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Looking At The Needs Of Older Adults In The Event Of A Major Disaster

Lisa Barry

Each year, the Aging Studies Program at Eastern Michigan University brings in a special speaker for an annual lecture event.  This year, students, faculty, and community members heard from Dr. Allison Gibson, assistant professor in the college of social work at the University of Kentucky.  She shares her message in a conversation with 89.1 WEMU's Lisa Barry.

Dr. Gibson's message focused on how older adults are impacted by disasters and how to help them.  She said, in many cases, they are disproportionately affected by major events like hurricanes, wildfires, and floods, and, with an aging population, it is helpful to have some information and perspective on what to do.

The title of Dr. Gibson's presentation for the 2018 Aging Studies Program Lecture was "Key Themes for Older Adults in Disasters Preparedness, Recovery and Response."

Dr. Gibson's lecture focused on the effect of aging, vulnerability, and resilience following a disaster. saying both are multidimensional and complex.  This presentation provided practical information from the perspective of diverse practice settings (e.g., community-based programs, long-term care services) on how best to support the planning, response, and recovery of older adults affected by disaster.

The presentation described best practices and organizational planning considerations related to the unique needs of this population.  To highlight key issues, case scenarios were used to illustrate the importance of emergency responders, organizational response, and initiating relationships and partnerships in advance of an emergency or disaster.

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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at lbarryma@emich.edu

Lisa Barry was a reporter, and host of All Things Considered on 89.1 WEMU.
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