One in six concerned about parents staying warm this winter – health, safety and loneliness among main concern
More than eight in ten British adults worry about their older parents, according to new research from the Home Heat Helpline (0800 33 66 99). With winter in full force, one in six British adults admitted to worrying about their parents keeping warm in the winter.
The main reason for concern is health, with seven in ten listing this as their main worry, although their safety (34%), loneliness (28%) and finances (21%) are also cited as reasons for anxiety about their parents.
Lawrence Slade, chief operating officer at Energy UK, which runs the Home Heat Helpline said: “We know older people are often worried about their energy bills and sometimes shiver in silence rather than get the help they’re due.
“The Home Heat Helpline is not just there for the bill payer – it can offer practical support and tips to families and carers so they, in turn, can ensure all the help that’s available gets to the people who need it.
“No one needs to be afraid to switch the heating on – call and ask what assistance is available. Everyone needs a helping hand from time to time so take advantage of any support on offer.”
Despite their concerns, only just over half (53%) of those polled feel they are able to give advice to their parents on a regular basis*. Furthermore, few are aware of the external support available – only 14% said they helped their parents to get further assistance from local government and charities.
According to the Met Office, the cold weather is finally on its way with January predicted to return to an average 4 degrees Centigrade after a mild December. The confidential and free Home Heat Helpline is urging older people or their children to call 0800 33 66 99 to find out if they are eligible for financial assistance with their energy bills and for advice on keeping their home warm. A call to the helpline could result in savings of up to £300 per household.
Mervyn Kohler, external affairs adviser at Age UK, said: “Winter can be a very distressing time for many older people. Many people don’t realise the cold weather can increase the risk of health problems and unnecessary deaths in winter, so it’s vital older people stay warm and well inside and outside during the winter months.
“Last winter there were 24,000 deaths because of the cold weather that could have been avoided – that’s 200 a day.
“This is why we need to do all we can to keep older people warm and well this winter. Help and support is available, and that’s why Age UK is supporting the Home Heat Helpline and the valuable support they can offer to older people and families.”
The Home Heat Helpline assisted over 42,000 people during the 2012/13 winter season with approximately £250 energy savings per household.