As seniors learned from hurricanes like Katrina and Ike, a hurricane can cause great damage in no time at all. They also can have lasting effects on seniors in terms of financial stress, health concerns, the loss of property and more.
Special Needs for Evacuation
First, some seniors may require special transportation services to vacate an area afflicted by a natural disaster. Improving alert systems could help solve part of the complications that seniors face with this issue. Oftentimes, seniors end up remaining in the path of an oncoming storm simply because they either are not alerted in time or cannot gain access to transportation. This can be dangerous because if flood waters threaten their homes, they can drown. Instances of this happened during Katrina and other recent hurricanes.
Loss of Material Goods and Intangibles
It is important that seniors understand the importance of having an insurance policy in the event of a natural disaster. When a storm strikes, it often is not feasible to take all of your belongings with you and out of harm's way. Because of this, many seniors end up with damage and loss when it comes to material items. Seniors can prevent some of this financial loss by keeping their insurance policies up-to-date.
Property Loss or Damage
Perhaps the worst thing that can happen to seniors during a hurricane, besides death or injury, is the loss of or damage to their homes and property. The direct and indirect effects of a hurricane can bring about various types of damage such as structural damage, flood damage, fire and smoke damage and more. Seniors should be sure that home insurance is kept up-to-date, including insurance against natural disasters such as flooding.
Possibility of Moving or Starting Over
Sometimes once the storm is over, seniors may relocate or start over by rebuilding. This can be either by personal choice or out of circumstance. The costs associated with moving or rebuilding in the current location can put a financial strain on seniors. Many seniors are living off of Social Security payments and may not have extra money stored away for such an added expense.
Effects on Health
According to the Houston Chronicle, during Hurricane Ike, many senior citizens wondered if they could survive through the mass power outage that occurred as a result. In Ike's aftermath, one senior citizen, 62-year-old Alvin Fowler, remarked "I'm sickly as a dog. Everything is wrong with me." The unfortunate reality is that until there are more resources directed toward helping them, seniors will face situations like this during a storm. Southeast Texas recognizes the need for aid to seniors and has a hurricane task force available to assist them. This is good news. However, more still needs to be done to protect seniors during and after hurricanes.
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