Title: Exploring older adults' personal and social vulnerability in a disaster

Authors: Robyn Tuohy, Christine Stephens

Addresses: School of Psychology, Massey University, Private Bag 11 222, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand. ' School of Psychology, Massey University, Private Bag 11 222, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand

Abstract: Older adults are a demographic group that is more likely to experience negative impacts resulting from a disaster than other age groups. Age-related disabilities and the impact of social conditions can influence vulnerability to a disaster event. This paper explores the concept of personal and social vulnerability based on case studies of older adults who experienced a flood disaster. It describes and analyses the disaster-related experiences of those in a rest home population and those living independently in the community. The goal was to provide both an individual and a socio-cultural perspective based on older adults| narratives about the flood, which explored the challenges that emerged for this age group. The research findings highlight how emergency preparedness planning must take into account the age-related needs of older adults with regards to the personal and social resources they have available.

Keywords: frail adults; rest homes; care homes; older adults; emergency management; disaster preparedness; social vulnerability; personal vulnerability; narrative; elderly; old people; disaster management; crisis management; flood disasters; floods; emergency preparedness; emergency planning; age-related needs.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEM.2011.040399

International Journal of Emergency Management, 2011 Vol.8 No.1, pp.60 - 73

Published online: 25 May 2011 *

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