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Older People

Who We Help
© UNHCR/S. Schulman

Getting on and in Need

There is limited awareness of the rights, needs and contributions of older people during crisis situations and an urgent need to raise their profile among humanitarian decision-makers and practitioners. Older refugees and internally displaced have specific needs that are routinely neglected in humanitarian planning and programming. Older people can be particularly vulnerable during conflict or natural disasters. Lack of mobility, weakened vision and chronic illnesses such as arthritis or rheumatism can make access to support difficult, and aid services often do not take these issues into consideration. In times of displacement, older people are sometimes reluctant to leave their homes and are therefore often the last to flee from danger. Once displaced, older people suffer great upheaval and often become both socially isolated and physically separated from their families, increasing their vulnerability.

Through its Age, Gender and Diversity Mainstreaming (AGDM) approach, UNHCR is working to ensure integrated and inclusive programming so older people can actively participate in planning and implementing emergency response activities to meet their human rights, protection needs, and ensure access to basic services as they recover and rebuild after a crisis.