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Healthy ageing in a changing climate: creating inclusive, age-friendly, and climate resilient cities and communities in the UK

Climate change is increasing the severity and frequency of extreme weather events, and this presents significant challenges to the health and well-being of older people. The Healthy Ageing in a Changing Climate project worked with older people in the United Kingdom to address the problems extreme weather poses for an ageing population. This report laid out the project’s findings and recommendations.

Gary Haq / Published on 28 November 2023
Citation

Woolrych, R., Haq, G., & Latter, B. (2023). Healthy ageing in a changing climate: creating inclusive, age-friendly, and climate resilient cities and communities in the UK. Retrieved November 28, 2023 from Healthy Age in a Changing Climate: https://www.ageandclimate.com/.

By 2030, there are expected to be 13 million people aged 65 and above living in the UK – roughly 22% of the population. Researchers on the Healthy Ageing in a Changing Climate project set out to understand how this growing demographic will be impacted by the extreme weather caused by climate change, and to co-design solutions to these challenges at a local, community and city level. The researchers worked with over 140 older adults in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to produce their suggested solutions.

The project expanded on the World Health Organization’s Age-Friendly Cities and Communities (AFCC) framework, which aims to enhance opportunities for healthy living and community engagement in older populations.

Profile shot of an older Black woman in a forest environment, wearing a blue top, facing left. Her face is turned up towards the sky, eyes closed, as she takes a deep breath.

An older woman breathes fresh air

Photo: Andrewswd / Getty Images

The authors highlighted six key areas which require action to address the impact of climate change on the healthy ageing of older people in the UK:

  1. Empowering older people towards climate action.
  2. Mobilising community and social infrastructure.
  3. Enhancing mobility and transport for healthy ageing.
  4. Providing climate resilient housing for ageing-in-place.
  5. Focusing on healthcare and well-being for older adults in extreme weather.
  6. Fostering intergenerational communities and climate resilience.

The authors provided detailed recommendations for pathways to effective action in these areas. They concluded that there is a pressing need for place-based support to empower communities and older people to take climate action, while reducing vulnerability and building climate resilience. For the successful adoption and implementation of the authors’ recommendations, a continuous and meaningful engagement of older people via an all-agency approach is vital.

SEI author

Gary Haq, Senior Research Assoicate at SEI
Gary Haq

Senior Research Associate

SEI York

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