Utah ranks high in number of happy, healthy senior citizens

Jun 23, 2023, 12:00 PM

You might think it's Florida or Arizona, but a new study ranks Utah as the top state for happy, hea...

FILE: Nancy Athay is a study in intensity as she plays the cello at BYU's New Horizons Orchestra (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

(Tom Smart, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — You might think it’s Florida or Arizona, but a new study ranks Utah as the top state for happy, healthy senior citizens. 

And, Utah Department of Health and Human Services Program Manager Nichole Shepard told KSL@Night that the ranking has a lot to do with the benefits available in Utah for seniors. 


This is the place

The new information comes from United Health Foundation’s 2023 Senior Report, which measures the overall health of seniors. 

Shepard says health is impacted by factors in the areas where we live, where we work, and play. 

“And Utah has a lot to offer by way of scenery and space,” says Shepard. “And you know, the landscape that we have from our arches to our lakes, it keeps us all active for a long time in comparison to more of our metropolitan states…”

Utah benefits

Like most states, Utah has pockets of people who aren’t getting access to the services and resources that are available to them Shepard said. But the number is smaller than other states. 

“…Utah has a very strong social and economic community. And by that, I mean, we have a low risk for social isolation, because really, people in Utah tend to have strong social support systems, and they really just know their neighbors.”

The report also found that Utah’s food insecurity among seniors has dropped in the last few years from 10.7% to 7.4% while some states saw that figure increase. 

Combatting social isolation

Additionally, the report showed high-speed internet access was 1.2 times higher in Utah than in the state with the lowest access.

“This increase in high-speed internet access ensures that as we age, we still have connections to our family and our friends. While it doesn’t replace the face-to-face contact, it still allows access to virtual appointments and conversations with your loved ones,” said Sheperd. 

Furthermore, Utah has the lowest risk of social isolation in the country.

To find out more about the services and programs for seniors go to the Department of Health and Human Services website.

Related reading: 

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Utah ranks high in number of happy, healthy senior citizens