Seniors and Disasters
Traumatic incidents occur on an almost daily basis. Older adults are the most vulnerable population in a disaster. First responders and caregivers provide immediate assistance but it is what occurs in the aftermath that should be of great concern. Knowing how to deal with these incidents and understanding how PTSD can impact seniors is necessary for aftercare.
Whether they are in independent housing or assisted living facilities, the ability to recover from a traumatic event deals mostly with the person and the mental and physical state they are in after the event. They are forced to move from their homes, separated from friends and neighbors, and uprooted from their sense of comfort. Additionally, many seniors are on medication and may suffer from chronic illnesses. For these reasons, it is important to make sure seniors receive the same level of care and attention after the traumatic event as during.
In order to serve the senior population during a traumatic event, emergency planners have to plan effectively for them. This requires consideration of their physical and mental needs. Suggestions for providing adequate aftercare:
- Get medical attention as soon as possible.
- Find some familiar comforts of home.
- Identify needed medications and try to supply them as quickly as possible.
- Locate family and friends.
The senior population needs just as much help as others. The mental and physical toll of a disaster can weigh heavily on them. Creating programs that tailor assistance to the needs of the elderly can help to reduce stress and incidents of PTSD.