250586 Aging in Displacement: Assessing Health Status of Displaced Older Adults in the Republic of Georgia

Monday, October 31, 2011: 1:24 PM

Courtland Robinson, PhD , Center for Refugee and Disaster Response, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Namrita Singh, MSc , Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Paul Clayton Perrin, MPH , Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Nana Sumbadze, PhD , Institute for Policy Studies, Tbilisi, Georgia
Judith Bass , Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
George W. Rebok, MA PhD , Department of Mental Health, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Older adults displaced by natural disaster or conflict have been largely overlooked in humanitarian emergencies, and their physical and mental health conditions are too poorly measured. Displacement has also become an increasingly protracted experience: by 2004, the average length of displacement in 30 humanitarian crises worldwide was 17 years. In the Republic of Georgia roughly 230,000 people have been displaced for over 16 years; of these, nearly 30% are aged 60 or older and three-quarters live in urban areas. Renewed conflict in August 2008 displaced another group of 26,000 with similar age and settlement patterns. Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health are collaborating with the Institute for Policy Studies in Tbilisi, Georgia to conduct a one-year, mixed-methods study from August 2010 to July 2011. The first phase of the study has included include formative, qualitative research to develop, pilot then validate an assessment tool to measure physical and mental health status of displaced older adults. The second phase of the study will involve implementation of a 30-cluster, 900-household sample survey of displaced older adults, stratifying by urban and non-urban, and “protracted” and shorter-term populations. This will be supplemented by a small study of around 50 Chechen refugees. The third phase of the study will focus on disseminating key findings for health and humanitarian programs in Georgia as well as broader recommendations for humanitarian policies and programs for displaced older adults. Results of all three phases of the study will be summarized and presented to session participants

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the physical and mental health risks and vulnerabilites of displaced older adults in the Republic of Georgia and to compare the health of older adults in rural vs. urban settings, and shorter-term vs. long-term displacement. 2. Discuss the results of a mixed-methods study to assess the prevalence of physical and mental health problems among displaced older adults, using a validated instrument developed for the study 3.Review guidelines for measuring physical and mental health status of older adults displaced by natural and human-made disasters and discuss how study findings could improve program and policy interventions for healthier aging in displacement.

Keywords: Vulnerable Populations, Elderly

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be an Abstract Author as I am Principal Investigator of this and other studies on vulnerable displaced populations, including older adults
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.