Some states still have way too many people who could live in regular homes taking up nursing home beds.

But a look at the latest senior health data from the Minnetonka, Minn.-based United Health Foundation shows that the situation may look better now than it looked a year ago.

Related: 10 states that may be wasting nursing home beds

Some older people who are frail or who have severe problems with handling the activities of daily living may be suffering alone for lack of desperately needed long-term care services.

Meanwhile, other people who could live on their own with a little help with transportation, shopping and laundry might be trapped in nursing homes because the rules for their Medicaid benefits, or, occasionally, their private long-term care insurance benefits, may reduce or eliminate their benefits if they live somewhere other than a nursing home.

Related: 5 cheapest states for adult day health care

A year ago, when foundation analysts compiled data on the percentage of nursing home residents classified as “low care” in each state, the percentages for the five states with the worst numbers ranged from 19 percent to 27 percent. 

This year, the range for the five lowest-ranking states is 18 percent to 23 percent. That suggests that the worst outliers might be doing a better job of helping people stay in the community.

For a look at the five states that rank at the bottom of the list this year, read on:

Illinois is one of the tip states in the country for nursing home residency.

(Photo: iStock)

5. Illinois

Percentage of nursing home residents classified as “low care”: 18 percent 

Related: 10 worst states to retire rich

People tend to stay in nursing homes for a long time in Montana.

(Photo: iStock) 

4. Montana

Percentage of nursing home residents classified as “low care”: 19 percent 

Related: The 10 fattest states in America

People tend to stay in nursing homes for a long time in Kansas.

(Photo: iStock)

3. Kansas

Percentage of nursing home residents classified as “low care”: 20 percent 

Related: The 10 states where insurance costs the most

Missouri welcome sign

(Photo: iStock)

2. Missouri

Percentage of nursing home residents classified as “low care”: 24 percent 

Related: 10 worst states for employer-provided retirement plans

Greetings from Oklahoma stamp

(Photo: iStock)

1. Oklahoma

Percentage of nursing home residents classified as “low care”: 23 percent 

 

See also: 

10 states where workers went to hell

10 states where people with money binge drink

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