With the current ‘arctic chill’ signalling the beginning of colder weather over the next month, the Government has launched a free ‘Keeping Warm this Winter’ guide, which offers key advice to help older people to stay safe and warm. The guide was launched by Helen McEntee TD, Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People.
The guide, updated for its third year, offers key advice to help older people to stay safe and warm throughout the winter period, and how best to use home heating systems e.g. tips on keeping fuel bills low, advice on energy efficiency and oil tank security, and also heating payments and schemes for older people.
With Met Éireann warning that all parts of the country are at risk of 3cm and 5cm of snow, it is vital that vulnerable, older people in our communities are provided with support to get through the difficult winter period. Minister McEntee is encouraging communities to support their elderly neighbours this week, with the Keeping Warm this Winter guide available in all Age Action shops free of charge or online.
The ‘Keeping Warm this Winter’ guide, which is being distributed throughout Ireland, was created by OFTEC, which represents the domestic oil heating and cooking industry in Ireland, in conjunction with Age Action.
Following the success of the campaign over the past two years, Minister McEntee TD is lending her support for the first time to highlight the important issue of excess winter deaths and inform those at greatest risk how they can keep safe and warm this winter.
Helen McEntee TD, Minister of State: “The OFTEC and Age Action Ireland ‘Keep Warm this Winter’ campaign is a reminder to us all of the importance of ensuring that our older friends and family stay warm during the cold winter months ahead. I urge people to check in on older or vulnerable neighbours who may be living alone, to ensure that they are staying safe and well during the cold weather. Congratulations to all of those involved in this important campaign which offers practical advice to those who need it”.
Age Action will be distributing the guide throughout its network of offices and shops and the guide is available free of charge. Alternatively, a digital copy is available to download from both the OFTEC and Age Action websites.
David Blevings, Ireland Manager of OFTEC, said: “The important issue of supporting older people in winter across Ireland is always a firm focus for OFTEC and we are delighted to launch the campaign with Age Action again and with Minister of State Helen McEntee TD in 2017. With approximately 600,000 homes in Ireland using heating oil as their primary heating source, we encourage everyone to pick of the guide, consider your elderly relatives and neighbours, and provide older people with as much information as possible to help them save money and keep warm this winter.
“Oil is one of the cheapest forms of home heating at present but that does not mean it should be used inefficiently. A service by an OFTEC registered technician will ensure your elderly relatives’ boiler will run safely, efficiently and cost-effectively over the winter period.”
Justin Moran, Head of Advocacy and Communications with Age Action said: “Many of the most vulnerable older people rely on oil heating to keep warm. But with high numbers of older households struggling to afford the fuel they need, it’s essential that people know what they can do to keep their fuel bills low and stay warm over the winter months. We are delighted to support this initiative for a third year and to work with OFTEC to continue to promote health and wellbeing for older people across Ireland.”
David Blevings added: “There are also grants available under the Better Energy Homes Scheme from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) for those with older, inefficient oil boilers and the details are contained within the guide and our registered technicians can help older people to take advantage of the grants while they are still available to reduce energy costs and improve energy efficiency.”