Charities call for communities to check in with elderly people during cold snap
Age Action and Alone, the two primary charities helping the elderly, have issued an urgent national appeal for communities, neighbours and relatives to keep vigilant during the cold snap as a new report shows the recession is making it more difficult for the most vulnerable to stay warm, writes Jerome Reilly.
Age Action said that in the days before Christmas severe cold and wintery showers meant older people would be unable to leave their homes. "These people need our help. If you know someone who might be in this situation, Age Action is asking you to contact them and see what help they need. Some older people may be vulnerable to 'bogus callers' and it is important for neighbours to be aware of strangers calling on older people."
Age Action is advising older people who may be feeling vulnerable to contact a friend or family member. "Remember to keep at least one room heated and possibly sleep in that room during the cold spell, but remember to dampen down open fires at night. Eat at least one hot meal a day and keep active both physically and mentally."
ALONE is stressing that extreme cold temperatures can have a disproportionate effect on older people, particularly those living alone or those with limited mobility and health issues. A report published last week by the Institute of Public Health has shown that many older people are struggling to remain warm and well at home as a result of the economic downturn.
Over 62 per cent of older people surveyed were "very" or "somewhat" worried about the price of heating their home, and were faced with the dilemma to "heat or eat".
Sean Moynihan, chief executive of ALONE, stressed: "We're reminding members of the public that ALONE provides a Community Response service which can assist with any needs that an older person may have."