Report NV Seniors facing high rates of suicide from hunger / Public Press Service

New report shows Nevada seniors are 16th in the country for exercise. (AARP)

By Suzanne Potter – Producer, Contact

May 25, 2021

CARSON CITY, Nevada – New study shows Nevada’s seniors had some of the worst hunger and suicide rates in the country, even before the pandemic.

The 2021 America’s Health Rankings Main Report from the UnitedHealth Foundation and the Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association also showed that all of Nevada’s 65-pluss do not get enough sleep.

Favil West, founder and chairman of the nonprofit Assisting Seniors Foundation, blamed the financial problems.

“Taxes have gone up and the price of food and gasoline has gone up,” West observed. “And that causes a lot of pain for seniors on fixed incomes. If there are mental health issues, I would say most of it arises. The insecurity created by social security is not keeping pace.

The report also found that Nevada needs more health care providers, although there has been progress in this area, with a 32% jump between 2018 and 2020 in the number of geriatric service providers for 100,000 people over 65.

Jeffrey Klein, president and CEO of Nevada Senior Services, a nonprofit organization that provides adult day care and other services and a former member of the Commission on Aging and the Legislative Subcommittee of the Commission said the state’s population is aging rapidly, thanks to a massive influx of retirees in recent years. Many of them risk finding themselves isolated, with no family in Nevada to help them.

“They get to a point where they start to need resources,” Klein explained. “They don’t have the family support system on hand. And we don’t have the infrastructure in Nevada to support that.”

Dr Rhonda Randall, executive vice president and chief medical officer of UnitedHealthcare Employer and Individual, said Nevadans were ahead of the national average in several key areas.

“Some of the highlights are high-speed internet access,” Randal noted. “Nevada has one of the lowest rates of seniors with multiple chronic diseases. Physical inactivity is lower in Nevada, as is falls.”

Across the country, the report showed more seniors are getting the flu shot ahead of the pandemic. But he has also seen an increase in the rates of drug-related deaths, suicide and frequent mental distress.

Disclosure: United Healthcare contributes to our health issues reporting fund. If you would like to help support the news in the public interest, click here.
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