No end to cold-related deaths

John, who lives in a cold home

The Government’s latest statistics reveal that shockingly, 40,800 older people died in England and Wales last winter because of the cold. This is more than double the number of deaths than the previous year and far more than those who die from road fatalities annually.

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Complaining to energy suppliers


We’ve all heard people complaining about poor service from their energy companies. We’ve all read newspaper articles about inaccurate bills and unanswered queries. We’ve all seen the hefty fines handed to companies for failing customers.   In truth, the energy sector has not covered itself in glory handling consumer complaints.

But householders do not need to grin and bear it. Legal and other changes to consumer protection offer increased support to aggrieved customers. All the major energy companies are now answerable to an Ombudsman. But to take action, the Ombudsman needs to be satisfied that the consumer has followed due process. Continue reading

A lonely future?

This post originally appeared on  the International Longevity Centre’s blog as part of a series of blogs on the Future of Ageing, published in the lead up to the ILC-UK Future of Ageing conference on 24 November.

Zoe Heller wrote vividly about the terror of loneliness, describing what it is to “wake up and gaze out of the window at another bloody daybreak, and think, I cannot do this anymore. I cannot pull myself together again and spend the next fifteen hours of wakefulness fending off the fact of my own misery…the drip drip of long-haul, no-end-in-sight solitude… [other people] don’t know what it is to construct an entire weekend around a visit to the laundrette.”

Heller’s novel ‘Notes on a Scandal’ came back to me last week when Age UK launched our campaign on loneliness, ‘No One Should have no one’ which highlights the unbearable truth that a million people haven’t spoken to a friend, neighbour or family member for over a month and that for over 4 million older people the television is their main form of company. Continue reading

More than 46,000 older people ‘stripped’ of their Meals on Wheels service


This week is ‘Meals on Wheels Week’

This post was contributed by Dianne Jeffery, chair of the Malnutrition Task Force and Chairman of Age UK.

This week is Meals on Wheels Week, a great initiative that brings the care sector together to raise awareness about the importance of Meals on Wheels services.

No one should doubt the importance of Meals on Wheels. Since 1943, the year of its introduction, the service has always played an integral role in the care of the elderly and most vulnerable in society.

By delivering straight to someone’s door, it is vital in helping those who are unable to purchase or prepare their own hot meal and can be a real social boon for those who struggle to get out.    Continue reading