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Insulation a key to preventing winter deaths, says Age Concern

Insulation a key to preventing winter deaths, says Age Concern

Better home insulation is one of the measures that can help reduce the number of old people in Wales dying during the cold weather this winter, Age Concern's Welsh branch Age Cymru has said.

The charity was responding after new figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that the mortality rate from hypothermia was higher in Wales than England.

According to the study, there were 24,300 'excess deaths' in the winter of 2015-16, defined as being the additional mortality tally seen in winter as compared with warmer months of the year. This meant that across England and Wales as a whole there were 15 per cent more deaths, but in Wales the figure was 17 per cent.

While this covered all deaths and the number of people aged 64 and younger affected was up - along with a drop in the number of excess deaths among over-85s - Age Cymru remains concerned that older people are particularly vulnerable in the winter.

Speaking to ITV News, Age Cymru spokesperson Victoria Lloyd said: "We know that lots of people will be living in colder homes so that's why we think it's really important that people get the help they're entitled to, making sure that they get all the financial entitlements, making sure that they've done any adaptations that they might need for their house, so getting some insulation, and there's advice available for that in our Winter Wrapped Up guide too."

Age UK had already raised concerns about winter deaths before the release of the statistics.

Pre-empting the figures, it issued a statement last month noting that Britain has one of the highest winter death rates in Europe, worse than that seen in many colder countries.

It calculated that an extra 2.5 million deaths have occurred as a result of cold homes in winter over the past 60 years, and said a key reason for this was not just the poor quality of homes, but what it called the lack of a "comprehensive" energy efficiency plan that would help ensure older people have well-insulated homes.  

Image: iStock

 

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