How to Encourage Older Adults to Adopt a More Sustainable Life

Adopting sustainable habits or practices is something that can be started at any age. Even minor modifications to one’s lifestyle can have significant impacts. Making these changes can often be challenging for older adults who are set in their ways. Presented below are a few pointers to consider when discussing climate change and sustainability with the elderly, although these may not always be applicable or suitable. 

Clearing Out and Giving Away Lightly Used Possessions

Decluttering their living spaces is one of the most straightforward ways for seniors to adopt a greener lifestyle. This process entails clearing out unneeded or unused clothes and items. Besides creating extra room in the house, decluttering also helps minimize waste production and landfill growth. 

Elderly individuals can simplify decluttering and promptly dispose of unwanted items by hiring a dumpster. Certain adult family living homes like Longhouse encourage seniors to declutter by planning clothes drives with relatives, friends, and neighbors. Identify local donation facilities that accept gently worn clothes and other household goods. These donated items are often given a new life through reuse or repurposing, preventing them from ending up in landfills.

Lessen their Impact on Carbon Footprints

Elderly individuals can make minor daily adjustments to minimize their carbon emissions. For instance, they can opt for rechargeable batteries rather than disposable ones, carry reusable water bottles and shopping bags when they go out, and lessen the volume of food waste that gets discarded in landfills. 

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Additional uncomplicated steps that can aid seniors in lowering their environmental footprint include switching off lights and electronic devices when they’re not being used, limiting the usage of single-use plastics, and preferring locally sourced goods whenever feasible.


Recyclable items in your locality typically include soda cans, paper materials, and certain types of plastics. Encourage them to familiarize themselves with the specific guidelines set by your local recycling program to ensure proper disposal of these products. 

Plastic bags are often challenging as most recycling programs generally don’t accept them. However, many retailers offer specific drop-off points for these items. An even better solution is to avoid using plastic bags entirely by bringing your own reusable ones.

Upcycling is another excellent way to minimize waste. This involves finding new purposes for items that would otherwise be discarded. For instance, tell them to think about how it can be repurposed instead of throwing away the plastic strawberry container from the supermarket. It could be filled with soil for planting seeds or used as an organizer in your desk drawers.

Regarding clothing and equipment, have them purchase second-hand items and donate those they no longer need rather than discarding them. If they have old T-shirts that are beyond donation, they can transform them into dish rags. This is a great alternative to buying paper towels, and it helps reduce waste.

Maintain a Diet that is Both Nutritious and Balanced

For a healthy aging process and to mitigate the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, it’s essential to prioritize whole foods packed with fiber and have little saturated fat in your diet. The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health advocates for a diet similar to the Mediterranean one to fulfill this aim. This diet emphasizes the balanced intake of:

  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Olive oil
  • Nuts
  • Legumes
  • Fish
  • Seeds
  • Fruits
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Restrict red meat, full-fat dairy products, and processed foods.


Adapting to change is always a challenge, and embracing a sustainable health regimen can be tough, but it’s essential for everyone, particularly seniors and those dealing with chronic illnesses. However, with minor, deliberate adjustments to their mindset and actions, adopting and sustaining a viable health routine is possible.