PBS and NPR for Southwest Florida
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Florida Ranks 24th For Healthiest Aging Adults

U.S. Census Bureau

Florida ranks 24th in the United States for being the healthiest states for aging adults, according to the 2016 America’s Health Ranking Senior Report.

It's an improvement of three spots from last year, when Florida came in at number 27.

Massachusetts was ranked healthiest for aging adults and Louisiana was at the bottom of the list.

The report highlighted some of Florida’s strengths within the senior community, such as high percentage of diabetes management and low prevalence of obesity and falls.

Patty Suarez, vice president of Hillsborough County's Senior Connection Center, said she wasn’t surprised at the state's ranking in regards to falls, a major health concern for aging people.

“I'm not surprised that we're in the middle and I have a feeling that as time goes on we're going to be improving in that area because it is a concerted effort that we're placing on falls prevention throughout the state of Florida,” she said.

The report also lists excessive drinking, low availability of home healthcare workers, and low flu vaccination coverage as challenges seniors in Florida face.

One area where Suarez thinks Florida should improve is on the state's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program that provides financial help to pay for groceries.  

“Many seniors are not taking advantage of the help that is available,” she said. “For example, in 2014, about 24 percent of seniors in the Tampa Bay area were eligible for SNAP, also known as food stamps, but only about half of those eligible seniors were taking advantage of that benefit. We are working towards heightening awareness of these benefits to seniors who qualify and improving their access to food.”

Copyright 2020 WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7. To see more, visit .

Naomi Prioleau is a WUSF News Fellow for the summer of 2016.