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Dublin: 11°C Saturday 2 July 2022

Age Action issue guidelines in wake of hypothermia deaths

The charity is urging people to keep an eye on elderly neighbours in light of the recent deaths caused by hypothermia.

Image: Cold Weather Thermometer via Shutterstock

AGE ACTION IRELAND is urging older people to take “the necessary steps” to protect themselves from the cold.

The charity offered the advice in response to the deaths of John Glennon, 67, and Debbie McEvoy, 63, from hypothermia.

The organisation is urging communities to keep in regular contact with older neighbours and to ensure that they have enough fuel and supplies, especially on days when bad weather may prevent them from leaving the house.

It is also important that older people make sure that they maintain an appropriate temperature in their home, according to Age Action spokesman Eamon Timmins.

Timmins noted that it should be about 21 degrees Celsius in the room they are 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,” Timmins said.

He went on to say:

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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Age Action also provided the following steps, which people should follow in order to ensure that they remain warm:

  • Dress correctly – wear layers, rather than one thick layer of clothing. Maybe wear a woollen or fleece hat in bed.
  • Remain active – don’t stay sitting for long periods. Spread your chores throughout the day to ensure to keep moving around your home.
  • Eat well – have at least one hot meal a day. Sip hot drinks regularly. Keep a flask of hot drink by the bed, in case you wake up cold.
  • Make sure you use your free electricity or gas units if you receive the Household Benefits package.
  • Seal gaps around windows and doors. Insulate your home.
  • Remain in telephone contact with your family and friends, including other older people.

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Paul Hyland

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