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Caring for the Elderly after a Natural Disaster

The Effects of National Disasters on the Elderly

Natural disasters leave plenty of physical destruction behind such as water, mud, and debris.  Victims, often relieved and thankful to be alive, are often heard saying: “We just lost stuff.” However, it’s much more than that, especially for an older person.

A long life means the opportunity to acquire a variety of memorabilia. The special trinket your husband bought for you on your honeymoon. A ceramic bowl made by your first-grader. The picture of the entire family gathered around you at your 40th anniversary celebration. A disaster be it fire, flood, earthquake or tornado can leave those items smashed, buried under debris or washed away. The urgent need for evacuation means that you may not have the opportunity to grab some of those special items.

It’s normal to grieve after a loss of any kind. Even while celebrating survival, there is still sorrow. That’s particularly true in the case of one-of-a-kind items that can never be replaced. Or it could be the loss of a pet or the garden where Mom spent many pleasant hours. The emotional uncertainty of an evacuation, living in temporary shelter and overall disruption attendant on a disaster is very hard for an older person who is used to familiar and comforting routines.

Although you might want to tune out, it’s important for your loved one to talk about his or her feelings – this helps process the emotions. If you can’t be there all the time, the companionship of a home health aide is another option. We also offer services such as transportation and meal preparation to help people who need extra care and attention.

For more information about Patient Caregivers or to learn how Patient Caregivers can help you and your loved one, please contact us at (713) 227-3448.



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