Aging in Miami-Dade County: vulnerability of older adults living in flood prone areas

Authors: Anamaria Bukvic*, Virginia Tech, Jessica Suggs, Virginia Tech
Topics: Coastal and Marine, Hazards and Vulnerability, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters
Keywords: coastal, sea level rise, storm surge, vulnerability, aging
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Napoleon D1, Sheraton 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The recent Hurricane Irma highlighted the vulnerability of older adults to coastal hazards and disasters. In locations that are often preferred retirement destinations, the age category and related lower economic status, higher health needs, and greater reliance on support services can significantly contribute to the higher vulnerability in the flood prone locations. It is not yet fully clear how older residents cope with the chronic and episodic coastal flooding and what are the possible repercussions of flood events on their wellbeing. This study evaluates the flood hazard and its potential consequences on the accessibility, health, and safety of older adults living in coastal urban areas prone to the sea level rise and storm surge inundation. We performed the block level geospatial analysis of coastline neighborhoods in the Miami-Dade County, FL, to determine where the older residents live, in what type of housing arrangement, and what is their exposure based on the projections of the sea level rise and storm surge. We further explored their health and wellbeing risk based on the existing disabilities, health insurance coverage, and the ability to access support services and facilities during the flood events. The study identified clusters of older vulnerable residents living in aging and rental housing located in the areas prone to coastal flooding. Given the inundation projections, many of them may have to commute longer or find alternative routes to care facilities due to restricted access. Others may have to permanently move outside the flood zone to maintain a stable living environment.

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