Empowerment of senior citizens in disasters


Elderly citizens also have capacities that can be useful and better supported in disaster situations, but that may be overlooked. HelpAge International recommends that, because of their wealth of experience, they may make more effective leaders during the response stage, and/or “encourage conflict resolution and community justice, and foster problem solving”. The report also suggests that older people may have greater experience-based coping capacities that can be passed on to others in the community, with regard to, for example, “traditional survival systems” and “appropriate technologies”. They can help maintain links to the past, as a coping strategy. Their “sense of history can help preserve communities’ cultural and social identity, even in situations such as refugee camps, where corrosive ‘camp culture’ can predominate”. The report also points out that: “older people are more likely to be aid givers than receivers”, giving practical help such as childcare and providing an additional family income.

Note: See source document for full reference.

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