UI study reveals seniors not adequately prepared for severe wea - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UI study reveals seniors not adequately prepared for severe weather

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

Older adults over the age of 50 might be more vulnerable during severe weather, according to a recent University of Iowa study.

Of the 1,304 seniors surveyed half of them, over the age of 50 don't know where to seek shelter if they had to evacuate their home.

Carolyn Bethke has been living by herself for only a few months, but realizes severe weather can come at any given moment.

“Oh my gosh, if a storm would come I’d go in the bathroom,” said Bethke.

She says she’s lived through a storm once, but that’s because she wasn’t living alone.

“Thanks to my dad, he said ‘get down in the basement’ because it was a tornado coming,” she said.

Linda Kopping, the coordinator of the Johnson County Senior center says older adults should be just as prepared as other adults.

“Individuals need to go through their home and identify a safe place and make sure it's accessible to them,” said Kopping. “For instance i might have a basement, but i might not be able to get to my basement.”

She says it's also important for family members to help seniors get a preparedness kit with family contacts, medications, assisted devises such as walkers, medical history, among other things.

The study finds that when it comes to accessing a car during disasters, about a quarter said they lacked transportation

The study did not include older adults living in nursing homes or other institutional settings; it only surveyed those living independently.

Researchers also found that seniors with lower incomes were more likely to admit not being prepared for disasters.

“[Severe weather] doesn’t bother me,” said Janice Hare, Bethke’s friend. “I’m calm as a cucumber, I don’t worry about it. What will, be will be. Pray that everything will turn out ok.”

While Janice and Carolyn pass time by playing a game of dice, they realize severe weather can roll in at any given time.

Linda: “Just be prepared to know what's going to happen and be able to take action,” said Kopping. She goes on to say it’s critically important to always check on seniors in your family and community.

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