Arizona seniors are more likely to be lonely, economically unstable
Arizona's senior citizens are more likely to experience economic instability, food insecurity and loneliness than their peers in other states, according to a new report by Alignment Health, a Medicare Advantage provider covering the state.
Why it matters: Stability and a support system can have a greater impact on a senior's health than access to medical care, Dr. John Kim of Alignment Health tells Axios Phoenix.
What he's saying: "I'm a believer in mind, body and spirit," Kim said. "If you're not mentally healthy it tends to spill over to your physical health."
State of play: Health care institutions and advocacy organizations are preparing for a wave of more baby boomers who will reach retirement age in the next few years and compete over already-limited resources for aging Americans, Axios' Naheed Rajwani-Dharsi reports
- An estimated 10,000 people turn 65 every day in the U.S., and the population of older adults is expected to double over the next few decades.
By the numbers: Adults 65 and older make up 18% of Arizona's population, according to the Census Bureau's 2021 estimates.
- And more seniors are moving here. Arizona had a net gain of 21,440 older adults from 2015-2019 and the highest net migration rate in the country, per a recent Census report.
Of note: The Alignment Health report also found that about 1 in 12 Arizona seniors is not very or not at all satisfied with their health care, which is more than double the rate of dissatisfaction nationally.
- Kim said he did not know the reason for the dissatisfaction but suggested it could be because of a lack of providers in rural parts of the state.
Zoom in: Arizona social services providers have been raising alarm bells for the past few years about a "silver tsunami" of seniors becoming homeless for the first time in their 60s and 70s.
- As rents have risen to a record high of $1,600 in Phoenix, retirees who live exclusively on social security (average payment: $1,631 per month) have been priced out of housing.
What's next: CASS, the largest homeless shelter in the state, is working to open a senior-only shelter near I-17 and Northern Avenue at the former Phoenix Inn.
- CASS CEO Lisa Glow told The Arizona Republic earlier this year that the organization started pursuing a place geared toward older adults when it saw that a third of the people staying at the organization's main shelter were 55 and older. More than 85% of them have a medical condition and 63% have a mobility impairment.
- The new shelter will have private rooms and bathrooms for each person, accessible accommodations and targeted services for older adults.
- It's scheduled to open next summer.
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