Keeping Warm this Winter
Publish Date: 18/01/2013
It's often the people most at risk from cold weather who are least willing to ask for help, possibly because they don't want to be seen as a burden.So being a good friend or neighbour becomes even more important when the wintry weather takes hold.
In the cold and snow, people tend to be less active because of a fear of falling, resulting in people getting too cold. It can also mean they can't get out to go shopping, so it's important to make sure they have enough supplies.
Encourage people to use a blanket or rug or wear a dressing gown and drink hot drinks to keep warm while sitting. If someone seems less 'with-it' than usual, it could be that the cold is affecting them - get more advice from NHS Direct if necessary.
Make sure paths are cleared and well salted. Many older people are worried about falling on icy roads and paths and shopping is difficult, so make the first move in checking on vulnerable friends and neighbours during cold weather.
Wrap up warm, inside and out. Several thin layers of clothes are better than one thick layer. If possible, stay inside during a cold period if you have heart or respiratory problems.
Keep your home warm. Your main living room should be between around 18-21C (64-70F) and the rest of the house at a minimum of 16C (61F). You can also use a hot-water bottle or electric blanket (but not both at the same time) to keep warm while you're in bed. Check portable gas heaters are safe and make sure there is a supply of fuel within safe reach.
If people have regular medication, ensure they have sufficient stocks to get them through the cold period. If anyone is uneasy leaving home to collect medication, they can contact the local pharmacy as most offer a collection service.
For 24 hour health advice, you can contact NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 or www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk
Advice on keeping warm and staying healthy during the winter is available on the Direct Gov site http://bit.ly/Wmg63d