Health Status & Disparities

Older Adults

The population of adults aged 65 and over will double in the next 20 to 30 years.

The U.S., as well as the Kansas City metro area, is in the middle of a two or three decade rise in the number of older adults (65+) that will double their percent of the population to about 20 percent. This growing demographic will have a profound impact on the nation's and the region's, health care systems. Most of them will be insured through Medicare. They will also be prone to more diseases and infirmities of age.

The following chart shows that preventable hospitalizations, hospitalizations that can be prevented with good outpatient and at-home management, for the Medicare population are declining in every county, reflecting better care and better health outcomes. This is the case for both the White and Black population.  However, in 2014, Blacks still show a higher preventable hospitalization discharge rate than do Whites, indicating poorer health outcomes and/or poorer medical care.

Older adults, like the population as a whole, are seeing a substantial increase in depression.

Heart disease and cancer remain, by a wide margin, the primary causes of death of older adults at age 65 or over. However, the death rate for all causes, except accidents, is declining for older adults, including Alzheimer’s.

Data is the most current available as of September 2017.

Produced by the Mid-America Regional Council for the REACH Healthcare Foundation | ©