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Care of Mentally or Physically Challenged Persons and the Elderly

In emergencies, the limited mobility of pregnant women, children, mentally or physically challenged persons, and the elderly mean that these groups are more at risk from natural phenomena. However, preparations to meet a possible disaster and the decisions made for the appropriate and timely protection of these groups before, during, and after such events can make the difference between safeguarding the lives and wellbeing of these groups, and exposing them to suffering further physical and emotional harm.

In emergencies, the limited mobility of pregnant women, children, mentally or physically challenged persons, and the elderly mean that these groups are more at risk from natural phenomena. However, preparations to meet a possible disaster and the decisions made for the appropriate and timely protection of these groups before, during, and after such events can make the difference between safeguarding the lives and wellbeing of these groups, and exposing them to suffering further physical and emotional harm.

  • Promote a census for the identification of mentally or physically challenged persons, and frail seniors (dependent on third parties for completing their daily activities).
  • Establish, in collaboration with the municipal authorities, a registry of physically and mentally challenged persons and the elderly, classifying persons according to their individual capabilities and needs for specific assistance.
  • Promote training activities, and training targeted at mentally or physically challenged persons and the elderly, so that based on their individual capabilities they can cope, on their own, with some of their needs during emergencies.
  • Prepare a list of individuals who have the primary responsibility for the care of physically and mentally challenged persons, and frail elderly persons.
  • Where necessary, identify groups of volunteers and organizations interested in supporting physically and mentally challenged persons, and frail elderly persons who live alone and lack a primary person responsible for their care.
  • Insofar as possible encourage individuals to volunteer to be responsible for the care of the elderly and for assistance to physically and mentally challenged persons. Promote the participation of males in such activities, as well as intergenerational support.
  • Promote the organization of training and teaching activities directed at people who have the primary responsibility for care of physically and mentally challenged persons, and the elderly; likewise for volunteer groups, so they can help these persons in emergencies.
  • Promote the establishment of support networks for physically and mentally challenged persons and the elderly.
  • Confirm whether existing programs for care of populations in emergencies include special consideration of physically and mentally challenged persons and the elderly.
  • Promote the establishment of specific plans for the evacuation of physically and mentally challenged persons and the elderly in emergencies.
  • Contribute to the creation of shelters and temporary refuges to care for physically and mentally challenged persons, and the elderly, and confirm that specific activities are planned to protect these persons and satisfy their special needs.
  • Insofar as is possible, establish health care services with trained staff in the shelters and temporary refuges.
  • Promote the creation of a bank of mechanical and electronic equipment to meet specific needs (eyeglasses, hearing aids, oxygen tanks, humidifiers, canes, crutches, walkers, wheelchairs, and others).
  • Monitor that the fluids intake of elderly persons is sufficient to prevent dehydration, which in this age group can occur very rapidly.
     

 

Contact
Fernando Amado
Ph: (202) 974-3727
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 

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Regional Office of the World Health Organization
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