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New study highlights impact of environmental change on older people
Date:1/31/2013

Recent natural disasters illustrate vulnerability of older people: majority of deaths from the Great East Japan Earthquake (2011) and Hurricane Katrina (2005) occurred among older people.

Researchers at the Stockholm Environment Institute at the University of York and Simon Fraser University's Gerontology Research Centre in Canada are calling for better awareness among policy makers and the public of the impact climate change and deteriorating environmental quality will have on an ageing population.

According to UN projections, by 2050, nearly 25 per cent of the global population will be aged 55 or over. An aging population and environmental change are two key policy challenges which need to be addressed to ensure a safe, secure, equitable and sustainable future. But international policy makers have given little attention to the effects global environmental change will have on older people.

A new report from an international consortium led by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) at the University of York and Simon Fraser University's Gerontology Research Centre, and including the Community Service Volunteers' Retired and Senior Volunteer Programme (RSVP), highlights the need to raise awareness of the effects of a changing environment on older people across the world.

Dr Gary Haq, of SEI, said: "Our study shows that older people are particularly vulnerable to environmental change but awareness among policy makers and older people is lagging behind. There is an urgent need for policy makers to better understand the interaction between global ageing and the environment to prevent and minimise disproportionate negative impacts on older people."

The results of a pilot international survey of older people's attitudes suggest they are concerned about the environment, the threat of climate change and energy and water security. They are pessimistic about the state of the planet that future generations will inherit believing environmental cha
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Contact: David Garner
david.garner@york.ac.uk
44-019-043-22153
University of York
Source:Eurekalert

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