Media Release

04/03/2015
Seniors and cyclones
If you’re aged 65 or older, and live in the coastal communities of Cardwell, Tully Heads, Kurrimine Beach, Innisfail or Bramston Beach, James Cook University researcher Sandy Astill hopes to hear from you.

If you’re aged 65 or older, and live in the coastal communities of Cardwell, Tully Heads, Kurrimine Beach, Innisfail or Bramston Beach, James Cook University researcher Sandy Astill hopes to hear from you.

Mrs Astill is investigating the current emphasis on self-reliance in preparing for and recovering from cyclones and storm surges, in light of the ageing population on Queensland’s northern coastline.

“Emergency Management Australia’s emphasis is on self help in preparing for cyclone season, sheltering in your home if it’s safe to do so, and cleaning up afterwards,” Mrs Astill said.

“I’m asking locals to help me investigate whether we need to adjust that strategy in any way, given that many northern coastal communities are sea-change destinations, with significant numbers of older residents.”

Mrs Astill, who is a postgraduate researcher at JCU in Cairns, also plans to interview staff in aged care facilities, as well as community health workers, emergency workers and volunteers.

“My aim is to gather information on how older residents are coping with their preparation for cyclones, and the clean-up afterwards,” Mrs Astill said.

“Some tasks become more difficult as we age. My questions centre on what help seniors need, where they get help from, and what changes might be considered to help them keep safe during and after cyclones.

“It’s all about ensuring seniors are able to live independently as possible, and, in North Queensland, that means ensuring seniors continue to cope with cyclones as well as they have in the past”.

“I hope the research will make a positive contribution to future emergency management practices, particularly in helping older residents live safely and independently.”

Seniors, over the age of 65 years, residing in coastal communities are invited to participate, whether or not they have experienced a cyclone in the past.

Each person will be asked to fill out a questionnaire, either online or on paper, as well as take part in an interview or focus group discussions, which will be held in the community at times to be arranged.

Emergency workers and volunteers, and staff in aged care facilities, are asked to take part in a personal or group interview but are not required to complete the survey.

Questionnaire and interview responses are strictly confidential, and all collected data will remain anonymous.

To register your interest or find out more, please contact Sandy Astill by emailing sandy.astill@jcu.edu.au or by phoning 0412 240 190.

The survey can be completed online at www.surveymonkey.com/s/TJ7G293. If you choose this option, please contact Mrs Astill to arrange an interview time.

Issued: March 04, 2015

Media enquiries: Linden Woodward, 07 4232 1007, linden.woodward@jcu.edu.au