Humanitarian Health Action

Humanitarian Action and Older Persons

An essential brief for humanitarian actors

How do emergencies affect older persons?

Normal Ageing and Health. Older age can result in decreased mobility, sight, hearing and muscle strength, as well as in greater vulnerability to heat and cold. Minor conditions can quickly become major handicaps that overwhelm older persons’ ability to cope. They have more difficulty accessing services, and are less able or willing to flee quickly or to protect themselves from harm. For instance, older persons have more difficulty accessing distribution points and carrying heavy supplies, while the loss of eyeglasses or walking canes can render them dependent on others.