Daily Mail

Why it’s not the end of the world for over-65s

They’re the best prepared for collapse of civilisati­on

- By Victoria Allen Science Correspond­ent

IF you were born before 1955, you may already enjoy free bus travel and eye tests.

But there is another, hitherto unknown, benefit: You’re more likely to be prepared if civilisati­on collapses.

Homes where the head of the household is 65 or older are the most likely to have stockpiled food, water and other items they will need in an emergency, a study has found.

Growing up with parents who lived through a world war, or the memory of the threat of nuclear annihilati­on during the 1970s and 1980s, may have encouraged pensioners of today to be ready for anything.

Those aged 65 and over were more likely than younger people to have items such as an emergency kit, which experts say should contain a torch, battery-powered radio, first aid kit and maps of the local area.

The findings come from a study of more than 16,000 US households, where the self-reported head of the household was asked which emergency actions and items they had in place.

Homes where women were head of the household were less likely to be prepared for a disaster. Wealthier and older people had more resources in place, which included stockpiled food and water as well as a back-up generator.

Dr Lucila Zamboni, lead author of the study from the University at Albany, State University of New York, said: ‘Heads of households aged 65 or older had higher odds of having the items they might need in an emergency.

They were however less likely to have action plans, such as having agreed upon a meeting place or a way to contact family members if they had to leave their home.

‘As the current coronaviru­s pandemic has shown us, disaserato­r, ters are unpredicta­ble, so people need to be prepared in different ways.’ The study, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, looked at six resources that households might need in a disaster.

These included a portable emergency kit, stockpiles of food and water, an electric gencash and a vehicle to allow them to evacuate their home. Where the head of a household was 65 or older, that household had almost 1.5 times the odds of being prepared with resources.

This meant having at least three of the six resources in place – which was also more likely in wealthy households.

There are three actions which people need to have in place: a meeting point, an alternativ­e form of communicat­ion and a financial plan if they have to evacuate.

Those who were fully prepared had to meet at least half of the nine total criteria – and married people were more likely to do so. The study, which used responses to the American Housing Survey, found families with children were generally less likely to be prepared for disaster.

‘Disasters are unpredicta­ble’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom