New research has found that older adults are more vulnerable and experience more casualties after natural disasters compared to other age groups.
Based on a review of the latest evidence and legislation on disaster preparedness, response and recovery for older adults, the report was produced by members of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council and the American Academy of Nursing Policy Expert Round Table on Emergency/Disaster Preparedness for Older Adults.
Being prepared for disasters is important for people of all ages. But, there are several factors that make older adults more vulnerable, including:
The research also identifies strategies and resources to improve both disaster preparedness among older adults and response efforts. A clear need exists for greater disaster preparedness and response education, and the standardization of protocols for health care professionals and emergency responders.
To help address these gaps, the report includes evidence-informed expert recommendations such as:
The report and its recommendations have been endorsed by both the American Red Cross and the American Academy of Nursing. As a result of the report findings, the Red Cross will update its resources for older adults, people with aging family members and caretakers.
The co-chairs of this research project were Samir K. Sinha MD, DPhil, FRCPC, AGSF (member of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council; Director of Geriatrics at Sinai Health System and University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario; Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Associate Professor in the Departments of Medicine, Family and Community Medicine and the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto, Ontario) and Wanda Raby Spurlock, DNS, RN-BC, CNE, FNGNA, ANEF, FAAN (member of the American Academy of Nursing’s Aging Expert Panel and Emergency/Disaster Preparedness Sub-Committee; Professor at the College of Nursing and Allied Health, Southern University and A&M College, Baton Rouge, Louisiana). Nicoda Foster MPH, PhD(c) (member of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council; Office of the Director of Geriatrics at Sinai Health System and the University Health Network Toronto, Ontario) served as project manager.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.
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