Louisiana is no longer the least healthy state for seniors, according to a report by United Health Foundation. The state rose three spots to 47th. But Advocacy Director for AARP Louisiana, Andrew Muhl says the Bayou State still has a ways to go in how we care for seniors.

He says Louisiana consistently ranks towards the bottom for chronic diseases.

“When you look at providers of all different types, I think you will see very poor health outcomes. Whether it’s obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and those sorts of things, we’re typically towards the bottom,” Muhl said.

The report finds Louisiana made strides in health screenings over the last two years, with 72 percent of seniors receiving recommended health screenings. Muhl says while we are making progress, we’re still stagnant in some key areas, like long term care. He says Louisiana ranks 49th for our nursing homes.

“The 50+ population overwhelmingly tells us that they want to live at home when they get older. They want to receive alternatives to nursing home care, and I think this is a large part of why that is,” Muhl said.

The Bayou State saw increases in the obesity rate and a decline in flu vaccination from 2013 to 2017, contributing to the low ranking. Muhl says Louisiana is behind the curve when it comes to implementing necessary reforms. He is hopeful lawmakers will approve a policy change to get seniors the managed long term services and support they need.

“This initiate would help nearly 30,000 individuals who have been waiting for long term care services at home, like skilled nursing, in-home modifications, home delivered meals,” Muhl said.