Vulnerability of Seniors to a Changing Climate

From fall of 2014 through spring of 2015, Center researcher Jason Rhoades engaged the senior citizen community of Bridgeport in a collaborative process to examine their vulnerability to climate change and develop strategies to enhance their resilience.  In addition to offering insights into the impacts of climate change on the elderly, the project also presents a potential framework for engaging vulnerable groups in participatory adaptation planning.  The complete dissertation describing the project and research can be found at: https://etd.ohiolink.edu/pg_10?0::NO:10:P10_ETD_SUBID:113828

Abstract:
Recent reports highlight the vulnerability of the elderly to climate change.  Unfortunately, a lack of research incorporating the perspectives of the elderly on this topic could cause their needs to go unrecognized and unaddressed.  To promote adaptation planning that is responsive to the concerns of the elderly, this dissertation presents the results of a participatory research and adaptation planning process conducted in partnership with the elderly community of Bridgeport, Connecticut.  The process combined a five-step climate change adaptation planning model with a community-based action research approach that placed the elderly participants as key drivers in the research and planning processes. For this research, the elderly participants began by exploring their vulnerability to current and predicted climate stressors including extreme heat, flooding, storms, and air pollution.  They then developed adaptation goals and strategies.  Finally, a summative evaluation assessed the planning process itself.  Among the key findings, this research identified personal attributes, including health, economic, and social characteristics, that interact with a range of contextual factors to influence the elderly population’s vulnerability.  As a result, predicted climate changes could have serious consequences for Bridgeport’s elderly.  Participants recommended adaptation goals and strategies to enhance their resilience with a focus on encouraging preparedness and providing community services including warning mechanisms, resources to secure safe shelter, transportation resources, as well as resources to aid in coping and recovery.   A prioritization exercise showed that participants believed all the suggestions were likely to be effective and feasible to implement.  Furthermore, the summative evaluation revealed that the participatory planning process enhanced the elderly’s resilience by raising awareness and understanding, increasing communication, and strengthening elders’ ability to self-advocate.  Key themes that contributed to the process’s effectiveness included the value of collaborating with local organizations, fostering an accessible and inclusive process, connecting subject matter with the day-to-day concerns of participants, and using an iterative process to build the capacity of participants.  While limited to a single case study, this research offers potentially transferable insights into the broader elderly community’s vulnerability to climate change and presents a model for engaging vulnerable groups in adaptation planning.

For more information on the research, contact Jason Rhoades at: 603-283-2346 /

 

Upcoming Events

Sep06

Policy Advocacy: Climate Change

This course will provide participants with step-by-step skills in utilizing the tools of democracy to take meaningful civic action on climate change. Participants will learn the levers for building political will and the essentials of climate change communication. You will apply your learning by taking action in collaboration with a local environmental organization, and further your learning with your peers via Antioch’s online learning platform and optional one-on-one meetings with the instructor.
Register Now

Oct02

Climate Impacts: Vulnerability and Adaptation Planning

Local and regional governments are leaders in climate change due to their unique position to make a wide range of decisions that can mitigate and adapt to our changing climate. Because they are on the frontline, many communities have conducted vulnerability assessments and engaged in adaptation planning. This module will enable participants to assess impacts to a business, community, or sector based on specific climate projections for a specific locale.
Register Now

Nov06

Climate Impacts: Communication, Facilitation, and Stakeholder Capacity Building

Collective actions at the societal level (civic or political action behaviors) include involvement and support of policies, plans, and funding for implementation of municipal projects that could increase local climate resilience. Community engagement with the issue of climate change typically is lacking at the local level. How individuals feel about climate change, how much they know about the issue, and how they act are all types of engagement that are needed for societal change.
Register Now

join our mailing list

Sign up to get updates and information about events from the Center delivered to your inbox. All fields are required.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Antioch University New England, 40 Avon Street, Keene, NH, 03431, http://www.communityresilience-center.org. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Contact Us

Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience

Antioch University New England
40 Avon Street
Keene, NH 03431-3516

ccpcr@antioch.edu

supported By

Antioch University New England

©2022 Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience.

Web design by EHW Design.