Helping Senior Citizens Prepare for Hurricanes

The elderly and homebound are often the most susceptible during times of natural disasters. That's why Galveston County is trying new ways to get hurricane information into the hands of senior citizens. Laurie Johnson reports.

Leading up to and during hurricane season, Galveston County holds a series of planning meetings for area residents. But one segment of the population is unable to attend those meetings.

John Simsen is with the Galveston County Office of Emergency Management. He says they realized homebound senior citizens have little access to the latest disaster information.

“We’ve learned with previous hurricanes that no matter how hard you try and get the word out through radio, television, newspapers, what have you…there are always going to be a certain segment of the population that isn’t getting that message. So we’re always trying new ways to get that message out there.”

So this hurricane season, for the first time, they’re sending out information packets to Meals on Wheels recipients.
Simsen says the drivers who deliver the meals are able to answer questions and talk through concerns about hurricane season with the senior citizens.

“It just made great sense to go ahead and sort of piggy back on that regular process of delivering these meals by adding some hurricane publications to the delivery. These citizens are often the individuals in the county who are most susceptible to problems when you have a hurricane come in and they’re also the least likely to be able to get into a vehicle and evacuate without some kind of assistance. So really they need the information probably more than the general population.”

About 500 people receive services through Galveston County’s Meals on Wheels program. Simsen says many of them will need evacuation assistance in the event of a hurricane.


Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson


Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Laurie has covered a wide variety of topics for HPM, including the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, and numerous elections. She is a frequent contributor to NPR and has been...

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