A Welsh charity has issued a list of tips to help older people stay warmer during cold winter weather.
Age Cymru’s Keep Well this Winter coordinator Rhian Pearce says:
“Older people need to look after their health during the winter months because the cold can have a detrimental effect on their health.
“Cold weather can lead to respiratory illnesses and increase the risk of older people suffering hypothermia, a stroke or a heart attack.
“Age Cymru has prepared a list of cold weather tips for older people, which are some of the best ways to keep your home warm, keep on top of your bills, and keep healthy.
“Some of these tips may seem obvious, but they could make all the difference by helping you to stay warmer throughout the winter.”:
1. Heat your home well
The best temperature for your bedroom and main living room is between 18 ºC and 21º C (64º to 70º F). Set your heating to come on just before you get up and switch off after you’ve gone to bed. If it’s very cold, set your heating to come on earlier and turn off later rather than turning the thermostat up. If you feel cold at night, use a hot water bottle or electric blanket, but never use both together.
2. Dress well for warmth
Several thin layers of clothing will keep you warmer than one thick layer. Clothes made from wool, cotton or fleecy synthetic fabrics are best. If you can, stay indoors when it’s very cold, but if you have to go out, wrap up warmly. Wear a hat as you can lose a lot of heat through your head and a scarf over your mouth and nose to protect your lungs. Also remember to wear safe and sturdy footwear if you do have to go out outside.
3. Get financial support
There are grants and sources of advice available to make your home more energy efficient, such as Nest – the Welsh Government’s scheme which aims to help people in Wales reduce the impact of their fuel bills (call 0808 808 22 44 ). It’s worthwhile claiming all of the benefits you are eligible to claim. Your local Age Cymru may be able to help you identify and apply for any extra money that you are entitled to receive. Age UK Advice –which you can contact on 0800 169 65 65, can also provide information about extra money you might be able to claim.
4. Eat well
Food is a vital source of energy, which helps to keep your body warm. Try to make sure you have at least one hot and nourishing meal and plenty of hot drinks regularly throughout the day.
5. Get a flu jab
You can get a free flu jab from your GP and local chemist if you are over 65, have a long-term health condition, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person.
Rhian Pearce concludes:
“This is also a time of year when it is important that we’re all looking out for our older relatives, friends and neighbours, particularly during cold spells.
“We can all make a big difference to the lives of older people in our communities during the winter months by offering to help out with shopping, clearing paths and driveways of snow, or just by simply popping round for a cup of tea and a chat.”
Spread the Warmth is an Age Cymru campaign to prevent thousands of older people suffering needlessly this winter, to reduce the number of preventable winter deaths among older people, and to make this time of year better for those who may have otherwise nowhere to turn.