Charity report on elderly deaths in cold homes very worrying

First published in Lifestyle

A Stourbridge energy expert said this week that a new report highlighting that thousands of lives will be lost over the next few months because of soaring energy prices and badly insulated homes was very worrying.

Colin Priest, who lives in Quarry Bank, said findings by Age UK revealed that living in a poorly heated home was a ‘major factor’ in two out of five extra winter deaths and that there would be around 8,000 extra fatalities this year for every one degree drop in average temperatures.
In a document entitled The Cost of Cold, the charity said respiratory problems, strokes and heart attacks triggered by a fall in the thermometer and illnesses such as arthritis and rheumatism were costing the NHS £1.36 billion every year.
But Colin, pictured, pointed out that the British figures were worse than Scandinavia, which has colder winters but better insulation in homes.
“Countries like Finland and Sweden have superior building standards and insist on insulation and double glazing leading to warmer houses and fewer health problems,” added Colin.

He supported a call by the charity urging the government and local authorities to recognise the issue as a major health priority and to help the elderly with the high cost of energy and to insulate their homes better.
“This would be money better spent in preventing problems rather than having to pay the NHS to treat the casualties of the cold weather,” he said.
Michelle Mitchell, charity director general at Age UK, said: “It’s an absolute scandal that tens of thousands of older people will become ill or die this winter because they are unable to keep warm.
“At the root of the problem are badly insulated homes, which together with cripplingly high energy prices, are leaving millions of older people having to choose between staying warm and energy bills they can afford,” she added.
Colin, of Noreus Ltd in Stafford, said there were many ways the elderly could reduce their energy bills and stay warmer this winter.

One long-term plan he suggested was insulating the loft and walls with the Icynene Insulation System, a Canadian system which has been tested in far worse wintry conditions than the UK suffers.
This non-toxic 100 per cent, water blown, soft spray insulation system forms an air-tight seal in the attic and reduces heating bills by up to 50 per cent as it literally stops heat going up through the roof. As Icynene is installed between the rafters it also allows you to keep your loft floor for storage.
With an average UK heating bill of £1,200 householders can save up to £600 a year, every year.
To find out more about both cutting your energy bills and insulating your home better, contact Colin on 0845 474 6641.

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