Archive for the 'Katrina' Category

Sarah Palin, the elderly, the disabled, older Americans and rural Alaska


naomidagenbloom 2008 September 2

Vuee, Vuee, We need to hear MORE from you now about the way Alaska has come into our consciousness via your governor–the believer in “stakeholders.”

Readers can’t get off that easy, Little Red Hen— what questions do folks have?

The reason I have been rather quiet, blogwise, is because the news from rural Alaska about living there isn’t good. There has been next to nothing improved since earlier posts, this includes the past 18 months of the personable Gov. Sarah Palin. I’ll give examples below, but they sound depressing. So readers, what do enquiring minds want to know? If nothing else, I can at least point you to some good sources of facts or commentary from Alaska perspective.

An older friend of mine (from Tucson) sends this musing upon the early photo of Sarah Palin and her caribou ( It is the photo of the red-nosed caribou NOT a reindeer.)

>My deep reflections, caribou inspired::
1. Macho women don’t need to wear pantsuits to assert themselves.
2. Most currently popular female names go from my daughter Michelle to my mother Sarah.
3. Sarah definitely shoots better than Dick. How about Joe’s expertise with firearms?
4. Candidates should not be judged only on basis of age, gender, and looks.
5. Candidate’s children are given on-stage prominence. It should be unfair to have the youngest ones debate politics, but what about having a food fight?


  • there’s the older gentleman who is resigning himself to move 400 miles away from home to be near his grandkids because his grown children had to move to Anchorage to find work to meet the utilities payments
  • there’s all the older people who need an assisted living arrangement or nursing home (a 400 mile trip, if one can afford to get into Bethel from the village to get on the jet)
  • there’s fuel oil at $6-15 a gallon
  • there’s the Bush-Cheney stimulus payments which only went to those who have taxable income. They don’t go to those who cashed in IRAs early to pay electricity or who struggle to make sense of their returns.
  • there’s electricity at 40 cents or more per kilowatt hour (with a subsidy for residences) in rural Alaska (Wasilla pays considerably less, without subsidy)
  • there’s gasoline, needed to go out and “grocery shop” on the tundra or out in the river, at $6 to $18 gallon.
  • there’s gaining grandmother status at 34
  • there’s raising grandchildren at 70
  • there’s having your one-time $1200 “energy check” from the state stolen by your children for smokes and booze

2008-09-04 Look guys, what someone else found

2008-09-04 Fact Check of Governor Palin’s Speech

PALIN: “Senator McCain also promises to use the power of veto in defense of the public interest – and as a chief executive, I can assure you it works.”

Andrew Halcro does a fine job at

Also: tech support has a listing of reasonable sources at Sarah Palin content

2008-10-27 Palin’s gaffe about her policy on “special needs” while her record shows she has none

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Nonagenarian experience needed

Mr Crof’s web log at | H5N1, News and Resources about Avian Flu | issues this alert

Read the entry here […] British Columbian? Over 98? Please call
Yesterday Helen Branswell reported on a British Columbia project to interview people who recall the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-19. Dr. Danuta Skowronski was just on CBC radio talking about it, so I went to the BC Centre for Disease Control where I found this announcement: Pandemic Profiles: Are You Ninety-Eight Years or Older? Excerpt:

The BCCDC will be conducting face-to-face or telephone interviews with British Columbians who were born in 1908 or earlier and have a lasting memory of the 1918-1920 pandemic. If you know of someone who has a compelling experience and might be interested in participating in this survey, please contact Westcoast Clinical Research at 604-524-7141 or by email at wccr AT telus DOT net.

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Aging and Toxic Response (EPA review)

from the list-serv, EPA Aging List Serve, August 2006

Aging and Toxic Response: Issues Relevant to Risk Assessment
Continue reading ‘Aging and Toxic Response (EPA review)’

Pets and Katrina

There has been a lot of discussion since Katrina about the role of companion animals in disaster preparation and evacuation. Animals have demonstrated advantages for the health of older people, even the very old and frail (and even as visitors than live-in companions).

Here is another aspect to the discussion.

