As we prepare for this year’s hurricane season, my staff and I sponsored a disaster preparedness training for senior citizens and/or their caregivers at Moanalua Elementary School on June 4th. Representatives from Lyon Associates conducted the 4-hour training session as part of the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center’s free workshops to prepare Hawaii residents for all types of emergency conditions (e.g., hurricanes, power outages, tsunami or fire disasters, etc.).
Our training focused on preparing participants to develop emergency plans to address the needs of elderly relatives or neighbors during disasters. Because of Hawaii’s isolated location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, NDPTC trainers Fred Hyun and Lisa Shozuya emphasized the need to discuss disaster planning with their families and neighbors well in advance of a hurricane or tsunami warning, and to organize their emergency plans and safety kits with their neighbors.
We appreciated learning that:
- Disease-related conditions and the functional limitations they cause may be more prevalent in later life, which makes older adults as a group particularly vulnerable during emergencies and disasters.
- Older adults are also more likely to have sensory, physical or cognitive disabilities, or take multiple medications.
- Many elders live alone. They may rely on others for transportation, or depend on formal or informal caregivers for assistance with day-to-day activities.
- Nearly 75% of the people who died in the New Orleans area as a result of Hurricane Katrina were age 60 and over, although only 15% of the population of New Orleans fell into that age group.
It was gratifying that several Moanalua Gardens and Moanalua Valley community leaders participated in this training session, and I encourage the MGCA to sponsor a training session in the near future. Mahalo to Lisa Shozuya of Lyon Associates and Fred Hyun from the NDPTC for coordinating this event with us!
If you would like more information on scheduling a training session, please contact Lisa Shozuya of Lyon Associates at 536-6621 or via email at Lisa.Shozuya@LYON.US.com.