Challenges of Older People in Technological Disaster
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Session presented on Saturday, July 25, 2015: Purpose: As global aging progresses, disaster preparedness and resiliency of older people is becoming an issue because their special needs have not been well accommodated in the case of disaster relief. Technological disasters have a longer term impact on the health of the affected population than natural disasters. This study aims to analyze the challenges of older people in technological disaster situations. Methods: The study was conducted in X city of Tokyo to where older people have been evacuated from an area severely affected by a nuclear power plant disaster. Older evacuees in X city were living in private apartments, public apartments, and family houses. Evacuees had not received information about where their former community members were now living. Data were collected between May and June of 2014. A structured questionnaire with multiple choice questions was carried out with twelve older people. Information was gathered through self-reported questionnaires by postal mail. Questionnaires addressed feelings regarding whether life was worth living and social relationships. The protocol was approved by the Institutional Review Boards at Japanese Red Cross College of Nursing. Results: The number of respondents were twelve (five men). Of the respondents, one was 60-69 years old, six were 70-79 years old, four were 80-89 years old, and one was over 90 years old. Only one respondent had no change of feelings about life being worth living (decreased compared to before being evacuated). Nine responses indicated a decrease in feeling of well-being in the present life, especially compared to before being evacuated. Four males and two female respondents reporting losing chances to visit their friends, and three male and two female respondents had be given no Advice to family members or friends. Conclusion: This study had a limitation that be addressed to evacuees in X city because do protecting private information by GoveRN. This study showed that emergency situations disrupt social relationships, leaving older people at risk for isolation. Specifically, the results identified the family and community as being viewed by older people as the most important units of social support in daily living.