For some folks considering a move in retirement, it might take more than the songs of Billy Joel and Frank Sinatra to get them to hop aboard a Greyhound bus destined for New York, New York. Many will be concerned about crime and the cost of living, but there is more to the city than, well, the city! The state is relatively diverse and ranges from beach towns near the Atlantic to quaint shops along the Great Lakes. Sadly, most of us will only ever really think of the namesake city, but older adults should still consider the state as the government and healthcare systems are becoming increasingly more robust and senior-friendly.
New York boasts the fourth largest over-65 population within the United States, which is really no surprise when with an overall population of 19 million persons. What’s more, that segment of older adults continues to grow year-over-year by nearly 2% and now stands at well over 3 million people. With so many older adults it is no wonder that the state continues to grow its medical alert response systems, connectivity and overall urgent care network across multiple providers. Both the public and private sectors are increasingly trying to ensure seniors are covered no matter where they go by increasing understanding and awareness around high-tech gadgets like GPS trackers.
New York, like most heavily populated states, suffers from some slower-than-average emergency response times. More specifically, the state averages a 20-minute wait in the emergency room followed by 158 minutes spent waiting to be admitted or, conversely, 162 minutes spent waiting to be discharged. The time to have a broken bone treated is also on the high end at 57 minutes. In order to combat such long wait times, smart or wearable medical alert devices that store critical medical information might be an advantage when an older adult is in queue at the hospital. Another option might also be to maintain an in-home subscription service that could pass along pertinent medical information so you can adequate care in a timely fashion.
For all its many flaws, New York ranked relatively well on both the U.S. News & World Report as well as the McKinsey & Company health care review placing 15th and 13th, respectively. The former ranked the stated third overall for public health care access, but followed that mark up with a dismal 38th place ranking for quality of health care. The latter report was less imbalanced with a the state ranking #17 for older adult dental care, #11 for wellness visits, #18 for overall health care affordability and #19 for health insurance enrollment. Despite the middling marks, New York continues to invest heavily in its health care system and spends, on average, $9,778 per year per citizen.
New York may have scored poorly for quality of health care, but the state has invested a tremendous amount of time, energy and funding in its namesake Office for the Aging, or NYSOFA. This agency is bridging the divide between traditional types of long-term care and more informal in-home care packages. NYSOFA offers help understanding Medicare, Medicaid and potential scams targeting older adults. Other programs and services include access to transportation, senior farmers markets nutrition programs, chronic disease self-management education campaigns and socialization schemes to get elders out and about in their local communities. The state also encourages seniors to take a more active role in their end of life planning. This can be a tricky topic to broach, but one that needs to be considered so that the senior can get back to living their best life possible.
While New York does not offer an outright in-home or mobile medical alert system, these devices are supported throughout the state and are highly recommended for use by the frail or those likely to need immediate medical assistance. A subscription-based service is a great option for those in the country or city since an older adult in the throes of an emergency can simply press a button to get in touch with customer service representatives that have ready access to their medical conditions and who can pass those details along to first responders. The states does have great public transportation, but when push comes to shove an ambulance crew could definitely benefit from knowing that they do not have to access the individual at the scene, but, instead, simply arrive and begin immediate care. Regardless of the option you choose to go with, the peace of mind that comes with a medical alert system might just keep you enjoying the “Big Apple” more and more each day.