Age Scotland warns that elderly people could die at the hands of the freezing winter

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A CHARITY aiming to look out for Scotland’s elderly has warned that old people could die because of the conditions caused by the on-going cold-snap.

The message comes after it was revealed that two pensioners died in their gardens in Cumbria last week.

Lillian Jenkinson, 80, was found in her back garden last Wednesday and Cumbria Police believe she may have been there overnight.

William Wilson, 84, was also discovered the day before and police are looking at whether or not it was a fall or a medical episode that caused his death.

Temperatures in Edinburgh this morning (Tues) were -14C, -17C in Dunblane, -12C in Paisley and -10 in Glasgow.

And forecasters have warned the cold snap will continue for some time.

Susanne Cameron-Nielsen, associate director of policy, research and influencing for Age Scotland, said: “The cold weather is absolutely a great cause for concern because obviously there are a lot of older people who can’t get out and about.

“We have seen an increase in calls with regards to broken down central heating, and those needing help to clear their paths.

“The grimmest outcome of the freezing winter is the possibility that elderly people could die if they don’t receive the help they need.

“The most likely reason for this will be because of respiratory problems caused by sitting in a cold, damp house, and not hypothermia as so many people presume when it’s cold.

“And obviously if people can’t get out they are going to be running out of food and other supplies.”

Ms Cameron-Nielsen urged people to check on their elderly relatives and neighbours to see how they are keeping, and whether they need any help getting the essential items.

She said: “We are doing all we can, but we are not an emergency service.

“Our website provides useful information for elderly people and those who are concerned.

“By popping your head in on older people living in your community you could be helping to avoid a circumstantial tragedy.”

Last week the City of Edinburgh Council announced plans to deliver emergency supplies to elderly people across the capital.

The council has organised a batch of goods to be taken to the most vulnerable in the community, with many of the deliveries being made by their own staff members.

They have teamed up with Tesco in Colinton, who will be donating the items, and Red Cross volunteers will also be on hand to help them dish-out the goods.

The parcels will be filled with essential household goods and groceries like long-life milk, tinned vegetables, fruit, tea bags, biscuits and tins of ham and corned beef.

Councillor Paul Edie, health and social care leader, said the council was making sure the most vulnerable citizens of Edinburgh continued to receive support throughout the severe weather.

He said: “The freezing conditions are making it almost impossible for some of our most vulnerable people to buy their essential daily shopping items.

“These emergency supplies will help them in their time of need and I’m delighted that we have so many committed volunteers helping us with this very worthwhile cause.

“I would also urge people to show their community spirit by checking with their elderly neighbours if they need any help with their shopping.”

For more information visit www.agescotland.org.uk

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