; low levels of non-Medicare prescription coverage; and a high prevalence of smoking.

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