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Am J Public Health. 2014 Mar;104(3):506-11. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301559. Epub 2014 Jan 16.

Preparedness for natural disasters among older US adults: a nationwide survey.

Author information

  • 1The authors are with the Department of Epidemiology, University of Iowa College of Public Health, Iowa City.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

We sought to determine natural disaster preparedness levels among older US adults and assess factors that may adversely affect health and safety during such incidents.

METHODS:

We sampled adults aged 50 years or older (n = 1304) from the 2010 interview survey of the Health and Retirement Study. The survey gathered data on general demographic characteristics, disability status or functional limitations, and preparedness-related factors and behaviors. We calculated a general disaster preparedness score by using individual indicators to assess overall preparedness.

RESULTS:

Participant (n = 1304) mean age was 70 years (SD = 9.3). Only 34.3% reported participating in an educational program or reading materials about disaster preparation. Nearly 15% reported using electrically powered medical devices that might be at risk in a power outage. The preparedness score indicated that increasing age, physical disability, and lower educational attainment and income were independently and significantly associated with worse overall preparedness.

CONCLUSIONS:

Despite both greater vulnerability to disasters and continuous growth in the number of older US adults, many of the substantial problems discovered are remediable and require attention in the clinical, public health, and emergency management sectors of society.

PMID:
24432877
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3953784
[Available on 2015/3/1]
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