Elderly lady's hands


Prof Sarah Curtis & Dr Dimitry Val

Durham University & Heriot-Watt University

November 2009 to October 2012

AIM: To develop a methodology for selecting locally sensitive, efficient adaptation strategies during the period up to 2050 to ensure that the infrastructures and health and social care systems supporting well-being of older people (i.e. those aged 65 and over) will be sufficiently resilient to withstand harmful impacts of climate change.


  • Identify locations within the UK that are most at risk from relevant aspects of climate change and the nature of the changes.
  • Within the zones at greatest risk from climate change, identify ‘case study’ communities (neighbourhoods or small settlements) in urban and rural settings with high concentrations of older people and with a range of socio-economic conditions.
  • Engage stakeholders within the selected ‘case study’ communities and also at national and international levels. With their help, we will determine crucial aspects of living conditions, which sustain well-being of older people, and identify the key elements of health and social care systems and related infrastructures, which are important for maintaining these conditions in the case of weather hazards.
  • Identify different design and management solutions, including a probabilistic evaluation of their life-cycle costs, to improve resilience of health/social care systems and related infrastructures with emphasis on the previously identified key elements.
  • In collaboration with providers and users of services and other expert informants, develop strategies to integrate these design options into wider procedures and policies and disseminate knowledge about how to adapt built infrastructure to support older people’s health and well-being under changing climatic conditions.


The BIOPICCC Toolkit provides resources to assist local authorities, partner organisations, and neighbourhood and community groups with local level resilience planning. In particular, the toolkit supports planning to make health and social care services for older people more resilient to the effects of extreme weather.

  • BIOPICCC toolkit on Durham University website

Messages for local authorities

Working with the East Riding of Yorkshire and Horsham District Councils, BIOPICCC developed high level messages to help create local plans for the adaptation of health and social care services to climate change. These main messages are transferable to other English local authorities who wish to provide more weather resilient buildings and services.

Policy briefings

The BIOPICCC and DeDeRHECC (Design & Delivery of Robust Hospital Environments in a Changing Climate) projects have produced a briefing paper for policymakers summarising key findings to date relating to Community Resilience (pdf, 150 KB).

Climate Change, Risk and Resilience: Lessons for Health and Social Care Cross-Sector Symposium in association with the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) and the Adaptation and Resilience to a Changing Climate (ARCC) Coordination Network. 21st October 2011, Kings College London. Climate Change, Risk and Resilience: Lessons for Health and Social Care paper (pdf, 650 KB).

Research Briefing 1: Mapping future risks of extreme weather and growth in older populations paper (pdf, 580 KB). Many areas in England are projected to see an increase in severe weather over the next 30 years. Demographic changes mean that in some areas we may also need to care for high proportions of older people who may be particularly vulnerable to extreme weather hazards. The BIOPICCC project is examining where and how these two pressures coincide requiring significant adaptations to be made. This research is helping to inform local planning and local action to enhance resilience to climate change in an aging population.