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New Report Shows That Detroit Older Adults Are Dying at Twice the Rate of All Older Adults in Michigan

In eight metro Detroit cities, older adults die at twice the rate of those living elsewhere in Michigan, according to an award-winning report, Dying Before Their Time, a 19-year analysis between n4a member the Detroit Area Agency on Aging (DAAA) and Wayne State University Medical School.

Multiple chronic illnesses, excessive hospitalizations and limited access to health care are among the reasons for this upward trend in death rates for older adults in the region. However, according to the study, these are just symptoms of the major underlying cause of excess deaths—social determinants of health such as access to adequate nutrition, housing, health care and social services, clean water supply, income, education, mental health services, jobs and overall neighborhood conditions.
 
In the eight metro Detroit cities highlighted in the report, older adults experienced significant decreases in life expectancy between 1970 and 2000, and the decline of mortality was already accelerating, researchers say. The death rate for adults age 50 to 59 in the region is 122 percent higher than the rate for older adults in the entire state—and is 48 percent higher for adults age 60-74. 
 
The study presents initial recommendations that stake steps toward reversing historic social, economic and health public policies and therefore centuries of racialized poverty. Additionally, the report's authors issue a call to action for advocacy and meaningful policy changes.
 
Read the report, Dying Before Their Time, to learn more.  

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