The first-ever comprehensive examination of healthy aging in Rhode Island paints a picture of what health is like for seniors in our state, zip code by zip code.
The Rhode Island Health Aging Data Report was funded by the Tufts Health Plan Foundation, with research led by the Gerontology Institute of the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
Here is a handy infographic that summarizes many of the report’s findings (click on the image to view the full-sized graphic):
Two key findings emerged through the study, which was released earlier this month:
“In national rankings, Rhode Island generally looks pretty healthy. Compared to other New England states, however, older Rhode Island adults are in relatively poor health, with the highest regional rates of high cholesterol, hypertension, ischemic heart disease, diabetes, asthma, anemia, osteoarthritis/rheumatoid arthritis, cataracts, and those living with four or more chronic diseases.
When it comes to the health of older adults, resources matter: 1) in wealthier communities, health indicators are generally better than the state average; and 2) in less resourced, mostly urban areas, health indicators are generally worse than the state average. Nonetheless, our data also show communities where normally dominant socioeconomic levels seem to be offset by other factors driving health in either better or worse directions.”
According to the Providence Journal, “after Tufts produced a similar study for Massachusetts in 2014 … the report was used to persuade policy makers to invest $1 million in 2015 in evidence-based programs at senior citizens centers to improve healthy aging.”