How to keep warm and healthy this winter
Keeping warm in winter is almost certainly the top concern for older people living in Northern Ireland.
Francis Hughes, chair of Age Sector Platform, says the charity's mission is to bring this to the attention of Government and energy companies so that more action is taken to address the issue.
"Age Sector Platform has vowed to campaign hard on behalf of older people in order to influence the debate on fuel poverty at Stormont, as well as to fight proposals at Westminster such as the means-testing of the winter fuel payment," said Mr Hughes.
"Decisions made on these matters will have huge implications on the well-being of pensioners in the coming winters."
Here's the charity's checklist with some practical advice so that you can keep warm this winter:
- 1 Get your flu vaccine. Everyone over 65 should receive the vaccine and it's recommended to have it by mid-November every year. Just contact your GP to make arrangements.
- 2 Claim your winter fuel payment. You're entitled to this payment if you were born on or before January 5, 1952 and most payments are made automatically between November and December. If you don't get paid automatically, you'll need to make a claim by calling 08459 151 515 or download the form at nidirect.gov.uk
- 3 Eat well. Food is an essential source of energy, which helps to keep your body warm, so make sure to have hot meals and drinks regularly throughout the day. Also keep active and consider joining your local older people's group.
- 4 Wrap up warm. Layer your clothing and wear shoes with a good grip if you need to go outside. If possible, stay inside during particularly cold periods.
- 5 Improve your home's energy efficiency. There are Government grants available which can provide energy-efficient boilers, loft insulation and cavity wall insulation for people meeting certain criteria. The Energy Saving Trust has advice on energy efficiency and schemes available; just call 0300 123 1234 or visit energysavingtrust.org.uk.