Hurricane Katrina Hits Elders

Aging Today, September/October 2005 | Go to article overview

Hurricane Katrina Hits Elders


"Most probably, I don't have a home anymore," Bill Higginbotham, a 91-year-old retired carpenter who built his home along the Back Bay area of Biloxi, Miss., told Canadian Television (CTV). "I wanted to live, but after this I don't want to live no more," he said.

In New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina survivor Frank Mills described his struggle to cling to the room of his boarding house as the water rose, after two elderly residents got trapped inside. He said that when a third elder tried climbing to safety, "He was kind of on the edge of the roof, catching his breath. Next thing I knew, he came floating past me."

Also in Louisiana, according to the website of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, Karen Contrenchis, executive director of the Gulf States Association of Homes and Service for the Aging, continued efforts to help long-term care facilities even after losing her own home to the flood.

Rosemary Hudgins, executive director of the Alzheimer's Foundation of the South in Gulfport, Miss., made it to neighboring Alabama, reported Agelessdesign.com. She located available assisted living beds and contact information for those in affected areas to obtain emergency help through the Alabama Nursing Home Association.

Meanwhile, communities in Texas-besides Houston, which was quickly overwhelmed with refugees-and Arkansas were trying to open their long-term care doors to elders displaced by the catastrophe.

As Aging Today went to press, harrowing reports of courage, loss and survival scrolled over the media and filled ' the Internet, about one of the worst natural disasters in United States history. …

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