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Pensioners urged to keep safe, warm and well this winter

Published on 12 November 2019 11:42 AM

Pensioners across Wales are being urged to keep safe, warm, and well this winter as Age Cymru launches its Winter Wrapped Up guide to support older people throughout the winter months.

Wales suffered more than 3,400 excess winter deaths amongst older people during 2018, many of which were preventable, so the charity is doing all it can to support pensioners during the long dark winter months.

The guide says cold weather can pose a serious health risks, particularly to those with chronic health conditions such as diabetes or asthma and that being exposed to cold weather can cause blood pressure to rise which can put people at risk of a stroke or heart attack. So it advises that when out and about older people should keep warm by wearing several layers of clothing, as well as the usual hat, scarf and gloves. Even in bed, it says, older people should think about keeping warm by wearing thermal underwear, socks and even a hat.

The guide also focuses on homes as many older people spend a lot of time indoors during winter. It advises to keep main living rooms at around 70 degrees and the rest of the home at least 65 degrees. It reassures those worrying about heating costs that there is plenty of support out there. The guide says those born on or before 5 November 1953 are entitled to the winter fuel payment of between £100 and £300 pounds, while those in receipt of pension credit will automatically get a cold weather payment when the temperature reach 0 degrees.

Of course, a well-insulated home is cheaper to keep warm so contact Age Cymru's advice line to find out what other support is available.

Winter Wrapped Up says anyone over the age of 65 can have a free flu jab each year for protection against flu viruses, while others with debilitating conditions, unpaid carers, and people living or working in care homes are also eligible for a free flu jab. It says your first point of contact should be your local GP or pharmacy for details.

Age Cymru's Health Initiatives Officer Angharad Phillips says: "Winter can be a particularly challenging time for many older people as evidenced by the unacceptable number of excess winter deaths that occur in Wales each year, many of which are preventable.

"While the cold weather and its effects on older people's health poses the biggest danger, other factors such as poor diet, inactivity and fuel poverty can also make the winter months a dismal period. So I would urge older people across Wales to pick up a copy of our Winter Wrapped Up guide and make themselves more resilient to the challenges of winter."

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