December 08, 2014

Latest government statistics (issued by the ONS on 28/11/14) have revealed the number of excess winter deaths that occurred in 2012/13, with provisional figures for last winter stating the number of people who died, primarily as a result of poorly insulated homes.

Excess winter deaths are mostly a result of older people being too cold during the winter months, especially in rural areas where there are typically more older people living and houses are less well insulated against the cold. The disturbing figures further revealed that last winter 15,900 of the deaths in England and Wales were people over the age of 65.

To help alleviate the problem, OFTEC, the trade body for oil heating which is mainly used in rural areas not connected to mains gas, has teamed up with Age UK to provide advice to help the elderly across Britain to better prepare for winter.

Getting ready for the cold weather – means that you’re more likely to keep warm and well. Here are some things you can do to stay safe and ward off the winter chills.

  • Order your heating Oil in plenty of time before the cold weather arrives.
  • Check your oil heating system is working properly before winter arrives. We recommend having it serviced at least once a year by a qualified OFTEC registered engineer
  • Keep simple cold, flu and sore throat remedies in the house.
  • Follow up your GP’s invitation to have a flu jab.
  • Order repeat prescriptions in plenty of time, particularly if bad weather is forecast.
  • Ask your local pharmacy if they offer a prescription pick-up and delivery service.
  • Dress in plenty of layers and make sure that you have some warm shoes or boots with non-slip soles.
  • Eat healthily and keep as active as possible.
  • Keep basic food items in the cupboard or freezer in case it’s too cold to go shopping.
  • Keep a mixture of salt and sand handy to put on steps or paths in icy weather.
  • Consider fitting a grab rail if you have steps at your front or back door.

You can view the OFTEC and Age UK winter advice document by clicking here.

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