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New Project needs Older People for Research

03 February 2003 @TeesUniNews

 

A research project investigating the effects of cold weather on older people is seeking volunteers from the over 65s particularly those living in homes without central heating.

The research is being carried out by the University of Teesside's School of Health & Social Care and is funded by the EAGA Charitable Trust.

Researcher Steve Fenby is hoping to recruit 50 volunteers - half living with central heating and half without. "Age Concern and Endeavour Repair Care have helped me with some contacts, but I need more people who are willing to let us monitor them," he said.

"We want to measure the temperature they are exposed to over a 24 hour period in the winter months. Volunteers will be asked to wear a ring fitted with a small device to record the different temperatures that they are exposed to and a credit card sized activity monitor which will tell us if they are sitting, standing-up or walking. The reason for the research is to help study the daily lives of older people during cold weather. At the end of the project we will share our findings with our volunteers at a social event," said Steve.

The University will also share the results of its project called 'Seasonal Cold, Thermal Behaviour and Temperature Distributions in the Homes of Elderly People' with the Government to improve health awareness messages targeted at older people.

The project aims to investigate the relationship between the thermal behaviour of older people, the thermal differences within the home and outside winter cold and to examine how the activities of daily living of older people is related to indoor and outdoor winter cold, explained Steve.

"Nationally there are between 20,000 and 30,000 excess winter deaths a year in the over 65-year-old age group. The data we collect will help us give good health advice, encourage more healthy heating of homes and reduce the cold stress on older people. This will help to reduce the 30,000 excess death figure,” he said.

Volunteers are asked to contact Steve Fenby at the University of Teesside, by writing to him c/o the School of Health & Social Care, University of Teesside, Borough Road, Middlesbrough, TS1 3BA or phoning him on mobile number 0796 1075784.