Yu: The community plays a key role in limiting the impact of weather-related emergencies on older people

In 2022, more than 20 emergencies or major disasters were declared in California due to weather or natural disasters. An unprecedented series of winter storms hitting the state resulted in 12-hour to two-week power outages for more than 7 million Californians and thousands of evacuation orders.

We often think of deposition or loss of power as temporary, and for many, this is true. But for others, such as older people with significant health and social needs, temporary displacement or permanent disruption can drastically compromise their long-term well-being. It is imperative that communities help local seniors prepare not only for the days immediately following a weather emergency, but also for the weeks or months of disruption that can have long-term effects on their physical and mental health.

Unfortunately, older Californians are increasingly affected by natural disasters. They are more likely to live in rural areas, where the risk of forest fires is higher. They are also more susceptible to heat-related illnesses, and climate assessments predict two to three times as many heat-related deaths in California in the coming years. And just as the likelihood of these dire events is growing, so is the older adult population. By 2030, one in five Californians will be over 65, putting them at greater risk of natural disasters.

The stress associated with these emergencies has many health implications for older people. The need for mental health care increases after natural disasters. Not surprisingly, the loss of a home contributes to depression and anxiety. When there are interruptions in transport and electricity, this can lead to interruptions in the provision of medical care at the estimated time. 85% of older adults with one or more chronic care needs such as diabetes, cancer or heart disease, and these adults feel much worse when a natural disaster strikes. Failure to refill prescriptions or replace medical supplies such as oxygen tanks or insulin strips can result in adverse health effects from which recovery may be difficult or impossible.

In my time as an advocate for community health care for the elderly in California, I have learned that one missed step in daily care can be disastrous. I have also seen first hand how communities play a critical role in ensuring that older people recover from some of the consequences of these life-changing events.

On a broader level, local governments can do their best to integrate evacuation planning that prioritizes the preservation of social groups by moving neighborhoods rather than individual households. When older people maintain their family social ties, such as with neighbors or loved ones, rates of post-disaster mental illness and cognitive decline are lower, and overall health is higher in post-disaster years.

But the community also plays an integral role in providing chronic emergency care after a disaster. Offering your neighbors a ride to appointments or picking up prescriptions when normal transportation is disrupted can help prevent a number of health complications. To help, you need to have a clear plan. A written list of short-term and long-term medical and wellness needs before an emergency occurs can be critical when it occurs. Help a family member, friend, or neighbor fill out this free downloadable resource to meet their needs and preferences.

Growing up in California, I have experienced the power of our communities coming together in these important and sometimes life-changing times. But we cannot wait until those moments come to act; we must act now to prepare the most vulnerable members of our community. Planning and preparation can very well save a life.

Wil Yu is the general manager of CCA Health California, a Medicare Advantage Plan.

Source link

About Allen Whyte

I'm Allen Whyte, a writer for suboonews.xyz with 5 years of experience. I love bringing you the latest news and stories from around the world. Join me on this exciting journey as we explore the fascinating world we live in!

Check Also

Do you want to be happy? Here are the secrets to stimulating the hormone of well-being

Stimulating joy and happiness is possible. There is a group of hormones on the clinical ... Read more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *