Crisis in Puerto Rico for the Elderly

CORRECTION Puerto Rico Hurricane Maria

Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico on September 20th and the residents of the island remain in great need of assistance.  Many months later the elderly receiving long term care assistance or in need of such care are among the most vulnerable in the wake of the disaster.

Over 16% of Puerto Rico’s population are elderly, 40% of them live at or below the poverty level. A high percentage compared to elderly on the mainland suffer from poor health conditions. The last thing the older residents of Puerto Rico needed was to be struck by multiple catastrophic hurricanes. They need and fully deserve more help than they have received even at this later date. The reporting done so far, including the recent New York Times article on people living in a senior housing project in San Juan, clearly shows that the Long Term care service system devastated by the hurricane is far from being restored. This means that many frail older people continue to be at great risk of not receiving the care they need to avoid unnecessary suffering and death. This fact should be getting far more attention in the national media and among policy makers than it is and a far more aggressive response from the federal government.

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