Texas Hurricane Again Highlights How Natural Disasters Impact Older Residents

you can read all my blog posts at http://www.generationsofnewyork.com

The shocking pictures from Houston of seniors in wheelchairs sitting in flood water in a nursing home illustrated again how difficult it is for older persons when a natural disaster strikes.  Obviously, nursing home residents are totally dependent on staff and others to help them and fortunately, all of those in the Houston nursing home were moved out.  Imagine though the tremendous personal stress of re-location.

In addition to those who are in nursing homes, many older residents living in their own homes also had to struggle to be rescued and there were many pictures of older residents being airlifted.  Of course, children and all residents were in danger but the limited physical mobility of persons of any age with chronic illness endangered them in this situation which overwhelmed and surprised the City of Houston and the surrounding area.

Of course, New Yorkers are familiar with the natural disaster of Hurricane Sandy which left many New York City seniors in high rises without power and also some nursing home residents had to be re-located.  As always, when tragedy and disaster strike it is the incredible heroics of first responders and community services staff who save the day for many people.  I remember hearing about how workers for senior organizations delivered meals by walking up steps in high rises because the elevators weren’t working.

Isn’t it ironic how these tragedies have at least for the time being brought people closer together in these divisive times?  Neighbors help each other regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, age, sexual identity or political belief.    Maybe the  generosity of spirit we have been seeing can be a lesson that will soften the divisive political climate.

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I have been a senior advocate for most of my career. I was Executive Director of the New York StateWide Senior Action Council and the New York State Alliance for Retired Americans. In 2007-2010 I was the Director of the New York State Office for the Aging

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