Proper care

In the present days the number of elderly living alone and dying lonely in their homes is on the increase, hence it has made them more vulnerable, where they cannot help themselves against impending dangers from disasters. Also, there are basis of discrimination to receiving health services based on racial background, ethnicity, social class affiliation, income disparity among others. However, it has being researched that the elderly faces greater vulnerability during periods of emergence, like natural disasters, hurricanes strikes etc.

According to Menjivar (2000) cited in Fussell (2005), not all social networks are equal- while some connect people who can offer generous assistance in attractive destinations, others have limited opportunity to connect with people who are similarly disadvantages as they are. Proper care is needed for the elderly, since it is a known fact that they are most susceptible and more traumatized than their younger counterparts during period of disaster. According to Kohn et al (2005) “There are reasons to argue that the elderly are at increased risk of developing psychopathology following a natural disaster.

The elderly may be suffering from comorbid physical disorders of a chronic nature; their social network may have weakened due to losses, particularly of a spouse, and exits of children, friends and relatives from the community; they may have limited financial means to deal with material losses; and the elderly may have accumulated stresses over the years that eroded their coping capacities”. Furthermore, despite the elderly being at a lower income level compared to younger adults, it is often seen as a social class-blind; controlling for this confounder is necessary since psychopathology is inversely related to social class affiliation.

Vulnerable Populations and Health Inequalities Social change which is defined as a significant alternation of social structures, i. e. a change in pattern of social action and interaction (Moore, cited in Lauer 1977:4), this is a phenomenon that can result in where there is inequality to service delivery and chaos in social order. Thus, attitude change of individual towards interpersonal relationship, organizations or institutions may occur to reflect the basis of neglect or an unequal basis to right of accessing resources, right to safety and right to good healthcare services.

For the elderly in the society given their physical strength and alertness, they compare to younger people are more vulnerable to disaster. Thus, for fair treatment it requires that special attention is given to them. According to Friedsam (1962:151), there are two justifications for directing special attention to older persons in disasters. One is immediate and practical; the other is theoretical. On the practical level, many older persons present problems which, at least in magnitude, are not to be found in other age groups. An example of this is the relatively high incidence of mobility and limiting chronic disease among the aged.

This feature in the elderly people add to create the requirement of a special consideration in planning for evacuation, this is liken to the need for continued schooling among children and adolescents. Also, on the immediate and practical reason for special attention to the elderly during health emergency period boils to the fact that there are some evidence that, compared with younger groups, older persons are less likely to receive warning and are more reluctant to evacuate. For the aged their social vulnerability is high and the resilience to shock during disaster is lower compared to the younger people.

According to Adger & Kelly (2001), the adaptive options open to any social grouping are constrained by the resilience of the human and natural systems that comprise or define that grouping. A high level of resilience implies greater opportunities for absorbing external shocks and successful adaptation to both social and environmental change. Poverty and Social Inequality To Healthcare Services Poverty and social exclusion is a multidimensional problem that is visible in the access to health services, leading to inequality in service delivery.

Due to low income of certain category of people they cannot get proper health care services to their acquired ailments. Poverty which is a teething task to eradicate globally is one that has rendered people to live a life of lack and want, and this phenomenon had greatly hindered the growth and well being of the state that is highly plagued with this social vices. Social exclusion goes hand in hand with poverty, in the sense that some people are being excluded from some services and facilities as a result of their impoverish status.

“Social exclusion reduces the productive capacity- and rate of poverty reduction- of the society as a whole” (DFID, 2005). This exclusion comes in the following forms “exclusion from adequate income or resources; labour market exclusion; service exclusion; and exclusion from social relations” (Gordon, 2000). Also, exclusion of people from social services tends to increase the poverty level. In this view UNESCO (1995), has it that “Exclusion from organized labour markets is now one of the principle causes of poverty in the world.

The growth of the informal sector, which is often viewed as an alternative to regular, salaried employment, offers to millions of people wishing to work little more than unstable, subsistence- level activities that are characterized by low productivity”. In order to move the country forward, both economically and socially, there is the need to adequately tackle the social menace of poverty and social exclusion. Furthermore, to create equality to access to healthcare services is creating a harmonious society where productivity is enhanced and economic growth achieved through healthy populace.


Adger, W. N. & Kelly, P. M. (2001) Living With Environmental Change: Social Vulnerability. NY: Routledge DFID (2005), “Reducing Poverty by Tackling Social Exclusion”. Department for International Development. September. http://www. globalpolicy. org/socecon/inequal/2005/0905exclusion. pdf (27/04/06) Friedsam, H. J. (1962) Man and Society In Disaster, Baker G. W. & Chapman, D. W. (Eds. ) Fussell, E. (2005) Leaving New Orleans: Social Stratification, Networks, and Hurricane Evacuation. The Social Science Research www.

understandingkatrinassrc. org/Fes-sell/pf/ (23/11/ 2006) Gordon, David et al (2000), “Poverty and Social Exclusion in Britain”. September (online) (27/04/06) Kohn, R. et al (2005), “Prevalence, Risk Factors and Aging Vulnerability for Psychopathology Following Natural Disaster” In International Journal Of Geriatric Psychiatry. UNESCO (1995), “From Social Exclusion to Social Cohesion: a policy agenda” Policy Paper no. 2 Management of Social Transformations (MOST) http://didital-lirary. unseco. org/shs/most/gsdl/cgi-bin/library? (26/04/06)

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