AARP, American Red Cross boost community preparedness for older adults
American Red Cross statistics show that the average age of people it serves after a disaster is 75, representing the population most in need of services in times of disaster.
For that reason, AARP PR and the American Red Cross launched an initiative to promote community preparedness that integrates older adults and family caregivers.
“Every day, we see how older adults, between the ages of 50 and 87, are the population most served by our volunteers due to their needs and social condition,” said Lee Vanessa Feliciano, regional executive of the American Red Cross Puerto Rico Chapter.
“Therefore, we must rethink how we can better reach this population to achieve a multiplier effect within their families and community environment,” she said.
Meanwhile, AARP PR State Director José R. Acarón also noted the role of seniors as community leaders in hurricane preparedness as being essential in supporting vulnerable seniors after a disaster.
“Let’s remember that many seniors have to make more preparations depending on their circumstances, and caregivers have to make double preparations, to make sure they meet the needs of the family members they support who may be more vulnerable,” he said.
Both organizations will hold efforts to provide virtual and in-person workshops with safety measures for older adults and caregivers requested by communities. The American Red Cross will offer workshops based on the Red Cross Senior Preparedness Booklet.
In addition, the collaboration extends outside of hurricane season where volunteers from both organizations will participate in residential fire prevention events with the installation of smoke detectors.
This partnership, which has been in place on the island for several years and is now being expanded throughout the continental United States, seeks ways to reach out to the elderly to better mitigate damage in times of emergencies.
It will also contribute to reducing or eliminating any gaps identified in communities. The Senior Disaster and Emergency Preparedness Guide includes preparedness tips for seniors.