Many Seniors Still Displaced
In the days after the storm we blogged about how many senior communities sheltered elderly evacuees during the storm. Unfortunately, many of these seniors are still living in emergency housing. There have been reports recently about concerns involving several hundred evacuees who fled to a nursing home in Brooklyn during the storm and haven’t been able to return home since. The facility, Bishop Henry B. Hucles Episcopal Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center, was already full before the storm. But it’s now housing evacuees from a facility in Queens that had been inundated with water during the storm, and is at nearly twice its licensed capacity. The evacuees have been forced to sleep in rows of cots in common areas such as the chapel and community room. According to the most recent updates on the elderly evacuees’ plight, the seniors are in safe if not pleasant conditions and the area’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman is monitoring this situation.
Storms Prompts Many to Seniors to Move to Assisted Living
Assisted living communities in the area have also seen an uptick in new residents in the weeks following the storm. These are new, paying, residents rather than evacuees-proper. Anne Pinter, a vice president at Atria Senior Living, is quoted in a recent Newsday article as saying that her company’s facilities in the Northeast saw an 18% increase in resident’s during October and November. Some of these new residents’ houses were indeed badly damaged during the storm, but in other cases the new resident’s’ homes may not have been damaged as much as their sense of security. Natural disasters can remind seniors and their loved ones of their limitations and prompt families to begin searching for senior living. Another professional quoted in the Newsday article is Maryellen McKeon of Ultimate Care New York, LLC., who noted, “We have the same thing after snowstorms or heat waves. Someone may be isolated in a house and realize, ‘my daughter was right,’ and the reality of your vulnerability sinks in.”
Many Seniors Struggling to Regain Independence
Many seniors who weathered the storm at home, and those who’ve recently returned home, are struggling to repair and rebuild. A Huffington Post article describes how the storm’s aftermath has left many seniors feeling desperate and hopeless, troubled by anything from their own limited ability to help with rebuilding efforts to the profound disruption to their regular routine. The article also includes advice from experts about how to support seniors who have been derailed by the storm and its after-effects.
Never Too Late to Help
The fact that the impact of Sandy is still felt so acutely is a testament to the immensity of the disaster. The Red Cross continues to accept donations for Hurricane Sandy relief.
Image used via Creative Commons License (commercial use allowed) courtesy Flickr user Steve Slater.