Protecting yourself against the cold is important, whatever your age, but it is particularly important if you are an older person, disabled, or have a long-term condition (for example heart, lung or kidney disease).
Prevent falls in winter weather
One of the biggest risks from wintry weather is falling, particularly among older adults. Icy conditions make it harder to stay on your feet, and the cold may cause us to limit our activity, which can lead to loss of strength and balance.
You can keep warm and stay healthy in winter by:
- Setting your heating to the right temperature (18-21°C or 65-70°F) so you can keep your home warm and your bills as low as possible;
- Taking steps to improve the insulation in your home and fit draught-proofing;
- Keeping a supply of blankets handy in case the heating fails;
- Getting financial support. There are grants, benefits and sources of advice available to make homes more energy efficient, improve heating or help with bills. Some examples are the cold weather payment, warm home discount scheme and winter fuel payment. It's worthwhile claiming all the benefits you are entitled to before the winter sets in - see the GOV.UK - heating and housing benefits page for more information. You can also access local information from the Yorkshire Energy Partnership;
- Keeping warm in bed by wearing socks, thermal underwear and warm nightclothes. Have an extra blanket or a covered hot water bottle;
- Getting the free flu jab for those who are aged 65 or over, have certain medical conditions, live in a residential or nursing home, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person;
- Keeping a stock of prescription drugs and other medicines;
- Eating well - have hot meals and drinks regularly throughout the day to maintain body heat;
- Stocking up on essential food items - including non-cook foods and long-life milk;
- Staying active and keeping moving - any activity will help to keep you warm, even if it's just wiggling fingers and toes; and
- Having your heating and cooking appliances checked - carbon monoxide is a killer.
See the winter wrapped up page on the Age UK website for more information about keep yourself warm, healthy and safe during the winter months.
- Keep Warm Keep Well [247kb]
Information for over 60s, low-income families and people living with a disability.
Additional information from NHS Choices
See the NHS Choices pages below for more information on winter health: