Tag Archives: ageing society

Winter is here…


It’s that time of year again: the nights are drawing in and winter is here. Sadly, each winter 1 older person dies every 7 minutes from the cold weather and many more become seriously ill.

How does the cold affect the health of older people?

You might think that the cold is a major cause of hypothermia. That’s a myth. Very few deaths amongst older people in the winter are from hypothermia. The lethal effects of the cold strike much before the body gets that cold. Cold temperatures not only increase the likelihood and severity of flu and respiratory problems, but being cold also thickens the blood and increases blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Continue reading

Spending Review and Autumn Statement 2015

Age Uk campaigners deliver 'dont cut care' petition signatures to Chancellor of exchequers office, no 11 Downing street, London

Age Uk campaigners deliver ‘dont cut care’ petition signatures to Chancellor of exchequers office, no 11 Downing street, London

This post was contributed by Angela Kitching, joint Head of Public Affairs, at Age UK. 

‘A spending review for pensioners’ seems to be the reaction of many in the twittersphere, following George Osborne’s statement. Certainly, the Government’s ongoing commitment to the triple lock, up rating pensions by earnings, prices or 2.5%, is very welcome ongoing commitment. A decent state pension is vital to many older people who rely on the state as their sole source of income in later life and it sets a foundation for a decent retirement income.

But if we restrict our view to incomes alone, we are missing the bigger picture. Older people, as any council funding chief or hospital manager will tell you, are significant users of public services. Adult social care budgets are under enormous pressure as it stands. Over 1 million people aged over-65 do not receive the social care support they need and are coping with no help. These needs include help with basic activities such as going to the toilet or getting dressed. Continue reading

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