Many nations have rapidly ageing populations, a phenomenon coinciding with global urbanisation and climate change. Today’s older people increasingly intend to remain physically active and socially interactive as they age. This aspiration may be problematic given overall trends in temperatures increasing due to climate change.
Heat stress has a significant impact on vulnerable urban populations, especially elderly residents. Extreme temperatures exacerbate cardiovascular diseases, respiratory distress and mental stress, leading to higher hospital admissions. Thus, heat waves in particular are a critical problem for governments and aged care providers alike.
Green infrastructure (GI) can mitigate the impacts of heat at multiple scales in cities. To date, there has been uncertainty about its potential benefits in the specific setting of aged care facilities (ACFs).
This paper provides emerging empirical insights on the potential of green infrastructure to mitigate heat stress and improve access, inclusion, and safety in Australian ACFs. It concludes that green infrastructure offers many strategic benefits in ACFs, but these are typically overlooked in design, landscaping and budgeting.