Lost in Katrina and in new homes – whose pet now? By Patrik Jonsson, The Christian Science Monitor

…The lawsuits are efforts to reunite family members – even fuzzy ones – who have been separated by Katrina. They also raise troubling questions about whether animals should be treated as property or as members of the family – and which homes they belong in.

“We’re trying to distinguish between dog-nappers and good-faith finders, and that’s a huge gray area right now from hurricane Katrina,” says David Favre, a law professor at Michigan State University in Lansing and an animal law expert….

In many cases, overwhelmed shelters were forced to find new homes for pets that had not been claimed even after pictures were posted on the Internet….

State laws, so far, are on the side of the original owners because pets are considered property, not family, law experts say. “Finders, keepers” laws state that property must be abandoned for at least a year before original owners lose their rights to it unless the finders can prove they made a good-faith effort to find the owner. In Louisiana, the requirement is three years. In January, a New Jersey judge ordered a family to return a dog adopted after Katrina to its owner in New Orleans….

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Administration on Aging Pandemic Preparation

The Federal agency, Administration on Aging, has a preparedness guide. One is for general emergency assistance and one is specific to a pandemic influenza.

Unfortunately, each Emergency Assistance Guide chapter is it’s own pdf file to download, Start here,

For a copy of the Letter from the Assistant Secretary about Pandemic Flu preparation (pdf file)  click here.

 For a copy of the AoA Pandemic Flu Plan (pdf file)  click here.

A copy of the “Long-Term Care and Other Residential Facilities Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Checklist” is available at

Preparedness suggestions include:

  • Have a structure for planning and decision-making, with a multidisciplinary group created to specifically pandemic influenza preparedness planning.
  • Develop a written pandemic influenza plan that identifies the person or persons authorized to implement the plan and the organizational structure to be used.
  • Develop a facility communication plan that includes key points of contact such as local and state health department officials, and a person responsible for communicating with staff, residents and families.
  • Have a plan to provide education and training to ensure that all personnel, residents and family members of residents understand basic prevention and control measures for pandemic influenza.
  • Have an infection control plan in place for managing residents and visitors with pandemic influenza.
  • Have a plan to get and use vaccines and antiviral drugs.
  • Address issues related to sudden increased needs, such as prioritizing services, staffing and supply shortages, and alternative care for residents who need acute care when hospital beds are unavailable.

I haven’t had a chance to review these yet. I have yet to see any evidence of local planning for the elderly. We just last week went through breakup and spring flooding. It happens every year. Yet once again an elder was moved to higher ground, but without taking along the required meds which were left in the house or clinic.

Also, no one recalls a fire drill in the past several (five +?) years at the senior center. See the checklist for When you visit the senior center –

Environmental Impacts of Hurricane Katrina

From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2006. (a most excellent resource)

Environmental Impacts of Hurricane Katrina [pdf]

Over the past few months, a number of government agencies have worked diligently to assist those affected by Hurricane Katrina, often working in tandem with other units of government throughout the region. One agency that is working to assess the marine environmental impacts of Katrina is the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The site is fairly simple to navigate, as it essentially contains a number of links to some of the projects they are currently working on throughout the region. Some of these projects include assessments of the marine mammal and turtle health and monitoring the area for harmful algal blooms. Visitors may also wish to learn about the currently deployed vessels that are out working in the area, or they may also want to take a look at their links section. [KMG]

Pandemic flu planning

“Although no one knows how the virus would affect various age groups, the CDC assumes that children would be twice as vulnerable to the disease as adults. Hedberg said the theory is that a pandemic form of flu might resemble the 1918 pandemic that disproportionately hit young healthy people. Seasonal flu, by contrast, is hardest on the elderly.”

If the bird or avian H5N1 flu becomes human H5N1, it will be especially important for older people to have updated their preparedness plans (we all did prepare revised plans since last August, didn’t we?) There will be differences from the 1918 pandemic, as indicated in the news article. But, also a lot of similarities. It will be important for those who have lived through previous disasters or epidemics to share what they learned about what worked and what didn’t work.

Katrina was no Girl Scout.

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O’Folks (off their rocker)

Old age isn't a disease.

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