Cheapest option is to just replace the damaged part with one of the same length
Yes that will do until the digital changeover. But who knows you said they are elderly? they could be dead by then. Best not to waste money on a new tv or STB until nearer the time.
My Grandmother purchased her 1st VCR at age 85 and learnt how to use and program it to record her shows while she was at Bingo. Don't rule out the oldies as being unable to cope with technology!