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The Impact of Superstorm Sandy on Residents Age 50+ in New York

AARP commissioned a survey of New York residents ages 50 and older living in areas most heavily affected by Superstorm Sandy to gather insights on how these residents were impacted by the storm. The survey explores residents’ opinions of how well the government and service providers responded to the storm, the extent of impact caused by power outages, as well as what information might have been useful for them to have right after the storm.

Key findings included:

  • Overall, the majority of residents surveyed rated service providers and elected officials positively in their response to Superstorm Sandy. Electric utilities received the lowest ratings, however, with 44 percent of respondents saying they did a poor job in the days and weeks following the storm.
  • Most respondents (86%) lost power as a result of Sandy, with nearly half (43%) of these residents being without power for more than a week. Twelve percent of respondents report the loss of power complicated health issues, with most of these individuals experiencing interferences with their medical equipment (60%) and many others having issues with prescription drug storage (48%) and monitoring systems (36%). Those with disabilities were more than twice as likely (27%) to report having health-related complications due to the power outage.
  • Three out of ten (29%) respondents report their homes were damaged during the storm, with over half of these homes (54%) sustaining moderate or severe damage. One-sixth of respondents had to move from their homes due to the storm, but nearly all (93%) had been able to return to their homes at the time of the survey.
  • One out of ten respondents said they have received financial help due to the impact of Sandy, and over half (56%) have help others affected by the storm either by volunteering or donating money or other goods.
  •  Having important phone numbers for emergency assistance (53%) tops the list of information respondents say would have been helpful to have after the storm, followed by tips on how to avoid crime and scams.

This telephone survey of New York residents ages 50+ was fielded December 19 to December 27, 2012. A total of 800 interviews were completed in the D-SNAP designated areas of New York City and Long Island. For more information, contact Kate Bridges at 202-434-6329.