2 thoughts on “Older Adults Not Well Prepared for Natural Disasters

  1. All good points, John.

    I always like to point out that many of the Red Cross Volunteers, FEMA Reservists, and other spontaneous volunteers are 65 or older. So, many older folks are providing help and not needing it.

  2. I’ll be interested in reading the full report. Based on the facts I do know, I think there need to be some caveats.

    • There have been studies of previous disasters that found that the retired recovered better than those younger. In fact, it was those still working who appeared to have a harder time of it.
    • The “elderly” is hardly a monolithic demographic. There is the younger “go-go” cohort, the older “go-slow” cohort, and the really old “no-go” cohort. “Preparedness” has very different meanings for each.
    • While I’ve seen the Katrina example used before, it appears that a major slice of those elder deaths was caused by a lack of preparations for handling pets. Others simply didn’t have any connections – contemporaries had died out, children weren’t in contact …
    • Based on work by Rick Weil (LSU), connections are key for recovering from disaster (and – I believe – for positively adapting to any change). The “preparedness” of any group is probably not as relevant as whether its members are effectively connected to others.

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