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Eight older people hourly die during winter
Heating their homes has to get cheaper
for poorer old people © PixelQuelle.de
Just over eight older people in Britain died every hour last winter. More than 150,000 over 65s have died during the winters of past six years - more than any other age group - figures released today show.
Nearly 90 per cent of all excess winter deaths are of people over the age of 65. Older people are particularly at risk of dying during the winter as they are often less resilient to cold-related illnesses, especially people with existing health problems.
It is essential not to get cold, but keeping warm at home can be difficult for many over 60s as they are more likely to live in sub-standard or energy inefficient homes, and are more likely to be living in fuel poverty than other people in Britain.
Gordon Lishman, Age Concern's Director General, said:
"It is a national scandal that so many people over 65 are put at risk every winter. More needs to be done for older people during the winter months so that they can heat their homes adequately without worrying about the cost.
"The Government must ensure that decent housing, energy efficiency measures and a higher basic state pension are in place to help older people stay warm. It must also act to ease the burden of rising energy bills by upping the Winter Fuel Payment by £100.
"Older people need to take extra care when it is cold. We urge older people to make sure that their home is heated properly and to get the flu jab this winter. Dressing well, eating well, and keeping active can help you to keep warm throughout the day.”
Older people can contact their local Age Concern to check they are receiving all the money benefits they are entitled to. Boosting their income could mean they are more able to afford their heating bills.
Some Age Concern's will also offer extra help to older people when it gets cold. Local services are tailored to the needs of older people living in the area. The support offered could range from emergency packs to keep older people warm in very cold weather to a weekly lunch club where an older person can get a hot meal to help them to keep warm.
REHACARE.de; Source: Age Concern
- More information about Age Concern at: www.ageconcern.org.uk/AgeConcern/