Elderly And Disasters

The first task in planning emergency services for the elderly is to understand that most seniors are not frail, sick, or dependent. Many are independent and resourceful and want to participate in the planning of their activities. Disaster literature indicates that the elderly tend to recover more successfully and more readily within a one-year period than other age groups. However, because some elderly do experience emotional reactions and stress, interveners in disaster areas must be prepared to identify and assist individuals in need.

Some factors influencing seniors when evacuation is necessary include:

  • Physical or mental disabilities
  • Lack of transportation
  • Resistance to leaving their homes because  of pets or fear of robbery

How to Help

  • Encourage them to mourn their losses
  • Involve them in planning services to meet  their needs
  • Allow them to talk about their experiences
  • Regular meals, supervision for medication