Rural Older Adults in Disasters: A Study of Recovery from Hurricane Michael

Patricia A. Fletcher, Dreamal L. Worthen, Mary Helen McSweeney-Feld, Allison Gibson, Dominika Seblova, Lisandra Pagán, M. Isabela Troya, Mei Lan Fang, Brenda Owusu, Charlene Lane, Mineko Wada, Erin R. Harrell, Aline Viana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: This study aims for a greater understanding of how older adults (age 65 and older) in Jackson County, Florida, are prepared for and cope with the effects of a natural disaster. Methods: A multidisciplinary, international research team developed a survey examining: (1) resources available to individuals aged 65+ in rural communities for preparing for a disaster; (2) challenges they face when experiencing a disaster; and (3) their physical, social, emotional, and financial needs when it strikes. The survey was administered with older adults (65+) in Jackson County, Florida, following Hurricane Michael in 2018. The descriptive, multivariate logistic, and linear regression analyses were performed to examine the relationship between respondents' demographic information and needs, concerns, and consequences of disaster. Results: Results indicated (n = 139) rural community-dwelling older adults rely on social support, community organizations, and trusted disaster relief agencies to prepare for and recover from disaster-related events. Conclusions: Such findings can be used to inform the development of new interventions, programs, policies, practices, and tools for emergency management and social service agencies to improve disaster preparedness and resiliency among older populations in rural communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2602-2606
Number of pages5
JournalDisaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 21 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, Inc.


  • aging in place
  • disaster preparedness
  • emergency preparedness
  • older adults
  • public health
  • rural population

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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