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How Hurricane Sandy can impact seniors

Posted by RHHAdmin on Nov 1, 2012 7:58:00 AM

Hurricane Sandy devastated most of the East Coast, leaving people of all ages susceptible to trauma. With millions of Americans still without power and some people unable to move from their homes, many individuals are wondering what they can do to help.

Seniors especially may be at a greater risk due to Sandy's wrath. Scientists came up with this theory after looking at research that was conducted after natural disasters. According to the Gerontological Society of America (GSA), the elderly were most at risk with Hurricane Katrina and an earthquake in Wenchuan, China. With Katrina, more than three-fourths of the people who died were over the age of 60. The earthquake increased the rate of one-year mortality for nearby residents who were in their 90s.

The study's authors said one of the dangers could be that those who respond to crisis situations are unfortunately not prepared to handle seniors' needs, which could cause greater harm.

"Right now, most people who are responding to the hurricane are not trained in the needs of older adults," said Dr. Lisa M. Brown, 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."

Additionally, the scientists report there will be an interest group held during the GSA's Annual Scientific Meeting, where people will discuss exactly why seniors are more vulnerable during disasters.

Although Sandy was a unique storm for the East Coast, there are areas where hurricanes and other weather events are much more prevalent. It's a good idea for seniors living in these heavily affected places to look into getting them a home health care worker to help with the situation.

Having a home care companion can be beneficial in a number of ways. For example, if a senior is living home alone when a disaster hits, they may not be able to call for help. However, if their care attendant is nearby, they can assess the situation and give a helpful hand where it is needed. Some elderly individuals may qualify for government assistance in the program, and are encouraged to look at Medicare's offerings to see if they're able to get help.

Residential Home Health is a leading provider of in-home nursing and therapy care throughout Michigan and Illinois. In addition to home health care, Residential’s continuum of care includes Residential Hospice and Healthy Living Medical Supply. If you are interested in learning more about the home care services Residential provides, please call 866-902-4000 or visit www.residentialhomehealth.com.

Topics: Health News