Discover the results of a recent AARP survey that sheds light on the level of disaster preparedness among older adults. The survey reveals that a majority of older adults have not taken necessary steps to receive information during a disaster and are therefore more likely to be unprepared if a disaster strikes. Shockingly, less than one-third of those surveyed have created an emergency plan for natural disasters, and only 10% follow national disaster resource organizations on social media. The findings emphasize the pressing need for enhanced emergency preparedness and active information-seeking among older adults, particularly in the face of increasingly severe weather-related emergencies and disasters. To combat this issue, AARP recommends several tech readiness tips to help older adults stay informed and prepared during emergencies.
AARP Survey Reveals Opportunities for Older Adults to Increase Disaster Preparedness
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Less than one-third have a comprehensive emergency plan
A recent national survey conducted by AARP has revealed that a majority of older adults have not taken steps to ensure they are prepared for a disaster and are more likely to be unprepared if one strikes. The findings indicate a need for enhanced emergency disaster preparedness among older adults. Shockingly, less than one-third (29%) of survey participants have created a comprehensive emergency plan for natural disasters. This lack of preparation puts older adults at risk during times of crisis.
Lack of modern tools and technology adoption
The survey also discovered that only a small fraction of older adults have embraced modern tools and technology to aid in disaster preparedness. Just 1 in 10 respondents reported using disaster-related apps or receiving text notifications from official national disaster resource agencies. Additionally, only 10% of older adults follow national disaster resource organizations on social media platforms, such as FEMA, American Red Cross, and The Salvation Army. This lack of engagement with technology limits their ability to stay informed and take necessary actions during emergencies.
Need for enhanced information-seeking
AARP’s survey highlights the need for improved information-seeking behavior among older adults when it comes to disaster preparedness. Many older adults have not taken the initiative to actively seek out information and resources related to emergency preparedness. By actively seeking information and staying informed about potential risks and available resources, older adults can better protect themselves and mitigate the impact of disasters.
Older adults’ vulnerability to severe weather-related emergencies
Evidence from various sources, including AARP and the National Institute on Aging, suggests that older adults are particularly vulnerable to severe weather-related emergencies and disasters. Individuals with chronic illnesses, functional limitations, or disabilities face even greater risks. Severe weather events not only pose a higher mortality risk for older adults but can also have long-term adverse effects on their physical and mental health, economic security, and overall well-being. Recognizing this vulnerability is crucial in motivating older adults to prioritize disaster preparedness.
Key findings from the survey
The AARP survey sheds light on several key findings regarding the current state of disaster preparedness among older adults. These findings highlight specific areas where improvements are needed:
Lack of portable emergency chargers for mobile devices: Approximately 3 in 5 older adults (57%) do not possess a portable emergency charger for their mobile devices. This lack of backup power for communication devices can significantly impede older adults’ ability to stay connected and informed during an emergency.
Failure to save vital documents digitally: Over half of the older adults surveyed (56%) admitted to not saving their vital documents, such as driver’s licenses, health insurance information, and home/renter policies, in digital format. Digitally storing these important documents ensures easy access during emergencies and safeguards against loss or damage.
Low percentage of backup generator ownership: Only 29% of older adults surveyed reported having a backup generator. This means a significant proportion of older adults are left without crucial backup power during emergencies, reinforcing the importance of having alternative power sources.
Insufficient stock of extra prescription medications: The survey revealed that more than 1 in 3 older adults (36%) do not have extra prescription medications in case of emergencies. Stocking up on necessary medications ensures continuity of care and prevents potential complications during disaster situations.
Lack of GPS-tracking technology for pets: Despite the strong bond between older adults and their pets, a majority (53%) of pet owners had not purchased GPS-tracking technology for their furry companions. During emergencies, it is essential to ensure the safety and well-being of pets by utilizing available tracking technology.
Tips for tech readiness from OATS
To improve disaster preparedness among older adults, OATS (Older Adults Technology Services) from AARP offers the following tech readiness tips:
Download emergency preparedness apps: There are various mobile applications available that provide valuable information and resources during emergencies. Downloading these apps can help older adults stay informed and access critical assistance when needed.
Follow local/national organizations on social media: By following local and national organizations on social media platforms, older adults can receive real-time updates and important information during disasters. Following organizations such as FEMA, American Red Cross, and The Salvation Army ensures access to accurate and timely information.
Set up emergency contacts on your phone: Adding emergency contacts to your phone facilitates quick and easy communication during emergencies. These contacts can include family members, friends, and healthcare professionals who need to be informed about your well-being.
Buy a car charger/back-up power and a generator: Investing in a car charger or backup power for mobile devices and owning a generator provides older adults with reliable sources of power during emergencies. These devices ensure that communication devices and other essential equipment remain functional during power outages.
Store key documents digitally: Older adults should consider digitizing their vital documents and storing them securely on a password-protected jump drive or in the Cloud. This allows for easy access and protects against loss or damage during emergencies.
Set up automatic prescription refills: Ensuring a three-week supply of prescription medications is crucial for older adults. Setting up automatic prescription refills helps avoid disruptions in medication availability during emergencies and allows for seamless continuation of care.
Download mobile banking and P2P apps: Mobile banking apps and peer-to-peer payment apps can be invaluable during emergencies when access to physical banks or cash may be limited. These apps allow for online transactions, bill payments, and financial assistance when needed.
Ensure pet tracking during emergencies: For pet owners, investing in GPS-tracking technology for pets can help locate and ensure the safety of furry companions during emergencies. This technology provides peace of mind and allows for swift reunions with pets if they become separated during a disaster.
Additional resources for disaster preparedness
For more information and resources to help older adults increase their disaster preparedness, AARP provides a dedicated webpage at AARP.org/DisasterPrep. This webpage offers valuable insights, guides, and further assistance on various aspects of disaster preparedness specifically tailored for older adults.
In conclusion, the AARP survey has brought to light the existing opportunities for older adults to enhance their disaster preparedness. By acknowledging the need for comprehensive emergency plans, adopting modern tools and technology, seeking relevant information, and addressing vulnerabilities, older adults can better protect themselves during emergencies. Following the tech readiness tips provided by OATS and utilizing available resources can greatly contribute to ensuring the safety and well-being of older adults in the face of disasters.