Special Report

Best States for Healthy Retirement

40. Idaho
> Pct. 65+ w/ disability: 40.7% (12th highest)
> Pct. 65+ obese: 25.4% (17th highest)
> Flu vaccine in past year, 65+: 60.7% (2nd lowest)
> Life expectancy: 78.9 years (21st highest)

Many elderly residents in Idaho are not taking certain simple steps that can be lifesaving. Nearly 10% of those who should be taking blood pressure medication do not, the second highest share in the country. Additionally, only 60.7% of retirement age adults in the state get a flu shot each year, the second smallest share of any state in the country.

39. Ohio
> Pct. 65+ w/ disability: 37.5% (21st lowest)
> Pct. 65+ obese: 27.0% (9th highest)
> Flu vaccine in past year, 65+: 64.8% (8th lowest)
> Life expectancy: 77.4 years (14th lowest)

Regular exercise is important for the elderly for a number of reasons, particularly because it reduces the risk of falls. In Ohio, 36% of residents lead sedentary lifestyles, the eighth worst rate in the country. Ohio’s senior citizens are more likely to experience a fall leading to injury than those in the majority of states.

38. Illinois
> Pct. 65+ w/ disability: 37.2% (17th lowest)
> Pct. 65+ obese: 25.1% (20th highest)
> Flu vaccine in past year, 65+: 65.5% (12th lowest)
> Life expectancy: 78.7 years (24th highest)

Elderly people in Illinois are less likely than most elderly Americans to receive proper preventative health screenings. Across the state, only 43.6% of elderly men and 42.7% of elderly women are up to date on a selected set of preventative medical services, each the fifth smallest share of any U.S. state. Retirement-age adults in the state are the worst in the country in terms of taking measures to prevent pneumonia. Only 61.9% of state residents 65 and older have been vaccinated against pneumonia, considerably fewer than the 68.1% of American adults.

37. Missouri
> Pct. 65+ w/ disability: 43.5% (5th highest)
> Pct. 65+ obese: 26.3% (12th highest)
> Flu vaccine in past year, 65+: 67.1% (21st lowest)
> Life expectancy: 77.2 years (11th lowest)

Among Missouri’s senior citizens, 43.5% have a mental or physical disability, the fifth-highest share in the country. Regular exercise is one of the best way of reducing the likelihood of disability, but Missouri’s 65 and older residents are more likely to be physically inactive in their leisure time than most elderly Americans.

36. Texas
> Pct. 65+ w/ disability: 37.4% (19th lowest)
> Pct. 65+ obese: 28.4% (2nd highest)
> Flu vaccine in past year, 65+: 67.2% (23rd lowest)
> Life expectancy: 78.1 years (21st lowest)

Obesity among the elderly can lead to a variety of debilitating and life-threatening health complications, including stroke, heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Among Texas’s senior citizens, 28.4% are obese, more than in any state except for Indiana.

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