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Keeping Iowa a great place for seniors

October 9, 2014
By State Senator Steve Sodders - D-State Center , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Did you know that Iowa is among America's top ten Best Places to Retire? There are many good reasons for seniors to choose Iowa as their home. Topping the list are Iowa's relatively low cost of living and great health care, according to Bankrate.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality puts Iowa among the best states in the country for health care quality, noting our state's exceptional hospital, nursing home and ambulatory care. Iowa also rates well when it comes to meeting the long-term care needs of older residents, according to the latest State Scorecard on Long-Term Services.

America's Health Rankings Senior Report shows Iowa seniors are healthier than those in most other states. Some of our successes include excellent flu vaccination coverage, low hospital deaths and high volunteer rates among older Iowans.

Article Photos

State Senator Steve Sodders
D-State Center

However, Iowa seniors still face challenges. AARP and other groups say more needs to be done to improve long-term care, including expanding services provided in Iowa homes and communities rather than nursing homes. A high percentage of nursing home residents in Iowa have low care needs that could be more cost-effectively handled at home, where most seniors say they'd prefer to be.

Unfortunately, the State Scorecard on Long-Term Services shows that in-home caregivers are not easy to come by in Iowa. Our state ranks 48th in percentage of home health and personal care aides for older Iowans, leaving family members feeling stressed and worried for their own health and livelihood as they provide unpaid care for loved ones.

I am hopeful that the Legislature will continue to ensure a great quality of life for older Iowans so that more seniors choose Iowa as their home.



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