Social and economic isolation of senior citizens as a disaster issue
The main difficulties faced by elderly citizens in disasters tend to include social and economic isolation (including access to resources) and physical and mental health issues. One study explored two different disaster phases (preparedness and response) in two different countries. It noted that the issues the elderly participants identified were similar: “Both groups identified issues related to protecting the rights of the older person and preventing loss of independence in responding and preparing for a disaster, mistrust of government and access to resources and all expressed strong feelings of self-responsibility”. The authors interviewed nine people aged at least 60 years, who had all been affected by a range of disasters on the east coast of the USA. The authors acknowledged that “while NGO agency perspectives are obvious, those of the older population are not. It is still not clear whether they are getting what they need, want and expect”.
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