Have your say: older people asked to share how extreme weather affects them in major new study



Older people on a hot day

The over 60s are being asked to reflect on how extreme weather affects their health and wellbeing as part of a major new research project.

Researchers from the University of York and Heriot-Watt University are asking the over 60s to share their experience of how storms, flooding and heatwaves have affected their lives as part of a nationwide study on healthy ageing and climate change.

Climate change and an ageing population are progressing simultaneously, yet older people are often overlooked, researchers say.

The combined effects of climate change on the health and wellbeing of older people must be better understood.

Professor Ryan Woolrych, The Urban Institute, Heriot-Watt University

This group is disproportionately affected by extreme weather. In 2022, England recorded a difference of 2,803 in the expected number of deaths among those aged 65 and over during summer heatwaves.

In a project funded by UK Research and Innovation, through its Healthy Ageing Challenge, the study will build on the Age-Friendly Cities and Communities work, which encourages active ageing by creating improved opportunities for health, community participation, and to enhance people’s quality of life as they age. 

Working with older people's groups and key climate change actors, the project is exploring how to tackle extreme weather by co-designing potential solutions at the local, community, and city level. 

Dr Gary Haq, Senior Researcher at the University of York’s Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), and a co-lead, said: “Last year was the sixth warmest year on record in the UK. We experienced storms, flooding and heatwaves, drought, and even wildfires.

“We want to hear how such events affect older people, both directly and indirectly, and how we can tackle this issue in the future. This could be by sharing photos, videos or other creative formats about your experiences.”

Project leader Ryan Woolrych, a Professor of Ageing and Urban Studies and Director of The Urban Institute at Heriot-Watt University, said: “The combined effects of climate change on the health and wellbeing of older people must be better understood.

“By understanding the challenges faced by older people, we can help develop city and community approaches, to better support older people before, during and after extreme weather events.”

Anyone over the age of 60 can contribute to the project - take part in this research.   


Annie Pugh