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Minister lends a helping hand to keep older people warm this winter

Published 08/12/2017


OFTEC Ireland, Age Action and Jim Daly TD, Minister of State at the Department of Health with special responsibility for Mental Health and Older People, officially launched a free guide, offering key advice to help older people using oil home heating to stay safe and warm throughout the winter period.

Minister Jim Daly TD with Age Action's Justin Moran and David Blevings from OFTEC
Minister Jim Daly TD with Age Action's Justin Moran and David Blevings from OFTEC

The Keeping Warm this Winter guide, which is being distributed throughout Ireland, was created by OFTEC, which represents the domestic oil heating and cooking industry in Ireland, in conjunction with Age Action.

Following the success of the campaign over the past three years, Minister Daly TD is lending his support for the first time to highlight the important issue of excess winter deaths and inform those at greatest risk how they can remain safe and warm this winter.

The winter season can often be a difficult time of year for older people within communities, both in terms of weather and loneliness. Everyone is encouraged to pick up a guide and visit elderly relatives and neighbours.

Whilst this will provide older people with as much information as possible to help them save money and keep warm this winter, it also provides them with the support and comfort of knowing a friendly face is on hand to help.

Check in on neighbours

Jim Daly TD, Minister of State Minister of State at the Department of Health with special responsibility for Mental Health and Older People said: “I would like to take the opportunity to endorse and support the "Keeping Warm this Winter" campaign. This free guide offers key advice to help older people to stay safe and warm throughout the winter period.

“I urge our older people to keep their homes warm and to eat well. It is essential that older people are not afraid to ask for and accept help from friends, family and neighbours when offered.

“Finally, I would like to ask our communities to be extra aware of their older neighbours this winter. We often assume that if someone needs help they will ask, or that someone else will check in with them. During this festive period and the whole winter, let's not wait to be asked or for someone else to do it.”

Age Action will be distributing the guide throughout its network of offices and shops and the guide is available free of charge. Alternatively, a digital copy is available to download from both the OFTEC and Age Action websites.

David Blevings, Ireland Manager of OFTEC, said: “The important issue of supporting older people in winter across Ireland is always a firm focus for us at OFTEC and we are thrilled to launch the campaign with Age Action again, along with Minister of State Jim Daly TD in 2017.

“Approximately 700,000 homes in Ireland using heating oil as their primary heating source. Yet even though oil is one of the cheapest forms of home heating that does not mean it should be used inefficiently. By availing of a service by an OFTEC registered technician you can ensure your elderly relatives’ boiler will run safely, efficiently and cost-effectively over the winter period.”

Keep fuel bills low

Justin Moran, Head of Advocacy and Communications with Age Action said: “Many of the most vulnerable older people rely on oil heating to keep warm. But with high numbers of older households struggling to afford the fuel they need, it’s essential that people know what they can do to keep their fuel bills low and stay warm over the cold winter months.

The guide is a great source of information for older people to enable them to maximise the potential of their home heating, without maximising on cost. We are delighted to support this initiative for a fourth year and to work with OFTEC to continue to promote health and wellbeing for older people across Ireland.”

David Blevings added: “There are also grants available under the Better Energy Homes Scheme from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) for those with older, inefficient oil boilers and the details are contained within the guide.

Our registered technicians can help older people to take advantage of the grants while they are still available to reduce energy costs and improve energy efficiency.”

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