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Disaster preparedness: Assessment of older adults living in the NYC rockaways

Katie Campos-Gatjens, DNP, FNP-BC


Objective: To determine if there has been a measureable improvement in disaster preparedness among older adults affected by Hurricane Sandy in the NYC Rockaways and to identify if there are any characteristics among this sample that might be factors for vulnerability.

Design: A 16-item self-reported survey compromised of demographics and needs assessment questions.

Subjects: Senior citizens who are members of a local senior center and live in the Rockaways.

Main outcome measures: Three hypotheses were tested.

(1) H1: That there is a positive difference in level of the Pre- and Post- Sandy Storm Preparedness.

(2) H0: That the level of Storm Preparedness is not related to relative advanced age factor in older adults.

(3) H0: That the level of Storm Preparedness is not related to living arrangement, income level, and/or access to transportation

Results: The alternative hypothesis was accepted for hypothesis one. The null hypotheses were accepted for hypotheses two and three.

Conclusions: It was found that the level of disaster preparedness has significantly improved. The age of the participants when analyzed as two groups, those under and those over age 70, is not related to storm preparedness. Also, demographic factors are not significantly related to disaster preparedness. These findings may be a result of older adult psychological development as discussed by Erikson or the participants may be homogeneous due to their shared traumatic experience of Hurricane Sandy.


older adults, disaster preparedness, the Rockaways, Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Sandy, vulnerability factors, Erikson

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