George Alsberg, age 103, of Wilmington, was one of the oldest voluntary evacuees of Hurricane Florence. Photo credit: Taylor Knopf
NORTH CAROLINA HEALTH NEWS |
That’s the takeaway from a state-compiled list of the adults who died as a result of the catastrophic storm. It shows that two out of three North Carolinians who died during or as a result of Florence were 60 or older, and nearly half were 70 or older. The median age of adults who died during or as a result of the storm was 67, while the statewide median age is 38.3.
“Vulnerable adults are more likely to be impacted because of their social isolation, or not having the supports they needed in areas like transportation,” said Heather Burkhardt, program coordinator at Resources for Seniors in Raleigh.
The list of deaths tied to the catastrophic September storm grew to 39 on Oct. 1, when Gov. Roy Cooper announced two deaths, one of a Pender County man, 69, who fell off a roof Sept. 22 while repairing storm damage. A list supplied by the Department of Public Safety showed that people older than 65 represented:
Six of 11 people who drowned in motor vehicle accidents,
Five of six people who died of medical causes such as cardiopulmonary distress or COPD
A couple, 86, who died in a fire caused by the use of candles while power was out.
Three of the victims were infants and two others did not have listed ages. Of the 34 adult deaths with ages attached, 21 were older than 65.
Perhaps the most poignant death was that of a man, 82, who committed suicide in Carteret County after Florence devastated his home. “Shot self when house condemned,” read the terse DPS account of the death.
Craven Community College’s (Craven CC) Adult Enrichment Program (AEP) will host a symposium entitled “Stop the Cravin’!” in an effort to promote substance abuse education, prevention and intervention. This event will take place at Orringer Hall on the New Bern campus from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27.
The event will host a diverse panel of speakers from the local health care system, local and state law enforcement and community-based organizations. It will provide statistics for the area, health effects and the science behind the many aspects of addiction, case studies and firsthand accounts from those in the medical field, and law enforcement considerations and viewpoints. There will also be perspectives shared by former addicts, an emergency room charge nurse and a local high school student.
Professional panelists include Kenneth W. Wilkins, Jr., MD, FACP, endoscopist and president of Coastal Carolina Health Care, PA; Matt Knight of the NC Task Force for Safe Schools and NC Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE) branch; and Henry D. Beckwith, PsyD, a licensed psychologist.
Participants will learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of opioid and substance abuse and how to intervene and prevent future addictions. Equipping people with knowledge so they know what to do in such situations can ensure that loved ones don’t become just another statistic.
“I feel that the symposium is important on a level whether the crisis has hit home, whether you are a parent, whether you are an educator or if you are in the trenches of this crisis,” said Megan Johnson, Craven CC’s adult enrichment coordinator. “We all need to have our boots on the ground so we can tackle this as a community.”
The cost for the four-hour event is $20 and CEUs are available for eligible professionals. Doors open at 7:45 a.m. and light refreshments will be served.