Sunday marks the 2nd anniversary of Hurricane Charley. The category 4 storm made landfall in Charlotte County and damaged half the homes and businesses. According to a new study, the psychological damage remains, especially among seniors.
Mental Health researchers at the University of South Florida began tracking the number of depressed and anxious elderly people in Charlotte County before Hurricane Charley. The number, about 4 percent, was typical of any elderly population. After the hurricane the number jumped to 15 percent. Researcher Lisa Brown attributes the increase to prolonged stress.
“a lot of people indicated they are still concerned are have worries about home repairs, not only having the money for home repairs but finding reliable people to repair their home – just having disrupted lives andnot planning on such a prolonged period of having to put everything back together”.
Brown also says there’s a certain amount of grieving involved – for lost trees, a lost way of life – and for friends who moved away from Charlotte County after Hurricane Charley.
A new study finds Charlotte County seniors are still stressed from Hurricane Charley...two years after the fact. Mental Health Researchers at the University of South Florida measured depression and anxiety in about 15 percent of seniors - the average in that population is a fraction of that. U-S-F researcher Lisa Brown says those numbers may not come down anytime soon.
“when you think about the fact that we live in a state that has a six month hurricane season that reoccurs every year it takes it toll on people and there’s a sense of waiting for the shoe to drop. Maybe it doesn’t happen this year – maybe it will happen next year”
But Brown says seniors can take some steps to help alleviate anxiety and depression. Most important, she says, is making a hurricane checklist that includes people – both local and out of state. She says a safety net that includes caring friends and relatives can do a lot to relieve stress.
Friday, 11 August 2006 01:00
Elders Affected by CharleyWritten by WGCU Newsroom