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Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2009 Nov;17(11):916-24. doi: 10.1097/JGP.0b013e3181b4bf20.

AAGP position statement: disaster preparedness for older Americans: critical issues for the preservation of mental health.

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School of Medicine, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, TN 38105, USA.


The Disaster Preparedness Task Force of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry was formed after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans to identify and address needs of the elderly after the disaster that led to excess health disability and markedly increased rates of hopelessness, suicidality, serious mental illness (reported to exceed 60% from baseline levels), and cognitive impairment. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) outlines risk groups which fail to address later effects from chronic stress and loss and disruption of social support networks. Range of interventions recommended for Preparation, Early Response, and Late Response reviewed in the report were not applied to elderly for a variety of reasons. It was evident that addressing the needs of elderly will not be made without a stronger mandate to do so from major governmental agencies (Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA] and SAMHSA). The recommendation to designate frail elderly and dementia patients as a particularly high-risk group and a list of specific recommendations for research and service and clinical reference list are provided.

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