Natural Disasters and the Elderly

I just came across a fascinating article published this month by Wynne Parry in Live Science regarding the effect of natural disasters on the elderly.

Heat waves, storm flooding aggravated by rising sea levels and other extreme events associated with climate change can affect everyone when they hit, but the danger isn’t shared equally.

One segment of the population — the elderly — is particularly vulnerable when disaster strikes.

In Louisiana, about 71 percent of those who died as a result of Hurricane Katrina were older than 60, and nearly half were older than 75, according to a 2006 federal report. About two weeks after Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012, the New York Times reported that close to half of those who died in the storm were 65 or older. Many of these elderly victims drowned at home; others died from storm-related injuries, hypothermia and other causes.

The Brooklyn Verrazano Bridge during Hurricane Sandy
The Brooklyn Verrazano Bridge during Hurricane Sandy

We are intimately aware of the effects of Sandy on the senior population in the barrier islands of NJ. During this time, Regency facilities provided a crucial safe haven for the many elderly evacuees from both the local hospitals and the community.

Regency Founder and President, David Gross, worked hand in hand with senior hospital officials, to accept many elderly patients under relaxed guidelines and with utmost compassion and dedication. Regency nursing centers were thus a beacon of hope for entire communities during these trying times.

So why are disasters so difficult on the elderly?

Click here to read the article.

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