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International Recovery Platform

Guidance on including older people in emergency shelter programmes

Shelter is a basic human right for people of all ages, but for older people, the sense of security and comfort that a home provides is particularly important. Losing their home in a disaster or conflict therefore has a profound psychological impact, particularly on the “oldest old” (people above 80 years). Suitable housing for older people is crucial to ensure a dignified life. When managing a shelter programme, it is essential to identify and address the needs of vulnerable older people and engage them in decision-making, in order for age-appropriate decisions to be taken. Yet various studies have pointed to a lack of attention to older people in shelter programmes. A recent study by HelpAge International shows that in 12 humanitarian emergencies between 2008 and 2010, in CAP and Flash Appeals, only one funded shelter project specifically highlighted the needs of older people.


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