Scotland’s national charity for older people is today issuing advice on how to keep warm as freezing conditions are forecast to hit the country towards the end of the week[i].
Age Scotland is urging older people to wrap up warm and take sensible precautions to keep themselves safe and well.
Research shows that exposure to the cold can have a devastating effect on the health of older people, who are particularly vulnerable to the impact of low temperatures. As people get older it takes longer to warm up which can be bad for people’s health. The cold can also increase blood pressure, and breathing in cold air can increase the risk of chest infections.
That’s why Age Scotland is promoting the Winter Wrapped Up guide[ii] which offers practical advice to help older people stay warm and well in winter. The guide includes information on cold weather preparations, tips on staying healthy, ways to improve energy efficiency and advice on how to keep warm both inside and outside the home. There’s also a section about the benefits and concessions older people may be entitled to and in the middle of the printed version there’s a handy pull-out and keep room thermometer.
Anyone – whether an older person, carer, friend, neighbour or relative – can pick up a free guide by calling the Age Scotland switchboard on 0333 323 2400 or downloading it here.
AGE SCOTLAND’S TOP TIPS FOR STAYING WARM AND WELL THIS WINTER
- 64°F (18°C) is the ideal temperature for your bedroom and 70°F (21°C) is the ideal temperature for your living room. Check your thermostat or use a room thermometer to monitor temperature
- Keep your bedroom window shut at night. Breathing in cold air can increase the risk of chest infections.
- Stay active and when you are indoors try not to sit still for more than an hour, if you can get up. Walk around or make a hot drink.
- Eat well. It’s important to eat well, especially in the winter. Have at least one hot meal a day and have regular hot drinks, as they help to keep you warm. Also stock up on basic food items in case of a cold snap and you can’t get out.
Keith Robson, Chief Executive of Age Scotland said:
“Winter can be a worry for many older people but with a little preparation and by following a few suggestions we can help prevent health risks, stay safe and be as comfortable as possible in our homes.
“Older people who live in expensive-to-heat homes are particularly vulnerable at this time of year. Our “Winter Wrapped up Guide” offers practical tips on how to keep homes warm as well as information on who might be eligible for financial support.
“Older people can also become isolated at this time of year if it gets too cold or dangerous to leave their home, particularly in snowy conditions. That’s why we are urging people to keep an eye on their older neighbours, friends and relatives – go round for a cuppa and a bleather or pick up their shopping or prescription.
“Our national Freephone telephone helpline – 0800 12 44 222 – available for older people, their families and carers, offers friendship and contact as well as information and advice. We’d like to encourage people to get in touch and have a chat with our team of friendly advisers.”
Last year, Age Scotland helped around 17,000 older people with information and advice on a broad range of issues such as energy efficiency, claiming benefits, housing options, paying for care and support and staying healthy, as well as providing friendship.
Download the Winter Wrapped Up Guide
[i] The Met Office has issued a severe weather warning for wind and snow across all regions of Scotland. More detail is available on the Met Office website.
[ii] Winter Wrapped Up - Age UK Guide