Latest government statistics (issued by the ONS on 28/11/14) have revealed that in 2012/13 there were 950 excess winter deaths in Sussex, with provisional figures for last winter stating that 2,600 people died in the South East, 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 Sussex to better prepare for winter.
Together, they have produced a ‘Keeping Warm This Winter’ booklet which is a free information guide that includes tips and advice, useful phone numbers, help with finding a local OFTEC-registered technician and advice on heating payment schemes for people over the age of 60.
The booklet, which can be downloaded at www.oilsave.org, gives advice on keeping warm including the importance of keeping the main living room heated to a temperature of around 21 degrees and bleeding radiators to ensure the heating system is running efficiently. Homeowners should also get their boiler serviced by an OFTEC registered technician and consider replacing it with a modern, high efficiency boiler if it is more than ten years old.
For more information and to download the free booklet, visit www.oilsave.org or www.ageuk.org.uk
OFTEC Caroline Abrahams
Charity director, Age UK