Assessment of Social Vulnerability of Older Adults in Zahedan to Natural Disasters in 2023

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Fereshteh Ghaljaei
Roghayeh Rahmanian
Farhad Shafiei
Bentolhoda Taherizade
Fereshte Sargolzaei
Mina Gharibi
Najmeh Ghiami Keshtgar
Mohammad Reza Azizi Hossein Abadi


Older adults, social vulnerability, accidents and natural disasters, health


Background: It is important to take older adults into consideration during natural disasters, because these disasters are increasing in number and severity and the population of the elderly is growing as well. The present study aims to assess the social vulnerability of older people in Zahedan to natural disasters in 2023.
Materials and Method :This cross-sectional, descriptive-analytical research was conducted in Zahedan in 2023. All male and female residents of Zahedan aged 60 or older were selected as the study population, and the participants were selected via random cluster sampling. For data collection, after obtaining the necessary permits, the researchers had to attend public places such as parks, entertainment centers, and the participants’ residence. Considering the inclusion and exclusion criteria, the researchers explained the aims and objectives of the study to the respondents and asked for their participation. Then, they were asked to fill out the questionnaire of social vulnerability. The reliability and validity of this questionnaire were confirmed, and the collected data were analyzed in SPSS version 26.
Results :A total of 150 older residents of Zahedan took part in the study. Their mean age was 72.4±9.5 (ranging from 60 to 91 years old). Assessing the obtained scores revealed that the criteria of physical ability, sense of safety, and awareness of danger were “relatively unfavorable” in the participants.On the other hand, the criteria of social skills and mental abilities were assessed “unfavorable”. The total score of social vulnerability of these individuals was 74.48 ± 6.2. The results of correlation analysis demonstrated that the social vulnerability of older adults in Zahedan has a significant relationship with age, gender, education, and occupational status (P<0.001).
Conclusion : According to the findings of the present research, the elderly population of Zahedan have a high degree of social vulnerability to natural disasters. This is a warning sign for health care managers and crisis management authorities. Further planning and provision of necessary education to the public are required in order to manage the current situation and reduce social vulnerability of older adults.

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