reference : Climate change and older Americans: State of the science

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Bibliographic fields
reftype Journal Article
Abstract BACKGROUND: Older adults make up 13% of the U.S. population, but are projected to account for 20% by 2040. Coinciding with this demographic shift, the rate of climate change is accelerating, bringing rising temperatures; increased risk of floods, droughts, and wildfires; stronger tropical storms and hurricanes; rising sea levels; and other climate-related hazards. Older Americans are expected to be located in places that may be relatively more affected by climate change, including coastal zones and large metropolitan areas. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this review is to assess the vulnerability of older Americans to climate change and to identify opportunities for adaptation. METHODS: We performed an extensive literature survey and summarized key findings related to demographics; climate stressors relevant to older adults; factors contributing to exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity; and adaptation strategies. DISCUSSION: A range of physiological and socioeconomic factors make older adults especially sensitive to and/or at risk for exposure to heat waves and other extreme weather events (e.g., hurricanes, floods, droughts), poor air quality, and infectious diseases. Climate change may increase the frequency or severity of these events. CONCLUSIONS: Older Americans are likely to be especially vulnerable to stressors associated with climate change. Although a growing body of evidence reports the adverse effects of heat on the health of older adults, research gaps remain for other climate-related risks. We need additional study of the vulnerability of older adults and the interplay of vulnerability, resilience, and adaptive responses to projected climate stressors.
Author Gamble, J. L.; Hurley, B. J.; Schultz, P. A.; Jaglom, W. S.; Krishnan, N.; Harris, M.
Author Address U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC,
DOI 10.1289/ehp.1205223
Date Jan
ISSN 1552-9924
Issue 1
Journal Environmental Health Perspectives
Keywords Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Climate Change; Humans; Risk Assessment; Socioeconomic Factors; United States
Language eng
Notes Gamble, Janet L Hurley, Bradford J Schultz, Peter A Jaglom, Wendy S Krishnan, Nisha Harris, Melinda United States Environ Health Perspect. 2013 Jan;121(1):15-22. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1205223. Epub 2012 Oct 2.
PMCID PMC3553435
Pages 15-22
Title Climate change and older Americans: State of the science
Volume 121
Year 2013
Bibliographic identifiers
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