Older people

Concerned about keeping warm and well this winter

If you are concerned about keeping warm this winter or you are struggling to heat your home then there is advice, help and support available.

Find out more about keeping healthy in the winter by visiting NHS Choices.

Warm home

Simple tips to keep your home warm, efficiently and safely:

  • try to heat your home to the right temperature: your living room should be 21°C (70°F), and your bedroom and the rest of the house heated to 18°C (65°F). Above this and you may waste money; below this you may risk your health.
  • if you can’t heat all the rooms you use, heat the living room during the day and your bedroom just before you go to bed
  • get your heating system and cooking appliances checked and keep your home well ventilated
  • use your electric blanket as instructed and get it tested every three years. Never use a hot water bottle with an electric blanket
  • switch your appliances (such as TVs and microwaves) off rather than leaving them on standby
  • do not use a gas cooker or oven to heat your home; it is inefficient and there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and this can kill
  • make your home energy efficient for example fit draught proofing, insulate your hot water cylinder and pipes,  draw your curtains at dusk to help keep heat generated inside your rooms and make sure your radiators are not obstructed by furniture or curtains

Get financial support

  • there are grants, benefits and sources of advice to make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating or help with bills. It’s worthwhile claiming all the benefits you are entitled to before winter sets in.

For more information about energy efficiency visit the Energy Saving Trust or telephone them on 0300 123 1234.

Take care of yourself and others

Look after yourself

  • food is a vital source of energy and helps to keep your body warm so have plenty of hot food and drinks
  • aim to include five daily portions of fruit and vegetables. Tinned and frozen vegetables count toward your five a day
  • stock up on tinned and frozen foods so you don’t have to go out too much when it’s cold or icy
  • exercise is good for you all year round and it can keep you warm in winter
  • if possible, try to move around at least once an hour. But remember to speak to your GP before starting any exercise plans
  • wear lots of thin layers – clothes made from cotton, wool or fleecy fibres are particularly good and maintain body heat
  • wear good-fitting slippers with a good grip indoors and shoes with a good grip outside to prevent trips, slips and falls
  • make sure you have spare medication in case you are unable to go out

Look after others

  • check on older neighbours or relatives, especially those living alone or who have serious illnesses to make sure they are safe, warm and well

Find out more information about looking after yourself and others by visiting NHS Choices.

Flu

Flu is a highly infectious illness that is spread rapidly through the coughs and sneezes of people who are carrying the virus. Flu is not like the common cold and whilst anyone can get flu, it can be more serious for certain people, such as:

  • people aged 65 or over
  • people who have a serious medical condition
  • pregnant women

If you are in one of these groups, you're more vulnerable to the effects of flu (even if you're fit and healthy) and you could develop flu complications, which are more serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, which could result in hospitalisation. Flu can also make existing medical conditions worse.

Make sure you get your free flu jab from your GP or a local participating pharmacy if you:

  • are aged 65 or older
  • are pregnant
  • have a serious medical condition
  • are living in a residential or nursing care home
  • are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person who

For more information about flu visit NHS Choices.

Stay independent in my own home

There is lots of advice and support available to help you live as independently as possible for as long as possible. Find information about housing support or housing options.

If you need help or support with daily living tasks then please visit Health and Social Care.

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