50% of people worry about elderly relatives

Nearly half of us worry about an elderly parent or other relative during the winter, it has emerged.

However, the AA Home Rescue poll of 6,500 people found that family members are least likely to ask if their older relatives are on top of their bills.

It found that 49% of people worry about an elderly relative living alone during winter.

While some said their parents were highly capable and independent, others worried about their parents’ ability to manage heating costs, maintaining their homes, and coping with ice and snow.

Several people said they had the worrying experiencing of being cut off from an elderly relative the last time there was heavy snow.

It is during bouts of cold weather that younger family members are most likely to lend a hand.

Clearing the front path of a loved one is the first activity that almost six out of 10 (57%) of family members are likely to engage in, according to the AA Home Rescue survey.

Half of family members will check if elderly relations have enough home heating fuel and that their kitchen is well stocked with basics food supplies during cold snaps.

Younger family members (47%) are also likely to ask a neighbour to look after their older relatives and encourage them to get the flu vaccination every winter.

However, relatives are still very reluctant about checking to see if older relatives are managing to pay their bills.

Just three out of 10 younger (28%) relatives asked an elderly parent if they were keeping up with all their bills, such as electricity and gas.

Many people said they would like to provide more financial support but that money was too tight.

Others believe they would cause huge offence by raising the issue.

Cliona Brennan, the head of AA Home Rescue, said there were lots of free or inexpensive ways of helping out those who are a bit more vulnerable at wintertime.

“It’s more difficult to regulate body temperature as we get older, and a trip around the house to eliminate drafts, bleed radiators, and check the chimney can make a big difference to comfort levels,” said Ms Brennan.

AA Home Rescue is encouraging younger relatives to give a bit of thought to other areas of the home, such as the roof and gutters, that might be difficult for older people to access.


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