Self-perceived disaster preparedness in minority older adults: A cross-sectional study
Keywords:disaster preparedness, older minority adults, disaster response
Objective: Evidence suggests that people of color, especially African Americans and non-White Hispanics, residing in low-income communities are the most vulnerable to natural disasters. This study assessed individual level of self-perceived disaster preparedness, disaster response actions, and sociodemographic predictors of disaster preparedness among older minority adults in Houston, Texas.
Method: Working with Houston-area community-based organizations and senior-living centers, a cross-sectional survey, available in English and Spanish, was disseminated between November 2020 and January 2021.
Participants: Five hundred and twenty-two older minority adults aged 55+ completed the electronic survey.
Main outcome measure(s): The main outcome measure was the level of self-perceived preparedness regarding emergencies and disasters—ie, prepared vs not prepared—among the study participants.
Results: Overall, about 58 percent of older minority adults did not perceive themselves to be prepared. Compared to individuals reporting annual incomes below $25,000, individuals reporting annual incomes between $25,000 and $74,999 were more likely to report being prepared [odds ratio (OR) = 2.28, 95 percent confidence interval (CI) = 1.29, 4.05]. Individuals who tested positive or had a close family member test positive for COVID-19 experienced 2.16 times higher odds of having self-perceived disaster preparedness than those who did not [OR = 2.16, 95 percent CI = 1.37, 3.42]. None of the other covariates were statistically significant.
Conclusions: While we observed no differences in self-perceived disaster preparedness between African American and Hispanic older adults, our findings suggest the importance of prior experience/exposure to previous disasters and the role of socioeconomic status in self-perceived disaster preparedness in minority older adults.
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