Climate Change and the Health of Older Adults

EPA. Climate Change and the Health of Older Adults. Factsheet. 2016.
Year Published

Older adults are vulnerable to climate change-related health impacts for a number of reasons. One reason is that normal changes in the body associated with aging, such as muscle and bone loss, can limit mobility. Older adults are also more likely to have a chronic health condition, such as diabetes, that requires medications for treatment. Some older adults, especially those with disabilities, may also need assistance with daily activities. In 2010, nearly half of people over age 65 were reported to have a disability, compared to about 17% of people aged 21–64. This includes disabilities in one or more areas related to communication (seeing, hearing, or speaking), mental functioning (such as Alzheimer’s disease, senility, or dementia), and physical functioning (limited or no ability to walk, climb stairs, or lift or grasp objects). It is important for older adults, their families, and caregivers to understand the impact of climate change on their health so they can begin planning to protect themselves from exposure.