Keeping warm in winter for older people in Rotherham

8 September 2010


NHS Rotherham is undertaking a research project to find out what helps and prevents older people in Rotherham from keeping warm in winter.

The Keeping Warm in Later Life ProjecT (KWILLT) involves interviews with older residents and a range of health and social care staff. 

Early findings reveal a complex range of factors influence older people’s ability to keep warm, including:

  • having family nearby
  • income
  • the type of housing lived in
  • access to information

So far the results are showing two major influences are social relationships and interaction with modern technology. 

The social relationships older people have with their immediate families, neighbours and communities are important. 

How well they connect with the other people and with information via the phone, the internet, as well as newspapers, magazines, radio and television have an effect on their ability to heat their homes and gain access to any help they need. 

The KWILLT study has found that many older people struggle with modern technology such as heating equipment as well as the use of Direct Debits and internet banking to pay their bills.

Adelaide Lusambili, Researcher at NHS Rotherham, said: “The early research suggests that modern forms of heating can be confusing and highly technical to those who have no family to help. The majority of older people rely on family members to programme their heating system, track fuel consumption and costs. Those without family are therefore at a huge disadvantage and are vulnerable.”

“Our research also indicates that many older people lack knowledge on the ideal temperature required for keeping warm and preventing health conditions worsening. Bedroom temperatures should be kept above 18 degrees celsius and the living room between 21 and 24 degrees.”

The KWILLT project team will be conducting more face-to-face interviews with older people and the professionals who care for them during the coming winter months. 

For further information about this project visit the KWILLT section on the NHS Rotherham website.

If you are experiencing problems with heating your home or need advise call The Energy Saving Trust on 0800 512012.

Last reviewed: 08/09/2010

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