Older Adults at Risk After Storm
The Gerontological Society of America warns that based on data from other recent natural disasters, older adults left in the wake of Hurricane Sandy are likely to suffer disproportionately in the days ahead. Fully ¾ of those who died as a result of Hurricane Katrina were over the age of 60.
“Right now, most people who are responding to the hurricane are not trained in the needs of older adults,” said Lisa M. Brown, PhD, a co-convener of GSA’s Disasters and Older Adults Interest Group and an associate professor at the University of South Florida. “Likewise, very few geriatricians and gerontologists are trained in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery.”
Along with Maggie Gibson, PhD, of St. Joseph’s Health Care London in Ontario, Canada, Brown will co-chair an upcoming symposium, “Older Adults and Disasters: Are Gerontologists Paying Attention?” in San Diego. During this session, expert presenters will discuss the social, mental, and physical health concerns of older adults at all stages of a disaster and explain the critical role of gerontologists in shaping public health preparedness and responsiveness to disasters.
In the meantime, The American Red Cross, at www.redcross.org, is accepting donations to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy and encouraging people to give blood.