Health of Seniors In Texas: 39th Out Of 50 States

A healthcare foundation has released its first-ever ranking of the health of senior citizens across the United States. Texas ranked 39 out of 50 states, about where it ranks for the health status of younger residents. 

Unlike younger Texans who may be uninsured, almost all seniors are insured through Medicare.

So the new study from the United Health Foundation focuses on the type of care seniors get and their overall quality of life.

Dr. Salil Deshpande is United’s chief medical officer for the Houston market.

He says compared to other states, Texas seniors suffer from high rates of obesity, poverty and uncontrolled arthritic pain that makes it hard to stay active.

Those problems can then have a domino effect, leading to other health problems:

“Things like hip fractures and falls, premature death and the rate of use of intensive care units.” 

But there were some bright spots in the study.

“It’s not all bad news, so when we talk about Texas ranking 39th, it’s certainly not all bad news. Texas has a relatively low prevalence of underweight seniors, so that’s a good thing. We see that in Texas we have good availability of home health care workers, and that’s a good thing.”

More than 11 percent of Texas seniors live in poverty, and there is little government or community spending to help alleviate that, compared to other states.

In the nationwide rankings, Minnesota ranked first for senior health, and Mississippi last. 

Bio photo of Carrie Feibel

Carrie Feibel

Health & Science Reporter

Carrie Feibel is KUHF's health and science reporter. She comes to Houston Public Radio after ten years as a print reporter...