WEDNESDAY, Sept. 4, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Many older adults have not taken adequate steps to prepare for emergency situations, according to a report published online Sept. 4 based on the University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging.

Researchers surveyed 2,256 older adults aged 50 to 80 years (76 percent response rate) about their experiences with disasters and emergency planning and preparedness for these events.

According to the survey results, 22 percent of older adults had experienced an emergency or disaster in the previous year; 53 percent anticipated experiencing an emergency or disaster in the next year. Eighty-two and 72 percent of respondents who require essential medications or health supplies, respectively, reported having a seven-day supply. Twenty-five percent of the 9 percent who use essential medical equipment requiring electricity had an alternative power source. Fifty-five percent reported having a seven-day supply of food and water, while only 29 percent had a stocked emergency kit. Sixty-nine percent reported feeling very confident that they were prepared to take care of themselves and their families in the event of a power outage lasting more than a day. Twenty-four percent indicated they would have difficulty affording to stay somewhere else if necessary.

“Whether it’s as straightforward as a power outage that lasts a day, or as severe as a hurricane, tornado or earthquake, preparing can make a huge difference,” Preeti Malani, M.D., the poll’s director and a professor at the University of Michigan Medical School, said in a statement. “A bit of time spent now can protect your health, and spare you worry and expense, when something like this does happen.”

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