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“Heating Is More Important Than Food”: Older Women’s Perceptions of Fuel Poverty


Fuel poverty is estimated to affect millions of people in the UK, and older people are especially vulnerable. Most research into fuel poverty has drawn upon quantitative paradigms. The aim of this study, therefore, was to investigate the perceptions and experiences of older women in relation to fuel issues. Ten qualitative semi-structured interviews were undertaken during the winter of 2005. The interviews were tape-recorded and transcribed verbatim. A phenomenological approach was used for analysis. Four main themes emerged: causes of fuel poverty; managing money; heating is a priority;and government initiatives. The results from this study show that fuel poverty is an important health and financial concern for older women.