How senior adults are at higher risk from climate change, natural disasters and loss of electricity.

Unless you have restricted mobility or care for someone who does, you may not realize the multitude of challenges senior adults living alone face, sometimes multiple times a day. When natural disasters strike or summer temperatures rise, older adults may be some of the most vulnerable.

For older adults with no support system in place or family to rely on, losing electricity in the winter or heat of summer can be fatal. The lack of mobility not just related to driving, but walking, loss of vision and neuropathy make day to day activities a challenge. One example is when electrical services go out and a phone won’t work without electricity. The senior has no way to let anyone know they may need help.

After water poured into lower Manhattan subway lines, two million Con Ed customers lost power and Breezy Point took a direct Hurricane Sandy hit.

In this video, Cornell University’s Elaine Wethington, Professor of human development, discusses the tolls major storms and climate change take on senior citizens. The talk is titled “Aging in the Age of Climate Change“.

As the climate changes, so does our understanding of old age

As the climate changes, so does our understanding of old age. As the devastation of hurricanes Sandy and Irene showed, older adults – some of whom have limited mobility or depend on home nurses for vital care – are among the most vulnerable when major weather events paralyze city and regional transportation systems, medical facilities and other key infrastructure.

Many seniors live alone, and with limited mobility makes them more likely to experience social isolation causing stress to their health. Elderly adults who and have disabilities may not be able to follow evacuation and possibly no way to communicate by telephone.

This video addresses how seniors respond to high-stress events, isolation and the impact it has on the mental and physical health of aging adults.