Someone said :
No I do understand that. I obviously don't expect any OAP to feel they need to save on heat either.
That is the reality Shaggy
MANY OLDER people are going to bed early in the evenings to save on rising fuel bills, according to research conducted by the Society of St Vincent de Paul. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/0908/12243036999 etc ...
She said some older people in winter months were going to bed as early as 7pm to save on heating, or are prepared to endure â€œsiege of Leningradâ€ type conditions in winter to avoid large fuel bills.
Hot water bottles were used not only at night but during the day, while some people switched off their electricity once their free units were used up.
Others used a single room in the house that they kept warm and concentrated all their activities there by bringing the bed, cooker and electric kettle into the sitting room.
2.2.4. Fuel poverty
Almost half (47%) all households living in isolated rural areas in Northern Ireland experience fuel poverty. In Ireland, rural older people are twice as likely to lack central heating. The consultees reported that the greatest single demand on their income after food was fuel. Visitors to older people likewise reported that heating was the most prominent single stress point.Â Â Many described fuel as â€˜a big burdenâ€™, with the element of uncertainty of not knowing how much more would be needed from one year to the next, especially if there were a severe winter (as was the case in 2009 and 2010).Â Â This was particularly true for older people who lived in large or open plan houses which were costly to heat.
Many individuals living in the larger houses (after their children had left) reported wanting to sell and downsize, but unable to find a buyer in the current economic climate. Many people in rural areas supplemented their heating and saved oil by using solid fuel, mainly logs. Many older men said that they had always enjoyed getting firewood organized and were sorry not to be able to do it anymore.Â Â As people aged, they worried that they would not be able to deal with solid fuel.Â Â Many older people remarked on how difficult it had been to stay warm during the winter and were very concerned about how they would cope if there were cuts to the pension and fuel allowances. Many contributors spoke of how old people managed frugally with fuel.Â Â Although some were extravagant and ran heating excessively, that was unusual.Â Â Consultees reported using a number of strategies to
keep their fuel costs down:
â€¢ They restricted central heating to a very small number of hours in the day.
â€¢ They wore heavy clothes indoors to keep warm.
â€¢ Fires were lit as late in the day as possibleÂ â€Â late afternoonÂ â€Â and let die down as soon as 8pm.
â€¢ Hot water bottles were used not only at night but during the day. Some people went to bed for a couple of hours in the middle of the day to keep warm.
â€¢ Some people switched off their electricity once their free units were used up and, as one said, â€˜then we freezeâ€™.
â€¢ Some men, in saving electricity through not heating water, did not wash, resulting in deteriorating personal hygiene.
â€¢ Some colonized one room in the house which they kept warm and concentrated all their activities there, for example bringing the bed, cooker and electric kettle into the sitting room.
â€¢ Quite a number used a single point heat source in the home, like an electric bar fire or a paraffin heater, though this was not always very efficient.
â€¢ A Society Conference in Northern Ireland introduced a very successful fuel stamp system (in a scheme broadly similar to the TV licence stamps) to assist the people it supports to make regular savings towards a fill of oil.Â Â Older people in the local area have availed of this scheme. While there is nothing necessarily wrong with conserving energy in a world of diminishing resources, the question arises as to whether heat levels in some homes were so low that older people ran the risk of hypothermia; second, whether it was appropriate that older people should be almost put to â€˜siege of Leningradâ€˜ extremes to cope with the cold; and third, if older people are disproportionately affected.Â Â Contributors pointed out that older people got colder more easily and felt the cold more, while others were not mobile and ended up huddled over an inadequate fire. The general persistence of fuel poverty reported by participants is remarkable, granted general improvements in housing, heating systems and insulation. Many older people now live in good housing conditions, either in new homes with higher standards or in old homes that had been renovated. A number of older people who attended the consultations had significant insulation work done with the support of a local authority grant and spoke about their homes being really comfortable and dry (â€˜not wringing dampâ€™) for the first time in their lives.Â Â But still, there was fuel poverty.
The type of heating system used by an older person had a central bearing on the extent of fuel poverty.Â Â In rural districts of the West, many homes still relied on turf ranges and it remained the predominant heating system (followed by oil and then coal) but, by definition, not a very effective one (turf generates longâ€lasting, but low heat levels).Â Â In some urban areas, the Society met many old people who lived in homes with central heating run off the back boiler, which, while having its benefits, could supply heat to only some parts of the house for limited times during the day.Â Â In both cases, the amount of heat available was limited.
Service users and members both noted that fuel payments finished too early and that cold often continued long beyond April. Contributors in the rural areas in the west pointed out that it was normal to run the house fire throughout the summer in order to cook and to get hot water, so that this seasonal distinction
was essentially an urban one: fuel allowances should run throughout the year.