Dallas Help for Harvey
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CARING FOR THE ELDERLY AFTER A DISASTER

The government program Healthy People 2020 has the goal of improving older adults’ health, function, and quality of life.  Their program includes geriatric education, preventive health services, chronic illness services, and injury prevention.  These services help guarantee that older persons receive adequate support, appropriate care and treatment for their well-being.  They also recognize arising issues in health management of older persons such as the need for person-centered care planning, quality measure of care and monitoring of health conditions, fair pay and compensation for caregivers, and level of geriatric training for health professionals.  These concerns need to be incorporated in health care programs to ascertain that older persons, the people and community around them have the capacity to provide their specific needs for their holistic development.

Older persons need special consideration in emergency preparedness and the whole process of disaster risk reduction and management.  They should have emergency kits ready and should include their medicine, vitamins, identification, contact details of family and relatives, and other particulars.  Their families and caregivers should also be taught about how to get assistance or go to safe places during disaster.  The community should have elderly-friendly safe spaces that can accommodate them during emergencies.  The capacities of older persons need to be enhanced so that they can be prepared and we can mitigate adverse effects.

Education and training are important in caring for the elderly.  Healthcare professionals would know proper conduct, demeanor, and assistance when relating to elderly clients.  We should promote a culture of safety in the communities where our older persons belong.  There should be compassionate and patient-centered care for those who need health careespecially after experiencing a traumatic event such as a disaster.  At the end of the day, a responsible health care program for older persons would ensure their holistic development and would respond to their dynamic concerns relating to their physical, mental, social, economic, and spiritual needs to pave the way for their over-all well-being.

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