Age Action is urging communities to help ensure their older neighbours remain safe and well during the current spell of cold weather. The organisation also advised any older person who has not yet got the flu vaccine to do so as soon as possible.
Justin Moran, Head of Advocacy and Communications with Age Action, said: “Cold weather can and does kill in Ireland, making the winter a particularly challenging period for older people in particular.
“Between 1,500 and 2,000 excess deaths occur during the winter in Ireland, compared to the summer. Many of these are older people who die as a result of respiratory illness or cardiovascular disease.
“Snow and ice add to the problem as many may not be able to get out to buy food, fuel or medical supplies.
“We would really urge family, friends and neighbours to check in on any older people they know living nearby, particularly those who may be living alone or have difficulty getting out and about. Dropping in to say hello or a quick phone call to make sure everything is okay will always be welcome.”
Age Action also encouraged older people to ensure they get the flu vaccine to protect themselves against the virus if they had not done so already.
The flu vaccination is recommended for all those in an at-risk group, particularly people aged 65 and over, and anyone with a long-term medical condition such as asthma or an autoimmune disease.
Mr Moran continued: “The majority of people who suffer severely with winter flu in Ireland are aged 65 and over so it is vital that they do everything they can to protect themselves.
“No matter how healthy you feel, a bad case of the flu is very difficult to recover from so we are urging all our members and everyone in an at-risk group to speak to your local healthcare professional about vaccination.”