ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, has called on all organisations to work together to support older people this winter and ‘share the warmth’.
In light of rising energy costs, and in partnership with Government and the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, the organisation is encouraging older people to stay warm this winter.
A recent survey carried out by ALONE among older people we work with indicated that:
· 92% of older people ALONE work with say they are most concerned about heating and energy bills, followed by food prices (67% ) and household maintenance (such as broken appliances ) (32% ).
· Nearly three quarters were ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ concerned about the cost of living.
· Nearly two thirds worry about struggling to pay the bills.
ALONE is encouraging older people to reach out to their national helpline if they are concerned about energy and heating this winter, the organisation noting that older people are more likely to live in colder homes, and are on fixed incomes, both of which can pose financial difficulties during the winter months.
“More than half of older people aged 75+ live in BER rated EFG homes, which are more difficult to keep warm, and more than 214,000 older people were in receipt of Fuel Allowance in 2021. CSO data shows that people aged 65+ are experiencing among the highest inflation rates.
“The increase in energy costs is particularly difficult for older people, in particular those who are reliant on the State pension, who are living alone, who live in rural areas, or have health difficulties.
“We would also urge that all organisations and individuals who work with older people support and share the message to stay warm and well this winter. By working together, we can reach every older person and ensure no one feels they have to face this alone. At ALONE, we will provide direct support and also link in with our partners across the country to ensure no older person who makes contact with us goes without necessary support this winter – whether that is financial support, delivery of solid fuel, or simply a listening ear,” ALONE CEO, Sean Moynihan, stated.
ALONE’S National Support & Referral Line can be reached from 8am-8pm, seven days a week, by calling 0818 222 024.
ALONE’s tips for staying warm and well this winter while minimising your energy costs include:
· Lights use minimal amounts of electricity. Rather than switching off, switch to LED or energy efficient bulbs.
· Prioritise keeping devices that help you stay safe and well turned on. Keep your pendant alarm on (it uses a very small amount of energy ), and your phone charged.
· Before the winter really kicks in, get your boiler serviced, bleed your radiators and make sure your water cylinder is insulated. This will help you to be prepared and ensure your home and water is as warm as it can be.
· Eat at least one hot meal per day. Using your microwave can use less energy than your oven. When using your oven, once it is turned off, you can open the door slightly to make the most of the heat that has been generated.
· Get up, get dressed get moving: Keeping active can help to keep you warm. ALONE and our partners at Get Up, Get Dressed, Get Moving; Siel Bleu Ireland; and Age and Opportunity developed an at-home exercise guide suitable for everyone which can be found here.
· Wear several layers of light clothes.
· If you have curtains, blinds etc, open them on sunny days to use the heat of the sunlight to heat your home. Close the curtains or blinds at night to provide more insulation.
· Reduce energy use in areas that won’t affect your health. For example, only boil what water you need in the kettle, prioritise heating the rooms you spend the most time in, and wash clothes on a lower temperature.