Older Persons

During times of displacement, older persons have urgent rights and needs. They can be particularly at risk of abuse and neglect during conflict or natural disasters, when a lack of mobility, diminished vision and chronic illnesses can make access to support difficult. Today, older refugees make up some 4 per cent of the overall population of concern to UNHCR, and by 2050 more of the world will be over 60 than under 12 years old.

Older persons are sometimes reluctant to leave their homes and often the last to flee from danger. In exile, they can become socially isolated and physically separated from their families, compounding their situation of vulnerability. Older women and men can actively contribute to their families and communities, even in displacement, if they are given an opportunity.

At UNHCR, we work hard to support and protect older people on the move, enabling access to basic services as they recover and rebuild after a crisis. Our donors, including you, help to ensure that older refugees live their later years in dignity and security.