Charity Age Cymru says Welsh over 65s are facing a ‘perfect storm’ of challenges this winter that includes loneliness and choosing between heating or eating.
Age Cymru’s Chief Executive, Ian Thomas:
”Life is harsh for many older people across Wales, particularly in the Winter.Thousands will live in just one room in their home to keep warm and many will rely on the television as their only company."
"Age Cymru’s own statistics show that over 60% of Welsh over 65s are worried about the increasing cost of energy bills."
The charity says that with local authorities facing budget cutbacks, many of the services that older people use to make life bearable are under threat.
It says day centres, lunch clubs and libraries are lifelines for many older people and without them many more individuals will be isolated in their own homes.
A former Welsh Secretary is calling for governments to work with phone, internet and mail providers to clamp down on scams which target elderly people. Torfaen MP Paul Murphy is holding a debate in the House of Commons this afternoon. He's backing a campaign by Age Cymru and says,
I’ve been appalled at some of the examples I’ve seen. Peoples’ lives have been ruined by these dishonest operators, who target elderly and vulnerable people and rob them of their money and self-esteem. I’ve heard about a 76 year old widow conned out of her life savings. Others have been persuaded to send money abroad to claim non-existent lottery prizes, tricked into sending thousands of pounds to manipulative clairvoyants, or have paid several times over the odds for work on their properties.
These stories are disturbingly common. I’d urge people to look out for friends, family or neighbours who might be in danger. But Age Cymru are quite right - what is also needed is to get both Governments, Councils, charities, the police and the communications companies to work together to target these fraudsters and cut off their ability to con people.
Older people should have access to more services providing them with a voice and more control over their lives, according to Age Cymru.
The charity is calling on the Welsh Government to give older people access to 'independent advocacy services' in the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Bill.
Louise Hughes, Age Cymru's safeguarding manager, said: "Our research shows that there has been a welcome increase in the number of trained advocates working in Wales in the last two years. However, the number of advocates overall remains low.
"Only 124 staff and volunteers are available to provide independent advocacy support to older people who need it across the whole of Wales."
The charity has launches a report into the availability of advocacy services across Wales, which found that of the 23 advocacy projects in Wales six projects will see their funding end in the next 12 months and seven do not know their future funding arrangements.
More pensioners in Wales are cutting back on heating and food than anywhere else in the UK, according to an older people's charity. Age Cymru says 26 percent of those living on a pension here reduced their heating over the winter months.
The charity says it's because they're increasingly worried about the cost of living. We've been speaking to an 84 year old from Cardiff who says he wears two cardigans to keep warm and has to dip into his overdraft just to get by.
Alfred Ford from Cardiff has to use his overdraft to pay his bills. Despite savings and two pensions, he can't make ends meet. He uses around £300-£500 from his overdraft every month.
Money is so tight that he doesn't cook dinner twice a week. He also can't afford to buynew clothes, with his wardrobe including items he bought in the 1970s.
In order to keep heating bills down he will often wear two cardigans, as well as using thicker curtains in the winter.But Alfred is not alone. According to Age Cymru, as many as one in four pensioners in Wales are cutting back on heating and eating.
As many as one in four pensioners in Wales are cutting back on heating and eating, according to research released by Age Cymru.
The charity says that figure is higher than anywhere else in the UK.
Now a 'Let's Talk Money' campaign is being launched to encourage older people to claim the benefits they are entitled to receive.
Age Cymru is concerned that so many pensioners are cutting back on basics such as heating and eating and that this problem seems to be more widespread in Wales than anywhere else in Britain.
It is vital that pensioners are getting all the money they are entitled to receive. However, we know that a third of people who are entitled to Pension Credit - which could boost their income by £1,716 a year - are not claiming it.
– Graeme Francis, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Age Cymru
A new guide for care home staff to help them support residents with hearing loss is being launched today.
The charity has been working with Age Cymru's My Home Life Cymru programme to produce the guide which aims to improve the quality of life of care home residents who have hearing loss.
There are around 530,000 people in Wales who suffer from hearing loss. In the UK about 71 per cent of people over the age of 70 have some degree of hearing loss.
The charity says that the consequences of hearing loss can be debilitating, with it leading to loneliness, isolation and depression. It says it can be "especially acute" in a care home setting.
As part of the programme, a bilingual booklet will be distributed free to all 740 care homes in Wales. The booklet is aimed at providing care home staff with information and training on hearing aid maintenance.