Press Release

Minister of State, Dr Tom Moffatt urges older people to keep warm and wrap up during cold spell

Dr Tom Moffatt T.D., Minister of State at Department of Health and Children who has special responsibility for the welfare of older people, today 28 February, urged older people to take extra care during the current cold spell. Dr. Moffatt is also asking the public to make a special effort to keep an eye on their elderly neighbours and relatives, particularly those living alone.

His advice is simple. Older people are very vulnerable to the cold. They should keep warm, using all practical measures such as wearing warm clothing, taking plenty of hot drinks, lighting the fire, using a hot water bottle, etc. Older people should only make absolutely necessary journeys out away from the heat of their homes during this cold weather. If venturing out they should wrap up well to combat the cold. Warm coats, hats, scarves, gloves socks and footwear are a must to protect against the cold and wet.

Some older people find it can be too expensive to heat the whole house or home. The Minister advises that only the rooms in use should be heated. Doors should be closed to keep heat in and around the living area, and confined to those rooms being used. This helps to conserve energy and eliminate draughts.

“As a General Practitioner, I am only too well aware of the detrimental effects of a cold snap such as the current icy conditions can have on the older person. As family, friends and neighbours, it is up to all of us to support, and check on, our older neighbours to ensure that they have adequate heating, and indeed all essential supplies. Up to 95% of older people remain living independently in the community, every effort should be made to assist them, whether it is with shopping or by telephoning or simply popping in for a chat to make sure everything is all right. Actions such as these, while they may seem trivial, are important, and they will at the very least ease matters for older people.”said the Minister.