Older persons

As a group, elderly persons typically have elevated levels of vulnerability even in good times -- physical and mental infirmities, specific health and nutritional needs and separation from their families. Despite this vulnerability (and despite the principle of ensuring that aid goes to those most in need), the elderly often find themselves marginalized in crisis situations: left behind as communities flee, sidelined by programming objectives that focus on other vulnerable groups (e.g., children), or unable to find the specialized care they require.

Older woman looking into camera

Photo: Kate Holt/IRIN

Key actors

An international network of organizations focusing on issues that affect older persons in low- and middle-income countries, helping them claim their rights to lead dignified lives, including in emergency settings.

The international branch of Age UK (a member of HelpAge International), focusing on older persons in development programming and emergency response in low-income countries.

Crosscutting themes

Refugees and displaced persons

A recent study on older people in displacement, the progress made, and remaining challenges faced by those responding to forced displacement, both in addressing the specific needs of older people and harnessing their capacities


An analysis about health-related concerns that particularly affect older people in emergencies and policies and practices to address these considerations

Key references

A brief overview of the main risks that older persons are exposed to in emergency situations

Standards aiming at including older people and people with disabilities in humanitarian responses, including key actions to meet the standard, guidance notes to support the delivery of the actions, tools and resources, and case studies

Summary of good practices in embedding inclusion of older people and people with disabilities within humanitarian policies and practices

A recent study on older people with disabilities and their additional needs and challenges accessing humanitarian assistance and protection

Latest discussions