Tag Archives: Winter Fuel Payment

The Queen’s Speech – will social care be included?

Photo by Michael Garnett licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.

At Age UK we will be listening very carefully to the Queen’s Speech to see if social care is mentioned and, if it is, what precisely is said. We sincerely hope that an intention to bring forward proposals for consultation will be stated, signifying that this new Government intends to press on with the Green Paper that was already underway before the General Election campaign began.

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Living in a cold home is dangerous, but the Winter Fuel Payment really helps

Older couple receive billIt is now well understood that cold homes are dangerous. People who are vulnerable because of underlying health or mobility issues can face an increased risk in cold conditions from high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes and respiratory illnesses, as well as dizziness, falls and depression.

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The fatal statistics of cold weather

The annual publication of the Excess Winter Deaths statistics are a reminder – a rather grim reminder – of how badly we manage cold in this country.

Still substantially higher than in most European countries, the figures for 2010-2011 show a small fall from the previous year, with winter deaths in all age groups falling from 28,570 to 28,150 in Great Britain (the figures for Northern Irelandare not yet available).  Of these, the majority were among people over 65 – 26,010 falling to 23,840.

In truth, since winter is defined as the 4 months December to March, the deaths counted as winter deaths are sometimes a bit arbitrary.  The substantial point is that they represent only the visible tip of an iceberg of illness, misery, unhappiness and anxiety.  Thanks to some authoritative research earlier this year by the Marmot team (on public health), we now know a lot more about the adverse effects of cold.

Obviously it exacerbates underlying circulatory and respiratory illnesses, but also feeds into depression and mental health, and by dint of people skimping on food in order to afford fuel bills, some people are not feeding themselves adequately.  These elements remain a scourge on our older population, however many deaths are counted by the statistics. Continue reading