The elderly should wrap up, stay warm and prepare for the unexpected, Malcolm Booth, CEO of the National Federation of Occupational Pensioners (NFOP) told Westminster World.
Almost 44,000 ‘excess winter deaths’ occurred across England and Wales in 2014/15 according to statistics released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
‘Excess winter deaths’, a term adopted by the ONS, are the number of people whose deaths are registered between December and March. An unprecedented 27% more people are dying during the winter months compared to the rest of the year. The majority of deaths occurred among people over the age of 75.
The Age UK has launched their Spread the Warmth UK. According to the Age UK, each winter one older person dies every 7 minutes from the cold. At the root of this problem are cold, poorly insulated homes. Spread the Warmth provides social activities and contact for older people, as well as tips on combating the cold at home and outdoors.
Dame Helen Mirren is an avid supporter of the cause, saying, “it’s shocking that so many older people die needlessly in the winter months. I’d urge everyone to get stuck in this winter and help out older friends, neighbours and relatives”.
On the 25th November the Government published a joint Spending Review, an opportunity as according to External Affairs Office of the Age UK, Mervyn Kohler, “To show the leadership required to combat fuel poverty and cold homes”.
Their 5-Year Forward View put forward by the government was, as according to the Age, a success, however their approach to social care remains a worry.
“A vigorous program of energy investment needs to be implemented from the government”, said Mervyn Kohler.
In light of these issues, Malcolm Booth, CEO of the NFOP indicated two formative pieces of advice for our elderly.
“Ensure adequate stocks of food, and make sure there is at least one warm room with good heating,” he said.
According to Age UK, among the over 65s the number of excess winter deaths have more than doubled since 2013/2014 when there were 15,900 deaths.
Malcolm Booth, CEO of the NFOP also encourages students across to the country to be in contact with elderly neighbours and family members.
“Offer to get the shopping for your grandma, even call the elderly neighbour next door to check in. Students can be actively involved in keeping an eye out on the elderly”, he said.
Images: Creative Commons, https://www.flickr.com/photos/vinothchandar/8530944828