The United Health Foundation is proud to release the 2023 Senior Report, which provides a portrait of the health and well-being of older adults across the United States.
Analyzing 52 measures from 22 data sources, the report features successes and challenges — including both some long-term trends that have reversed and some that persist — across a broad range of health measures.
It also found notable disparities among the older adult population by race/ethnicity, gender, geography, age and socioeconomic status.
Given the effects that the COVID-19 pandemic had on older adults, the findings emphasize the need to foster greater connectivity and community engagement among this diversifying population.
This year’s Senior Report finds recent shifts in long-term trends and highlights disparities in the health of older Americans.
The early death rate among older Americans increased for the second consecutive year, breaking a long-term improvement. Since 2019, deaths among adults ages 65-74 rose 22%.
The prevalence of frequent physical distress rose 9% from 14.5% to 15.8% between 2020 and 2021.
There were continued improvements in key measures of older adults’ access to care, as the number of geriatric providers and home health care workers per capita both increased.
The decade-long rise in drug death rates continued among older Americans. The number of drug deaths increased 43% nationally between 2016-2018 and 2019-2021. Opioid deaths were a major component of this rise.
In 2021, 5.6 million adults ages 65 and older lived in poverty, representing a 10% increase since 2019.
The number of senior centers per capita receiving federal funds from the Older Americans Act decreased 5% between 2020 and 2021 — a 23% decrease since 2019.
The healthiest states for older adults were Utah, New Hampshire, Colorado, Minnesota and Vermont. Mississippi had the most opportunity to improve, followed by Louisiana, Kentucky, West Virginia and Oklahoma.