Can we identify older people most vulnerable to living in cold homes during winter?
Claudio Sartinia, Peter Tammes, Alastair D. Hay, Ian Preston, Daniel Lasserson, Peter H. Whincup, S Goya Wannamethee, Richard W. Morris
Purpose Living in a cold home increases the risk of dying in winter, especially in older people. However, it is unclear which individual factors predict whether older people are living in cold homes. Methods 1402 men aged 74-95 from a UK population-based study reported difficulties in keeping warm during winter answering four simple “yes/no” questions. Associations between individual’s characteristics and each of the four self-reported measures of cold homes were estimated using logistic regression models. Next, we investigated whether measures of cold homes predict mortality over the subsequent 2.1 years. Results Manual social class, difficulties making ends meet, and not being married were each associated (p<0.05) with each of the four measures of cold homes (adjusted odds ratios ranged from 1.61 to 4.68). Social isolation, poor respiratory health and grip strength were also associated with reports of cold homes. 126 men died; those who reported the presence of at least three measures cold homes had increased mortality [adjusted hazard ratios 2.85 (95%CI 1.11-7.30, p=0.029)]. Conclusions Older people who find it hard to keep warm in winter, and have an elevated mortality, could be identified using a self-report questionnaire.