Proud elderly hiding their struggle to pay for heating costs

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A QUARTER of elderly consumers hide their restricted use of energy from family and friends, and almost one in 10 only heat their homes when expecting guests, a survey has found.

A fifth (20 per cent) of those aged 65 and over do not heat their homes when cold because of anxiety over escalating bills, 34 per cent ration their heating and four per cent have had to sacrifice their normal eating habits to afford energy bills, the Comparethemarket.com poll showed.

Despite this, 12 per cent said they worried about illness this winter as a result of not using heating when cold.

Some 25 per cent said they hid their conservative use of energy from others, and eight per cent said they only tended to heat their home for visitors.

More than a tenth of elderly people (13 per cent) admitted to wearing their coat indoors to keep warm, and 19 per cent said they had attempted to reflect heat back into the room by placing tinfoil behind a radiator.

Almost a third (28 per cent) said they also wear extra clothes to bed to keep warm at night.

However, 63 per cent of those aged 65 and over had not attempted to find a cheaper energy supllier in the last three years.

James Padmore, of Comparethemarket.com, said: “We know that the rising cost of energy bills over the winter period is a worry, particularly for the vulnerable in society like the elderly.

“That’s why we’re working with the charity Friends of the Elderly to rally the nation to help elderly family members, neighbours and friends save money by checking they are being energy efficient and on the best tariff with the Great British Switch.”

The charity’s Steve Allen said: “Many older people have difficulty staying warm and well in the winter. As well as struggling to cope with escalating heating and fuel allowance costs, an alarming number also have no one to talk to about their concerns.”