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What is Spread the Warmth

Spread the Warmth is Age Cymru's national campaign to raise public awareness of the health risks that cold weather and a drop in temperature can have on older people. 

Changes to our bodies as we get older mean that cold weather and winter bugs affect us more than they used to.This winter we will also need to live with coronavirus, which we know can have more of an impact the older we are.


What you can do 

As we age, our immune system becomes weaker and less able to fight off viruses. We lose muscle mass which helps to keep us warm and keep us moving about. The cold makes health conditions harder to manage, or even effect our hearts and circulation.

The good news is there are lots of things we can do to help keep well during the winter.

Keep moving

Try not to sit still for more than one hour at a time. You might not think it, but even a little bit of activity can help you to keep strength and mobility. 

This can be easier said than done. You might well have found that you're not feeling as fit as you did before the coronavirus pandemic started – if so, you're not alone. Lots of us are finding things we used to do less easy.

Find out more about our physical activity programmes, like tai chi and LIFT (Low Impact Functional Training)

Eat well

Spending more time indoors and doing less of the things we enjoy means it can be difficult to keep up the motivation to prepare meals. But it's good to try to keep a bit of a routine and eat what you can.

The main thing to remember is that it's better to eat a bit of what you fancy – even if it's just a slice of cake – than to eat nothing.

It's a good idea to keep your cupboards stocked with some basics just in case you can't get out to the shops – whether due to illness or bad weather.

Get your winter vaccinations – even if you're fighting fit

This winter, respiratory viruses are expected to be more widespread, as we were less exposed to them during the coronavirus lockdowns. So it's especially important to get your vaccinations this year.

Those aged 50 and over are eligible for a COVID-19 booster jab this year. It's not too late to have your first jabs, either, if you haven't yet.

The flu vaccine is available to anyone 50 and over in Wales for free. You'll be contacted by your GP or contact your pharmacy to arrange a vaccination.

Make sure your home is warm enough

Try to heat your home to a steady and comfortable temperature throughout the day. It's also a good idea to keep your bedroom window closed at night when the weather is coldest and close the curtains at dusk to keep the heat in.

Stop the spread of germs

As well as getting vaccinated, there are some other simple measures we can take to reduce the spread of illness – which is especially important this year.

Regularly washing our hands with soap and water is one of the best ways to stop germs spreading. It's a good idea to keep some antibacterial gel with you when you're out and about, too.

You can also:

  • catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue
  • leave windows ajar to let fresh air circulate when meeting people indoors
  • avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

Wrap up well and stay stocked up

Wearing plenty of layers is the best way to keep warm in winter. If you're heading out, make sure you take some extra layers, even if you don’t need them immediately – the temperature can drop significantly when the sun goes in.

It's a good idea to stock up on cold and sore throat remedies, too. Your pharmacist can give you advice on what might help if you're feeling under the weather.

The cold puts more pressure on our hearts and circulatory systems

The cold can increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke, as well as hypothermia. If you suspect yourself, or another, is experiencing any of these, call 999 immediately, or 112 from a mobile.

Remember, for a Stroke, think FAST

F - is the face drooping on one side?

A - can the person raise both arms and keep them there?

S - is speech slurred?

T - time to call 999 if you spot any one of these signs

Our Spread the Warmth campaign aims to help older people protect their health and live more comfortably and safely at home, during winter, and to stay connected with others and be a part of what's going on in their community.

Working with our local Age Cymru partners across Wales we offer a dedicated and confidential information and advice service and practical services like home visits and toenail cutting. Please contact our Age Cymru Advice line on 0300 303 44 98 to find out which services are available in your area.

How you can get involved in Spread the Warmth

Together, we can help people feel warm, healthy and in touch with others this winter.

You can get involved and spread the warmth in a number of different ways.

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