WASH and Older People

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Today, people worldwide can expect to live into their 60s and beyond.

There are estimated to be around 900 million older adults (aged 60 years and above), around 13 per cent of the world population.

The COVID-19 pandemic helped shed light on the specific needs of older people as a group more susceptible to severe disease/infection, and revealed the lack of capacity within water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) NGOs to respond to these specific needs.

This Sanitation Learning Hub Learning Paper explores the WASH needs of older people in both development and humanitarian contexts, as well as the fundamental role older people play in facilitating other people’s WASH access, health, and wellbeing.

The paper refers to the data WASH actors collect on older people in order to understand their differing WASH needs, the barriers to accessing WASH, and the need to ensure older people’s participation, including their active role in helping find the solutions.

Recommendations are made for planning with communities and programme design; WASH programme implementation and to reduce environmental barriers.

This paper is also available in French and Portuguese:

Institute of Development Studies

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