Listening to and Learning from Older Adult Hurricane Katrina Survivors

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The objective of this pilot study was to explore how Hurricane Katrina affected older adult disaster survivors.

Design and Sample

Participants for this descriptive exploratory pilot study were recruited from churches and senior centers on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Of the 224 participants, one hundred provided additional comments at the end of a forced-response questionnaire.


Manifest content analysis was used to examine the participants' comments by identifying, coding, and categorizing their responses to the open-ended question. The codes were based on conditions and behaviors that might be exhibited by disaster victims.


Themed categories were losses and needs, giving advice, justification for continuing to live in this disaster-prone region, deterrents and facilitators of home evacuation, spirituality and faith, manageability, bereavement, grief, anger, and natural debriefing.


The strongest message of these survivors was the need to be heard by public health nurses, other public health officials preparing for disasters, and those in positions to render aid.

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