04 Oct The cost of living crisis and the elderly
Three-quarters of over 65’s in the UK (9.4 million people) are worried about the rising cost of living, according to research for Age UK this year. Over half of those surveyed said they’ll have to heat their home less, with a quarter saying they’ll have to choose between heating their home and the food they buy.
This blog looks at some of the help available along with some energy saving ideas and our top tips on keeping warm.
What help is available?
With the cost of living having an impact on everyone’s energy bills, it’s important to understand what help is available and what cost of living payments you’re eligible for. You can find out more here: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/money-legal/debt-savings/energy/cost-of-living-payments/
The following schemes have been set up to help:
Winter Fuel Payment is an annual tax-free payment for households that include someone born on or before 25 September 1956. It’s designed to help you cover your heating costs in winter and you could get between £100 and £300 to help with your bills this winter. Source: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/money-legal/benefits-entitlements/winter-fuel-payment/
Cold Weather Payment is extra money for people receiving certain benefits, such as Pension Credit, when there’s very cold weather. You receive £25 a week for each 7 day period of cold weather. This only applies between 1 November and 31 March each year.
Warm Home Discount is a one-off payment to help with the cost of energy during the winter. It’s designed to make things a bit easier for those living on a low income or pension. This winter it is rising from £140 to £150. Source: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/money-legal/benefits-entitlements/warm-home-discount/
Check your energy
If you’re not very mobile, are 65 or over, or have a health condition, such as heart or lung disease, heat your home to at least 18C / 65F (source: https://www.nhs.uk/).
We would encourage everybody to make some small changes to reduce the amount of energy you are using.
- Turn off the radiators in rooms that you don’t use, but make sure you keep the living room warm and heat your bedroom before going to bed.
- Draw your curtains, as soon as it gets dark to stop the heat escaping and the draughts coming in.
- Keep doors and windows closed and use draught excluders to stop cold air flowing through your home.
- Get a keyhole cover – it should only cost a couple of pounds and will help keep the draughts out in cold weather.
- Use hot water bottles or electric blankets to warm the bed, however never use them together as this can be dangerous.
- Ensure your heating system is serviced regularly and check your water stopcock is working properly.
- Turn lights off when you leave a room, but we recommend keeping lights on around stairs to avoid falling.
- Use LED bulbs where possible to save money.
- Switch off appliances when not in use rather than leaving them on standby
- Shower instead of taking a bath.
- Fix any dripping taps.
- Don’t leave the water running when brushing teeth or washing up etc.
- Only boil the kettle once and only boil as much water as you need.
- Run the washing machine at a lower temperature of 30 degrees.
- Consider insulating your roof or cavity walls – this could save up to £400 per year (source: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/money-legal/debt-savings/energy/energy-saving-tips/)
Keeping yourself warm
It is important to keep yourself warm, not just your home. Here are our top tips:
- Wear several thin layers, rather than one thick layer. Layers trap warm air close to the body, helping to insulate the heat. Cotton, wool or thermal clothes are ideal.
- A lot of heat is lost through the head and neck, so if you’re chilly indoors, try wearing a hat or scarf.
- Eat at least 1 hot meal a day – eating regularly helps keep you warm. Make sure you have regular hot drinks too.
- If you’re sitting down, a shawl or blanket will provide extra warmth. You should also try to keep your feet up, because air is cooler at ground level.
- Try not to sit still for more than an hour or so indoors – get up and stretch your legs.
- Stay active – even moderate exercise and stretching can help keep you warm.
- For cold feet wear thick socks and preferably cosy slippers with a good grip too.
- Wear warm clothes in bed and wear non-slip bed socks.
- Don’t stand outside for long periods of time, as you can quickly get a chill.
- If you have a heart or respiratory problem, stay indoors during very cold weather.
If you or anybody you know is concerned about the coming winter months, please know that we’re always happy to have a chat to see how we might be able to help. We hope you all keep warm and comfortable this Autumn and Winter.