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Geriatr Gerontol Int. 2012 Jul;12(3):524-31. doi: 10.1111/j.1447-0594.2011.00778.x. Epub 2011 Nov 28.

At-home disaster preparedness of elderly people in Hong Kong.

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School of Nursing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong.



The present study aims to explore the concerns relating to disasters among the elderly in Hong Kong, as well as the extent and predictive factors of their preparedness for disasters. The elderly are considered a vulnerable population, without the ability to protect themselves during disasters. Their accurate perception and preparedness for disasters can minimize damage to their health or threats to their lives when disasters strike.


Elderly people who had installed an emergency call service in Hong Kong were contacted by telephone for an interview between the months of June to September 2010.


A total of 1137 questionnaires were analyzed for the present study. Elderly people considered major transport accidents (54.3%), fires (47.9%) and storms/flooding (41.5%) as the disasters most likely to occur in Hong Kong. In preparing for disasters, many of the elderly reported having a survival pack easily accessible (86.9%), knowing how to shut down the water, gas and electricity (79.2%), and knowing how to contact their family members (54%). A total of 255 (22.4%) elderly people were classified as being prepared for disaster. Those who were born in Hong Kong (OR = 1.471), living with other family members (OR = 1.742), had neighbors to provide support (OR = 2.92) and perceived themselves as having the ability to help themselves (OR = 1.34) were more prepared for disasters.


The majority of elderly people are not prepared for disasters. Health professionals working with the elderly should recognize their characteristics and develop strategies to cater to their special needs in preparing for disasters.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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