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UK: Over three quarters of a million over-65s have had to choose between heating and eating


An estimated 752,000 older people have had to choose between paying for food and paying for heating. Meanwhile, almost half (43%) of those aged 65 and over say they have gone to bed early to stay warm at least once, with an estimated 890,000 older people doing this often or even every day. That’s according to a new survey by older people’s charity, Independent Age, to launch their new free Winter Wise advice leaflet for older people, their families and carers.


Other key findings include:

  • One in 17 (6%) people aged 65-plus say they don’t eat a hot meal every day in winter
  • One in 17 (6%) people aged 65-plus say they heat one or no rooms in their home in winter
  • Two-thirds (66%) of those aged 65-plus say they feel more isolated and/or go out less in winter


There are 11.4 million people aged 65 and over in the UK, and, according to the poll, just over one-third (36%) do not heat their home adequately some, most, or all of the time in winter because of worry about paying fuel bills. One in 17 (6%) of those surveyed heat only one room or no rooms at all in winter, equivalent to an estimated 700,000 people. The results also suggest that one in seven (13%) of those aged 65-plus have even resorted to going to a library, a shopping centre or using public transport just to stay warm in winter.