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Latest from the Housing Health Bulletin

May 31, 2018

The Housing Health Bulletin is a unique and international service monitoring and reporting on current Housing Health Research. You can stay up to date whether you are tackling poor housing conditions or researching and teaching about the health impacts. Research summaries are provided by David Ormandy and Steve Battersby.

This month, we are highlighting a research paper by Sartini C, et al (2018) entitled ‘Can we identify older people most vulnerable to living in cold homes during winter?’ which has been included in Housing Health Bulletin Volume 39.

It is well known that living in a cold home increases the risk of dying in winter, especially among older people. However, it is unclear which individual factors predict whether older people are living in cold homes.

1,402 men aged between 74 and 95 from the British Regional Heart Study (a U.K. population-based study) reported difficulties in keeping warm during winter, answering four simple “yes/no” questions. It was found that those who had reported the presence of at least three measures of cold homes had increased mortality (126 men died).

From this study, it was concluded that a self-reporting questionnaire could be useful in identifying those older people who find it hard to keep warm in winter, and are likely to have an elevated risk of death. This supports the idea that those most at risk of death because of their physical and social circumstances and living in energy inefficient dwellings can be identified.

It justifies the targeting of social support and energy upgrades and local authorities could use this approach in order to develop more effective or smarter strategies for dealing with housing conditions.

Sartini C, et al (2018). Can we identify older people most vulnerable to living in cold homes during winter? Annals of Epidemiology 28 (2018) 1-7.

You can read a more in-depth summary of this study at housinghealth.com.