Hurricane Sandy Highlights Vulnerability of Senior Population
As Hurricane Sandy demonstrated earlier this month, natural disasters can cause a number of unforeseen circumstances, and that is especially true when it comes to senior care. Older adults are often hit harder by storms and blizzards because they have to grapple with multiple chronic conditions, mobility issues and sometimes cognitive decline, reports The New York Times.
The statistics are pretty clear. Approximately 37.5 percent of the people killed in New York City from Hurricane Sandy were over 60, but only 17.2 percent of the population is from that age group.
“What makes you at risk isn’t that you’re 75,” Jennifer Campbell, former director of the Hurricane Fund for the Elderly, told the Times. “It’s that you have arthritis that makes it difficult to walk more than a block.”
Another problem is that many resources for disaster preparedness are geared toward younger adults. Logging online or walking to an evacuation center a mile away may seem easy for healthier individuals, but it is not as simple for an older adult with Parkinson’s.
This places some of the burden on home care providers or family members of the elderly. Make a plan that includes having enough food and water on hand, as well as emergency supplies. It’s also important to ensure everyone knows what to do in the worst case scenario.