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Climate-resilient care for older people in the context of the Global Green New Deal and Just Transition

Your 1+1 Team
July 29, 2023

Elderly individuals, particularly those with disabilities and women, are more at risk of the adverse impacts of extreme heat and other climate-related events. These disasters can severely affect their physical and mental well-being with factors such as socioeconomic status, cultural norms, institutional support, and urban planning decisions further contributing to their vulnerability. Moreover, climate-related disasters affecting the health of seniors can potentially exacerbate existing issues. The increasing elderly population in many cities is already placing additional strain on health and care services. Therefore, enhancing care for the elderly is crucial for developing resilience to climate change.

C40 created a report to serve as an initial framework to address the challenges posed by climate change and care needs. The report explores the intersection of aging, care, and the climate emergency in urban areas. Their findings emphasize the importance of considering care work as a ‘green job,’ recognizing its role in bolstering resilience against extreme weather events. It also advocates for involving older people as active participants in decision-making processes.

Key points and recommendations in the C40 report include:

Empowering Care Sector in Climate Resilience: Pioneering ‘Green Jobs’ and Gender Equity for a Sustainable Future

  • Incorporating the care sector into climate resilience plans and recognizing care work as a ‘green job’ due to its contribution to building resilience against extreme weather events. Addressing care work’s gendered burden is vital for promoting workforce equity and providing better access to green jobs. This foundation would ensure acknowledgement and fair compensation for care work and provide universal access to high-quality and affordable care for all which will help women, particularly women of color and immigrants, in accessing the clean energy workforce.
  • Improving the quality of jobs in the care sector, which subsequently enhances the quality of care provided. This can be achieved by advocating for better care coordination across various settings, better wages and benefits for home care workers, promoting training and specialization for care workers, and ensuring good pay and working conditions for contracted care workers.
  • Implementing measures to reduce climate-related impacts on older people, such as providing training for care workers in shelter-in-place mechanisms and disaster planning. Prioritizing care facilities and older people’s homes in building energy efficiency policies can improve thermal comfort and reduce energy poverty. Training care providers to help older people reduce their vulnerability and identify energy poverty situations in their homes is also essential.
    Increasing active participation of older people to build stronger community resilience. This can be achieved by establishing new participation spaces and procedures that cater to the diverse and varied needs of older individuals, ensuring inclusivity in all participation services. Ageism in participation can affect the acknowledgment of older adults’ needs in climate emergencies.

By considering these recommendations, cities can take important steps towards safeguarding the well-being of older individuals, strengthening climate resilience, and promoting more equitable and sustainable societies. For more information, view C40 Cities executive summary.

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