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AARP to Congress: Keep Older Adults Safe During Natural Disasters

En español | We recommended ways for Congress to keep older Americans healthy, safe and informed during and after increasingly powerful natural disasters in congressional testimony this week. 

“Extreme weather events can shut down the supports and services a community depends on to survive and recover,” Denise Bottcher, state director for AARP Louisiana, told the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security during a Tuesday hearing. “Without food, water, medications and the ability to communicate and share information, older adults can experience devastating impacts on their physical and mental health. Sustained power outages can quickly turn into a life-or-death situation.”

Natural disasters also affect the financial security of older adults, Bottcher told the committee. When their homes are damaged by extreme weather, older Americans are more likely to be exploited by fly-by-night contractors and have trouble navigating federal recovery assets online because of a lack of internet or digital literacy.

Fostering relationships, building connections with people in disaster recovery, expanding access to broadband and public transportation, and identifying where older adults live and how best to reach them are crucial ways to prepare for extreme weather, Bottcher said. 

Through our partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), we recently launched the AARP Disaster Resilience Tool Kit. The free resource offers guidance for local and state government officials on how to implement community plans to reduce risks that older adults face amid extreme weather events. 

Watch the testimony.

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