It might be a minute before you do not immediately associate Nevada with the likes of Las Vegas, Hunter S. Thompson and the Elvis of 1964, but do try to think beyond the little city in the southern reaches of the Silver State when it comes to retirement planning. The state has experienced a huge population boom since 2000 due to its many natural wonders and overall affordability.
Did you know the state of Nevada is ranked sixth for tax-friendly retirement locations? Nevada does not tax Social Security, pensions or estates and might be worth considering if you enjoy the high desert.
The booming population is not just for the younger crowd, as the segment that includes those aged 65 and over has increased by 53 percent since 2000. Consider: just from 2016 to 2017, that population went from 14.1 percent to 15 percent, or half a million people! That said, the ratio of doctors to older adult patients has fallen below the national average of one to 100,000 residents. This means that seniors should look to invest in medical monitoring equipment if they have a known condition that could result in unconsciousness, or if they just got out of hospital and are unsure of their limitations.
Additionally, those unfamiliar with Nevada need to do their research, as the population is sparse between major cities such as Reno and Las Vegas. This only adds to the argument that a long-range medical alert device is a solid investment for the Silver State-bound.
Of course, with an ever-increasing ratio of doctors to patients, one might assume that emergency response times would lag. This might be true for longer-term care, but is certainly not so when it comes to overall emergency responder time, which is fourth-best in the country at 14 minutes. The longer wait times are, however, seen during transfers (151 minutes), broken bone assessments (42 minutes) and door-to-door discharge time (another 150 minutes).
Most of this post-arrival queuing can be reduced when the senior in crisis have ready access to medical records or prescriptions. Many medical alert companies now store this data securely and, with your permission, pass it along to any of the state’s far-flung call centers to make sure you get the treatment you need fast!
The ever-growing populace does tax healthcare systems the state over, which led both U.S. News and McKinsey & Company surveys to rank the state 35th and 42nd across eight distinct categories. Of note, the Silver State ranked 42nd for health care access, 29th for quality of health care and 30th for public health. Nevada then rated 42nd for adult dental checkups, 31st for wellness visits, 43rd for affordability and 44th for insurance enrollment. The state’s spending on healthcare per capita per year is equally as dismal at $6,714, or third worst in the U.S.
Despite the poor overall health ratings in Nevada, the government does recognize that it needs to alleviate much of the strain on its already overworked and overtaxed systems. The state’s Department of Health & Human Services has a stand-alone division for seniors that focuses on advocating on behalf of elders, providing resources for the aging and disabled, offering community events, and assisting with transportation, medication regiments and insurance premiums.
Additionally, the state has partnered with its neighbor to the south (Arizona) and now offers emergency preparedness courses, respite care, employment programs and taxi-cab services.
The Silver State is more than just Las Vegas and the Hoover Dam, but does, admittedly, still have a long way to go in order to be an entirely, 100 percent senior-friendly destination. Nevada is making strides in boosting the number of first responders and medical personnel, as well as programs that go beyond state borders. Still, older adults should look to invest in monitoring devices, fall protection services and in-home base stations if they feel at risk or are worried about a fall.
Being able to age with dignity not only means less time spent under the supervision of a medical team, but also improved mood and a decreased likelihood of comorbidities. Oh, and more time at the slot machines, of course!