Taken from BATH ECHO 30/11/2015

“As we get older it is harder for our bodies to detect how cold it is, and the longer someone is exposed to the cold, the more at risk they are,” said Janet Dabbs, Age UK B&NES’ chief executive.

“In Bath and North East Somerset, 1020 older people have lost their lives unnecessarily to the cold over the past 10 winters.

“These are deaths that we can all help to prevent. Many older people worry that they cannot afford to turn up the heating – we can work with them to look at how they can keep their homes warm and keep costs down.” 

Through its Winter Warmth service, Age UK B&NES is highlighting the following messages to encourage older people to protect their health:

  • Keep living room at 70 degrees F (21ºc).
  • Keep bedroom at 65 degrees F (18ºc).
  • Keep your bedroom window closed at night when the weather is cold.

Age UK B&NES’ free service includes:

Practical support such as shopping, walking the dog, preparing hot meals, home visits, clearing snow.

Benefits checks to ensure people are receiving all the help they can with their heating bills, including the Warm Home Discount of £140 which some people may be eligible for.

Ensuring people are on the best fuel tariff possible and helping them to switch to a better deal

Distribution of the free Winter Wrapped Up guide to older people, GP surgeries, pharmacies and older people’s groups across the county. This includes a free room thermometer and a host of advice and information on staying healthy and warm, including a recipe book.

Signposting and support accessing grants for energy-saving home improvements of up to £6,000 via Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Energy at Home scheme.

Representatives from the local charity are also visiting older people’s groups to talk about keeping warm and tackling fuel poverty.

They have already visited Salvation Army groups in Bath and will be at Age UK B&NES’ Day Centres in Bath, Midsomer Norton and Keynsham, as well as Bath Ethnic Minority Senior Citizens’ Association, Keynsham Baptist Women’s League, the Chew Valley Monday Club and more in the coming weeks. 

To find out more about what’s on offer for older people, or to get a copy of the free Winter Wrapped Up guide – which includes a room thermometer – call into the Age UK B&NES office at Kingsmead Square in Bath or 01225 462641 or 01225 466135, Monday – Friday.

You can also call the AGE UK helpline, seven days a week, 365 days per year on 0800 1696565.

Age UK B&NES is a local charity that supports around 12,000 older people, their families and carers every year, with essential services.

It has a small team of staff and around 150 volunteers who assist with a variety of tasks including day care and lunch club provision, toenail cutting and home from hospital services.

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