Surveys show that 3 in 4 Americans older than 50 want to age in place, but climate change can make that difficult – and expensive. Next Tuesday, AARP is holding an online community conversation about adapting to climate change.
David Azevedo, associate director with AARP California, said making homes more climate resilient may become more difficult for older adults on a limited income, who lack emergency savings or the means to relocate.
“For housing, the change in climate can force homeowners to make necessary and often costly upgrades, such as filtration systems for areas prone to wildfires and smoke, or replacing air conditioning units with efficient ones in areas that are prone to extreme heat,” Azevedo said.
Climate change can affect older adults’ fitness and social life. For example, excessive heat or smoke from wildfires can keep people indoors, limiting opportunities to exercise or connect with family and friends, which increases the risk of social isolation.
Azevedo added heat is the number one weather-related cause of death in the U.S. with a disproportionate number of victims among older adults.
“Older people are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses due to weakened cardiovascular systems, pre-existing health conditions, and the fact that many prescription medications used by older people impact temperature regulation and hydration,” he said.
In 2025, California will launch an extreme-heat advanced warning system to help protect the public. AARP partnered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency – FEMA – to create a disaster resilience toolkit, which is on their website at http://bit.ly/3YyUEwN.