With increasing gray generation, the environmental needs also alter. In the current scenario, we see an increase in emergency situations particularly with older people. Somehow the needs and contribution of the senior citizens gets overlooked by humanitarian organization in terms of policy and practise; there are specific social and health factor that could individually or as a combination impact the emergencies in senior citizens. Some of them being
- Physical health
- Oral health and dentition
- Mental health
- Functional status and disability
- Lifestyle habits
- Family and social relations
- Economic situation
Being aware of the needs and contributions of senior citizens can help to identify potential risks, during and following an emergency situation, more importantly it can be used for prevention. Situation like an arthritic joint diminished vision, poor audibility all these render the senior citizen vulnerable as fleeing from danger, or food gathering becomes a challenge to them.
A venture from WHO
WHO looks at senior citizen not as a vulnerable population, but as resilient, knowledge contributor the society whose knowledge can be drawn upon by the society and families.
To provide effective interventions that include equitable access to essential health and social services to the senior citizens during all phases of emergency there is a need in policy developers to provide a guideline that addresses their needs.
Currently WHO is encouraging senior citizen friendly town planning, and incorporating older person emergency help line, and activity centres in Public health agency based on case studies undertaken in 2006-2007 by the Public health agency of Canada and help the aged in UK.
WHO has come up with the global network of age-friendly cities and communities. These communities foster the exchange of experience and mutual learning between cities and communities worldwide. Any city or community that is committed to create an inclusive accessible urban environment to benefit their aging population is welcome to join. These cities and communities are of different sizes and are located in different parts of the world. They make an effort to be more age-friendly within very diverse cultural and socio-economic context, with focus being to create a physical and social urban environment that promotes healthy and active ageing and provide a good quality of life for the senior citizens.
WHO assists by providing a global platform for information exchange, mutual support through the sharing of experience. Furthermore, WHO also provides guidance and promotes the generation of knowledge on how to assess the age-friendliness of a city or a community, how to integrate an aging perspective in urban planning and how to create age friendly urban environment.