Climate change and the impact on older people

We are acutely aware that the burden of ill-health is not shared equally. In countries like the UK there is an almost 20-year difference in healthy life expectancy between people living in the richest and poorest places, and as a result of the pandemic, the World Bank estimates that 150 million people world-wide will fall back into extreme poverty, with the consequent impact on their long-term health prospects.  DMT’s major themed grant funding call this year is on the topic of interventions to address the social determinants of healthier older age, however, there is more that we can do with the assets at our disposal to show leadership in addressing this issue, together with the broader environmental determinants. When it met earlier this month, our staff and Board of Trustees agreed that we would sign up to the ACEVO principles on climate and environmental leadership.

Health and medical research charities represent a wide range of causes committed to improving outcomes for people. We at the Dunhill Medical Trust acknowledge that the climate and biodiversity crises are systemic threats to our ability and to that of our award-holders to make progress in delivering our mission. These crises form part of the complex array of environmental factors contributing to long term health outcomes for people. Given that older people are one of the most vulnerable groups impacted by these issues, we must play our part in addressing them through the work that we fund and the way that we operate. This requires seeking out and using the best evidence available to us, sharing it, and encouraging others to join with us in acting upon it. We are therefore pleased to add our voice to those who are championing the need for ambitious leadership within our sector to respond and to find ways to play our part in mitigating the severe challenges we face.

Our initial action plan may be read here and the Board will receive reports at least annually on actions taken and progress made.