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Tips for having a warmer and healthier winter; AD FEATURE.

A FREE information pack to help older people ensure they have a healthier and safer winter has been launched by Age Concern England.

Last winter, 22,700 more older people died than in the summer months. It is older people who are frequently the most isolated, living in the coldest homes and on the lowest incomes, without enough money to pay for adequate heating.

Age Concern England is therefore encouraging them to take care this winter by taking three steps:

Get vaccinated against the flu

Check out entitlement to money benefits

Find out if grants for help with heating are available

The winter information pack contains:

Age Concern's Help with Heating factsheet, with tips on keeping warm and cutting fuel bills at home.

The Department of Health's Keep Warm, Keep Well guide to staying healthy in winter (produced in association with Age Concern and others).

Age Concern's Top Tips for Keeping Well leaflet - full of advice on various winter issues.

The Department of Health's leaflet Beat Flu, Use a Jab.

To get a copy of the pack, simply ring 0800 00 99 66, 7am-7pm seven days a week.

Additionally, Age Concern organisations across the country offer a number of services including face to face benefits advice, befriending services, luncheon and day care services, emergency heater loans and advice on repairs.

Gordon Lishman, director general of Age Concern England said: "The figures for older people dying of cold-related illnesses are still of cause for concern. There is no doubt winter can be a really difficult time for older people both physically and financially.

"Many Age Concern organisations are gearing up with services and support especially for winter, and with our free information pack we aim to give older people all the information they need to take practical steps to improve their health and income."

THE British Gas Help the Aged Partnership is also doing its bit to help older people stay safe this winter.

It is giving away 100,000 thermometer and home heating advice cards in response to recent figures revealing a large number of older people are dying from cold-related illness.

According to the latest figures, 4,400 people aged 65 and over living in the Midlands died during the 2000/2001 winter and of these 2,300 lived in the West Midlands.

The cards feature a liquid crystal thermometer and home heating advice, and will allow older people to monitor and manage the temperaturte of their homes and reduce their risk of exposure to the cold. The cards are part of an ongoing pounds 4 million commitment to reducing fuel poverty involving initiatives such as community grants and home insulation programmes.

Simon Henderson, British Gas community affairs manager, said: "The people most vulnerable to cold-related illness include those on low incomes, those with reduced mobility and those who are physically frail.

"Targeting this group with specific home heating advice and measures can reduce older people's exposure to the cold and improve their quality of life."

The thermometer cards are available at Help the Aged shops throughout the Coventry and Warwickshire area while stocks last.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Dec 8, 2001
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