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Eamon Timmins

Look out for the elderly

Age Action is urging communities to play their part to ensure that their older neighbours remain safe and well in their homes as Met Eireann forecasts snowy and icy conditions countrywide today (Tuesday).

Age Action spokesman Eamon Timmins said, “Snow and ice make that challenge even greater as many older people may not be able to get out to buy food, fuel or medical supplies.”

Met Eireann is forecasting accumulations of up to 8cm of snow in some parts of the country and hail, sleet and icy conditions in other areas.

“If there is an older person living in your neighbourhood we would encourage you tovisit or phone them to check if they need supplies and that they are okay – don’t depend on others to do it,” Mr Timmins said.

” We are urging older people not to venture out in slippery and dangerous conditions. But if they are to take this advice, they may need help from neighbours to get supplies.”
Older people can also play a role in ensuring they remain well and warm in their homes by taking practical steps. Maintaining a comfortable temperature in the rooms they are living in is essential at this time of year. It should be about 21 degrees Celsius in the room they are living in and 18 degrees in other rooms. “If you are struggling to afford to heat your home, concentrate on heating your bedroom and the other rooms you live in,” Mr Timmins said.

“The cold can kill,” Mr Timmins said. “Between 1,500 and 2,000 excess deaths occur during the winter in Ireland, compared to the summer. Many of these are older people who die as a result of respiratory illness or cardiovascular disease. The cold weather, inadequate heating, low incomes and poorly insulated homes are contributory factors in some of these deaths.”

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