Cost of living: Concerns lone elderly people are cancelling care packages

ITV Wales Reporter Hamish Auskerry has been finding out what help is available for people who need it

A charity which helps the elderly is concerned some are cancelling their care packages amid the cost of living crisis.

Latest research shows nearly one in three excess winter deaths in Wales are attributed to living in cold homes - and three quarters of those deaths are amongst the over 75 age bracket.

The recent cold snap has exacerbated the cost of living crisis for many people, with the Welsh Government estimating in April that 45% of people in Wales are living in fuel poverty.

One health board said it is seeing an increase in elderly people with hypothermia because they are worried about the cost of heating. Credit: PA

During the recent cold snap, Aneurin Bevan health board said it is seeing more patients presenting with hypothermia, due to people "being afraid to put their heating on".

Charity Age Cymru says this year, money worries are forcing older people to turn down their heating and cancel home care visits - putting themselves at risk.

Michael Phillips, a representative for the charity, told ITV Wales: "We've got quite a few reports of people cutting back on care packages along with the well-documented heating and eating.

"But we're also concerned about people not making repairs to their homes so if a lightbulb goes for example, they don't bother changing it.

"If you're wandering around in the dark at night, because you don't want to invest in lightbulbs, that can also have repercussions like people falling. It is a very serious worry for us.'

Age Cymru’s Health Initiatives Co-ordinator, Angharad Phillips says it's extremely worrying that older people are being admitted to hospital with hypothermia due to heating costs.

She said: "We understand these are very challenging times, but we would urge older people to put their personal health above everything else and make sure that at least one room in their home is warm enough to sit comfortably without developing an illness.

“If people are worried about paying their bills, they should seek advice to make sure they are claiming all their benefits and entitlements. For example, more than £200m worth of pension credit goes unclaimed in Wales each year. There are also several winter related benefits available to some older people such as the Winter Fuel Payment, Cold Weather Payment, Warm Home Discount Scheme, and the Welsh Government’s Warm Homes Nest Scheme. Contact charities such as Age Cymru, or your fuel supplier who is obliged to support vulnerable customers.

"We’d also advise that people try to eat at least warm meal a day plus plenty of hot drinks. When it gets very cold wear plenty of thin cotton layers, even when you’re indoors, and try to keep moving by going for a walk or doing some physical chores the home."