ALONE, the charity that supports older people to age at home, is urging older people to take extra care during the forecast cold weather conditions due to hit most of the country over the next few days.
Seán Moynihan, CEO of ALONE commented“Cold temperatures can have a serious affect on many older people, in particular those living alone, those with health issues, and those with limited mobility. 5% of Irish people aged over 65 who lived alone were unable to keep their homes adequately warm in 2012. This figure jumped to 9.8% in 2013. Given that 50% of Excess Winter Deaths (EWDs) experienced in Ireland can be linked to poor thermal efficiency in the dwellings, ALONE is urging older people to take extra care and encouraging those who are concerned about their own wellbeing during the cold weather to call for assistance and help if needed.”
He continued, “Following a very serious cold weather forecast by Met Éireann we are calling on all members of the public to remember their older neighbours living alone and to consider their needs. We’re advising older people to stay warm in the cold weather by ensuring they have adequate home heating, wearing layers of light but warm clothing, eating at least one hot meal a day and staying indoors where possible.”
ALONE is appealing to members of the public to look out for the older people in the community who may live alone, have no family or may be at risk of suffering from fuel poverty, illness or loneliness. A visit from a friend, family member, or neighbor to check on an older person’s heating levels, food supplies and security, as well as to simply offer some company, can make a huge difference.
ALONE is encouraging older people to prioritise their spending on heating during the cold weather. For those who are struggling to keep up with utilities bills, you can contact your utilities company to set up a payment plan. ALONE has volunteers and staff ready to act on requests for assistance and can advise on issues relating to food, heat, or medication. Further information, including advice and tips for older people in cold weather conditions, can be found on www.alone.ie.
For those who have concerns about their own wellbeing, or the wellbeing of a vulnerable older person in the community, ALONE can be contacted on (01) 679 1032 or visit www.alone.ie.