Do your parents keep the house warm enough?
This winter, 24,000 older people could die prematurely from the cold. That’s nearly 200 preventable deaths a day.
The average daily excess winter deaths for people aged 65+ in England and Wales is 206 people per day (over 8 per hour, or 1 person every 7 minutes).
Other much colder countries have much lower death rates in winter than the UK. For instance, in the coldest city in the world (Yakutsk in Siberia), there are generally no excess winter deaths.
So why is this, and what can we do about it?
The why is probably a difficult question to answer. I suspect personally it has a lot to do with what the current over 80’s have been through in their life. The easy life that we all enjoy now, with comparatively cheap and very available food, is a long way from the war years and the following decade.
Having to save up the dried fruit to make your own wedding cake over several months was a way of life. now, if the right fruit was not instantly available in the local supermarket, I suspect brides of today would be “miffed”.
This has made Octogenarians savers in an extreme, and so not spending available money now, even though they are probably chilled to the bone, is a way of life that younger people struggle to understand.
Tomorrow will be warmer. And I will still have my £300, saved for the rainer day that is coming.
Well, whatever the reason, our Elderly have a tendency in the UK to be too cold in winter. To an extreme level.
So What Can We Do About it?
I believe it is part of our duty as carers to make sure they keep warm. I found it difficult with my Dad. Until his later years, keeping warm mean putting another jumper on. My Mothers chilblains are testament to this. By nudging my mother every now and again that her living room is too cold, means that she now does keep the heating on longer, and does keep herself warmer. A key to this has been a part of the development of CareBubble. We purposely have temperature and humidity monitors in our sensors, and these can be seen easily on the web interface. Whats more, an alert can be set if it goes below a set temperature. We do not set these alarms for you, because one might be in an outer hall, or cold toilet, that cannot reasonably be warmer.
Before I developed CareBubble, She tended to warm the house if she knew she was going to have visitors. So my sister and I were blissfully unaware that the rest of the time the house was too cold.