Age UK has launched a new campaign called “Know What To Do” following research which reveals that, in January, a massive 9.6 million over-60s (60%) of older people were worried about being able to heat their homes when they wanted to, and 7.2 million (45%) were worried about affording other essentials such as food.
In addition, around half (49%) of those over-60s who took part in the research, equivalent to almost eight million people in all, were worried about the impact of energy bills on their health. This figure rose to three-fifths (62%) of those whose income is £20,000 per annum or less (equivalent to 3.3 million over 60s); and to nearly two-thirds (65%) of those on a very low income and in receipt of benefits (equivalent to 1.6 million over 60s).
The Age UK study also revealed that 10% of the sample, equivalent to 1.6 million older people in total, had recently carried out a benefits check to see if they were eligible for any more money, demonstrating how concerned they were about making ends meet. Some 6% of the research sample, equivalent to about a million over 60s overall, reported having sleepless nights because of high energy prices.
Significant numbers of older people will also be struggling with these worries alone, with no one to turn to for advice or support.
Nearly a million older people across the UK often feel lonely and the current cost of living crisis is likely to be increasing these numbers, as engagement in social and leisure activities is one of few economies you can make if you are living on a low fixed income.
Film shines a spotlight
The Charity is launching a campaign on Monday 20 March to raise awareness of the huge challenges facing many older people, and also to signpost help and offer practical solutions for all those buckling under the strain. A new film (linked below) showcases how services like the Age UK Advice Line stand with older people in difficulty, providing expert advice with kindness and sensitivity, to help an older person and sometimes their family and friends, to overcome the particular problems they face.
The Charity’s free and confidential Advice Line is open every day of the year and has access to experts on a huge range of issues an older person may encounter as they age, empowering them so that they know what to do in their own situation, and helping them to do it. The specialist team of advisors are on hand to give expert advice, including finding out if older people are entitled to extra financial support. For example, during the past seven months Age UK’s Advice Line has identified over £2 million worth of unclaimed benefits, averaging an additional £4,468 per person. Of these older people, four in five (84%) were found to be at risk of fuel poverty.
The Charity also offers The Silver Line Helpline, a 24-hour service for older people who need someone to talk to, and a Telephone Friendship Service that gives older people the chance to enjoy weekly chats with a new friend.
You can view the new film by clicking here: https://youtu.be/5Z62-m4D7tQ