142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Older Adults & Disasters: Findings from Hurricane Sandy

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Monday, November 17, 2014 : 1:30 PM - 1:45 PM

Lindsay Goldman, L.M.S.W. , Department of Health Policy, New York Academy of Medicine, New York, NY
During, and in the weeks that followed Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, tens of thousands of older adults remained isolated and trapped in dark, unheated houses and high-rises without sufficient food, running water, or medical assistance. Twenty-five of the 44 reported deaths in New York City were people over age 60.

In response, The New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM) convened a multi-sector Older Adults & Disasters Policy Advisory Committee and engaged in a range of data-gathering activities to establish a comprehensive understanding of the needs and assets of older adults in disasters, as evidenced by Hurricane Sandy. Methods included: a review of peer-reviewed and grey literature on older adults and disasters; an analysis of population-based and Sandy-specific data collected by partner organizations; a mapping of areas with high concentrations of older people who may be vulnerable during a disaster; interviews with 58 key informants whose expertise included disaster management, healthcare, real estate, and social work; and 14 focus groups with older adults and frontline responders in seriously affected communities.

This presentation will highlight the findings and recommendations that have emerged from our research to improve the outcomes of future catastrophic events for older adults in urban areas. We propose a community resilience approach to disasters that underscores the role of social capital in contrast to the traditional, often unattainable ideal of individual preparedness that focuses on personal stockpiling and checklists.

Learning Areas:

Program planning
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify the disaster-related needs of community-dwelling older adults in urban areas. Describe the roles played by community-dwelling older adults during the preparedness, response, and recovery phases of Hurricane Sandy. Compare a community resilience framework for older people in disasters with a traditional individual preparedness framework. List assets, resources and strategies to support older adults in disasters, including those not typically activated in preparedness and response, which are essential features of resilient communities.

Keyword(s): Aging, Disasters

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have 12 years in the field of social work focusing on vulnerable populations, with 8 years of experience in aging services,administration,philanthropy,and policy. Additionally, I was on the front line of Hurricane Sandy response and recovery coordination for older adults in high-rise buildings in New York City. I managed the research project and co-authored the report that is the basis of this presentation.
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.