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Last Updated: Saturday, 24 December 2005, 16:59 GMT
Warning of cold impact on elderly
Elderly person
Elderly people living alone are most at risk from the cold
Twenty four pensioners in the East of England will die of a cold-related illness every day this winter, a charity is warning.

Many of them live alone, according to Age Concern, which wants families to check on elderly people over Christmas.

The charity estimates more than 2,500 older people in the region will die from the cold in the winter months.

Cold weather, set to return to the East during Christmas week, could bring more deaths, the charity warned.

'National scandal'

In the last five years, more than 12,000 people over-65 in Britain have died as a result of the cold in winter months, Age Concern claims.

Age Concern blame costs of heating, poor standards of housing and low incomes for leaving older people in the East of England vulnerable.

Those most at risk tend to be pensioners living alone.

Gordon Lishman, Age Concern's Director General, said: "It is a national scandal that so many older people over 65 are put at risk every winter.

"Almost 2.4 million older people in Britain live in homes that are cold enough to cause illness and this is just unacceptable.

"More needs to be done for older people during the winter months so that they can heat their homes adequately without worrying about the cost."

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