Belfast Telegraph

I can't afford my heating bills

Fiona Caine is here to help if you have a relationship, sexual, marriage or family problem.

I am 76 and I live on my own. My house is much too big for me so it is difficult to heat.

Whenever my daughter comes to visit, she gets very cross with me as she says I am not keeping the place warm enough. She doesn’t seem to realise just how expensive it is.

She has offered to help me with my heating bills, but that is ridiculous as she has a home and family of her own. ES

FIONA SAYS: KEEPING WARM IS VITAL FOR YOUR HEALTH

Keeping warm as you get older really is a priority, so your daughter is right to worry about you.

There is a direct link between cold weather and the higher death rates that occur at this time of year, especially among older people and others who are at risk.

You may not actually feel cold but if you sit in a cold room and don't do enough to keep warm then you run the risk of becoming hypothermic.

If you cannot afford to heat your whole house, then make sure the rooms you are using are warm enough.

If possible, set your heating to come on before you get out of bed in the morning so your living room is warm — and do the same for your bedroom at night.

You can help yourself keep warm by dressing warmly in plenty of thin layers and wearing bed socks and thermal underwear at night.

Your daughter clearly wants to help you, so perhaps set her to work to find out about things like insulation and double glazing.

You may not want her help with your heating bills, but don't stint on spending to keep yourself warm — it is vital.

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