The Challenges


The health and societal challenges older people face in daily life puts them at higher risk in emergencies. These challenges, however, are rarely accounted for in emergency planning and responses.


HelpAge coordinates with both international NGOs and local responders to ensure that the following core needs of older people are addressed during crises.



problems accessing medicine and health care in emergencies

Access to Health Care and Medicine 

Many people develop non-communicable diseases such as hypertension and diabetes as they age. These conditions deteriorate rapidly without essential medicines and treatment. 

older people are at risk of malnutrition because they have specific, often unmet dietary needs

Specific Dietary and Nutritional Needs

Relief agencies often fail to recognize the dietary needs of older people and exclude them from supplementary food programs.  

older people may have limited mobility or physical disabilities

Mobility Challenges and Disabilities 

Worldwide, over 46% of adults over 60 have a disability. Many are unable to flee in emergencies, and those with sensory disabilities may not be reached with evacuation warnings.  

Our Solutions


Less than 1% of humanitarian funding goes toward programs that address the needs of older people. This in spite of the fact that older people contribute immeasurably to response and recovery efforts. Older people are caregivers for children, managers of resources, and key knowledge-holders of survival tactics.


HelpAge programs are designed to reach those who are overlooked in crises. We work with older people to increase their access to humanitarian relief and recovery resources.  


Here’s how we work at all levels – from grassroots programming to national-level advocacy.




HelpAge works across our network of Older People’s Associations to implement emergency preparedness plans. We work with communities in disaster-prone areas to assess and mitigate risks such as malnutrition, disease, and crop damage.


Humanitarian System

We work to mainstream inclusion in humanitarian programs. We engage global humanitarian actors, civil society, and local responders on best practices for including older people in emergency preparedness and disaster risk reduction.



Government Policy

We advocate for governments and multilateral institutions to make policies and programs age-inclusive. Our initiatives range from improving national emergency response plans to coordinating global commitments for inclusion. 



See our work in action

responding to rohingya refugee crisis in cox's bazar bangladesh

Supporting Older Rohingya Refugees

HelpAge works with local partners in Cox's Bazar to ensure older Rohingya refugees have their needs met and their voices heard.

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Ukraine crisis responding to needs of older people

Reaching Older People in Ukraine

Helpage is providing psychosocial support and home-based care to older people affected by the protracted crisis, many of whom are alone.

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ensuring older people and people with disabilities can access humanitarian assistance

Advancing Humanitarian Inclusion

HelpAge works with the Age and Disability Capacity Program to ensure older people and people with disabilities are not left behind in crises.

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