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Press release

Researchers seek views of how extreme weather affects older people

The over 60s are being asked to reflect on how extreme weather affects their health and wellbeing as part of a major new research project.

Researchers at the universities of York and Heriot-Watt are asking the over 60s to share their experience of how storms, flooding and heatwaves have affected their lives as part of a nationwide study on healthy ageing and climate change.

Researchers seek views of how extreme weather affects older people / Published on 13 February 2023
Due to climate change, emergency flood defenses are put in place to protect homes.

Due to climate change, emergency flood defenses are put in place to protect homes in Worcestershire, United Kingdom. Photo: Neil Bussey / Getty Images.

Community participation

Climate change and an ageing population are progressing simultaneously, yet older people are often overlooked, researchers say in a press release from the University of York.

It is this group that is disproportionately affected by extreme weather. In 2022, England recorded 2,803 excess deaths among those aged 65 and over during summer heatwaves.

In a project funded by UK Research and Innovation, through its Healthy Ageing Challenge, the study will build on the Age-Friendly Cities and Communities work, which encourages active ageing by creating improved opportunities for health, community participation, and to enhance people’s quality of life as they age.

Working with older people’s groups and key climate change actors, the project is exploring how to tackle extreme weather by co-designing potential solutions at the local, community, and city level.

Sharing photos and videos

Dr Gary Haq, SEI Senior Research Associate at the the University of York, and a co-lead, said: “Last year was the sixth warmest year on record in the UK. We experienced storms, flooding and heatwaves, drought, and even wildfires.”

We want to hear how such events affect older people, both directly and indirectly, and how we can tackle this issue in the future. This could be by sharing photos, videos or other creative formats about your experiences.

Gary Haq, SEI Senior Research Associate

Project leader Ryan Woolrych, a Professor of Ageing and Urban Studies and Director of the Urban Institute at Heriot-Watt University, said: “The combined effects of climate change on the health and wellbeing of older people must be better understood.

“By understanding the challenges faced by older people, we can help develop city and community approaches, to better support older people before, during and after extreme weather events.”

Take part

Anyone over the age of 60 can contribute to the project by visiting:

Interviews and more information

Alistair Keely, Head of Media Relations, University of York [email protected] +44 (0)1904 32 2153

Frances Dixon, Communications Manager, Stockholm Environment Institute at the University of York.

Ulrika Lamberth, Senior Press Officer, Stockholm Environment Institute
+46 8 73 801 70 53.

Gary Haq, Senior Research Assoicate at SEI
Gary Haq

Senior Research Associate

SEI York

Ulrika Lamberth
Ulrika Lamberth

Senior Press Officer


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