EARTHQUAKE SURVIVOR: FRAIL ELDERLY 2
This paper is adapted from the Psychological First Aid Field Operations Guide Second
Edition published by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network/National Center for PTSD
in conjunction with Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMSHA) and
the Robert Wood Foundation.
Nature of the Disaster
An earthquake is a sudden violent shaking of the earth’s surface, caused by the shifting
of two blocks of the earth’s crust that suddenly slip past one another and pull apart. This
occurs are pressure builds up over many months and years, Stebnicki (2017). It is a natural
disaster that poses serious threats to the physical and psychological health of individuals of all
ages, cultural/ethnic backgrounds, and socioeconomic classes. The effect that is experienced
by individuals is influenced by developmental, situational, existential, interpersonal, and spiritual factors.
I have selected to complete treatment for a frail elderly person, age 81 years of white
anglo-Saxon descent. Mrs. Jennings is a widow of 18 months. The ratio of elderly males to
females ages 80 to 84 years is 53 to 100; females outlive men almost 2 to 1 in this age
category, Cavanaugh and Blanchard-Fields (2006). Lousie Jennings, a widow whose
husband died approximately one year ago. She currently resides with her daughter age 55
years, who is recently divorced. To ensure her safety during the day, Louise attends an adult
care facility, while her daughter is at work. Louis suffers from osteoarthritis; a chronic
condition that has greatly impaired her mobility. She is also beginning to show sign of
Alzheimer’s disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 2017 Alzheimer’s Facts and
Figures report, approximately 43% of person ages 75-84, and 38% those age 85 years and
EARTHQUAKE SURVIVOR: FRAIL ELDERLY 3
older suffer from this disease. Despite her mobility issues, Mrs. Jennings is quite capable of
performing most activities in daily living. The can still bathe, clothe, and feed herself, Jacobs
(2016). Additionally, she carries out instrumental activities in daily living such as using the
telephone, self-administering medication, and keeping a schedule Jacobs (2016). Her husband
died after a long illness of lung cancer, contracted after working in a manufacturing plant for
Eight Core Actions of Psychological First Aid
Contact and Engagement
Goal- respond to contact from/or initiate contact with Mrs. Jennings.
Observe Mrs. Jennings first before approaching her.
Introduce myself to Mrs. Jennings and describe my role as a psychological first aid