Karen English, Age UK Contact Centre Advisor, talks about how her team help older people over the winter and Christmas period:
We’re the first point of contact when people call the Age UK Advice Line and we’re all available 8am – 7pm every day of the year, including all bank holidays.
In winter, a lot of our calls are about broken boilers, people being cold, and people concerned about others being cold.
For example, a delivery driver called us the other day because the lady he was delivering to opened the door wearing a hat and coat. He said to her ‘Sorry, I didn’t realise you were going out.’ But she said, ‘No, I’m just cold, that’s all’.
Home heating help
He was very worried so he called the age UK Advice Line, and we put him in touch with the lady’s local Age UK, where she could get practical help.
The other big thing we do is send out a whole range of Age UK guides and factsheets. Some people specifically ask for winter guides with thermometers, so they can check their home is a safe temperature. You can download our free Winter Wrapped Up guide, full of useful advice and tips to keep you warm and comfortable over winter:
Download our Winter Wrapped Up guide (PDF, 497KB)
We get requests from Housing Associations, GPs, and individuals – a whole range of organisations.
The most frequent call is ‘my boiler’s broken and I don’t have money to fix it.’ A lady this morning called to say that an energy company had quoted her £800 to fix a blockage in her radiators.
The company recommend she spoke to us and we referred her to her local Age UK, and sent out a factsheet on help with heating costs.
If you're feeling lonely
We do get calls from people who are lonely or tearful too. If you’re feeling lonely this Christmas, or you need some practical help and support, we want you to know that you can call us. Although you might feel alone, you’re not alone, and there are people out there who can help.
So if you’re looking for advice, or calling on behalf of an older person you know, please give us a call on 0800 169 2081. We’re open every day of the year because it’s important that we’re here when people need us the most.
How we helped Mary
When Mary* called our national telephone advice line we could tell immediately that she needed urgent help. She had been pushed to breaking point - first by a leaking roof and then by all the stress that came with it. She had literally no one to turn to.
Read about how we helped