Perceptions of older people on disaster response and preparedness

Seana Duggan, P Deeny, Ruth Spelman, Catherine Vitale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Most disasters occur in developing countries but in the last decade due to the increasing threat of floods, air disasters and terrorist threat, disaster response and preparedness is a growing global concern. Due to an ageing population across the world, older people now constitute a significant proportion of those at risk from disasters. This paper reports on a qualitative study carried out in Sri Lanka and in the United States where a group of older people were asked about aspects of disaster response and preparedness. The group from Sri Lanka (n = 9) who had direct experience of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami were asked how they perceived international aid relief and a group of white Caucasians from East Coast USA (n = 8) were asked about disaster preparedness. Findings indicate that both groups had similar issues albeit that they were looking at different phases of the disaster cycle and from different cultural perspectives. Both groups identified issues related to, protecting the rights of the older person and preventing loss of independence in responding and preparing for a disaster, mistrust of government and access to resources and all expressed strong feelings of self-responsibility.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-76
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Older People Nursing
Issue number1
Early online date3 Feb 2010
Publication statusPublished online - 3 Feb 2010


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