The cost of living has dramatically increased in the past year. Inflation reached 8.1% in December 2022, electricity prices are set for at least another double-digit percentage increase and the price of gas has increased by over 20% in 2023.
With older Victorians tending to have set incomes, this is eating into people’s finances – and putting them under pressure. This can lead to older people making decisions that could put themselves in danger.
For instance, increasing energy prices are prompting people to limit their energy use such as by not using their heating. Older Victorians taking such steps could negatively affect their physical and mental health. Research has established that energy, health, and wellbeing are linked, especially for older people, while studies have found that concerns over wasting energy, rising fuel costs, and fuel poverty can cause older people to put their health at risk.
We don’t have to look far to see what could happen. In the UK, one in seven older people were considering not turning on their heating this winter due to the cost of living crisis, while three in ten older person households are living in fuel poverty. The impact during this most recent winter is not known, but charities are warning of an increase in excess deaths. And that’s not even beginning to look at the other impacts of increasing bills and their effect on how older people are feeling.
While we can’t do much about price increases, the good news is that there is a lot of support available. There are many concessions for older Victorians, covering energy and other rising costs, and it’s important that they reach them – especially the ones that may be a bit harder to reach online. While money can be a funny issue for some people, every little bit helps. So, do you know if the older person in your life is struggling with increasing bills? If they are, then there is help available.
Victorian Government support
To learn about the various concessions available to older Victorians:
- Call 1300 475 170
- Visit the Victorian Department of Families, Fairness and Housing concessions and benefits website
For assistance claiming the second round of the $250 power saving bonus:
- Call 1800 000 832
- Visit the Victorian Energy Compare website
- Visit the Energy Bill Relief Fund website to learn more
Your local council and local supports
Find support, engagement, and fun in your local area. Local councils across Victoria are leading the way with opportunities for connecting locally for all generations.
Whether you’re looking to get social, get active or get inspired this winter, check out what your local council and their partner organisations have on. Learn more on this page.