Essential cold weather planning for elderly

The winter is approaching and we want to ensure older people stay fit and well. Read our helpful guide to help you parent through the winter healthily

Get your flu jab

This is especially important if you are:

  • are aged 65 or older
  • have a serious medical condition such as chronic heart, lung, neurological, liver or kidney disease or diabetes
  • have a weakened immune system due to HIV or treatments which suppress the immune system, such as chemotherapy
  • have had a stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA) or post-polio syndrome
  • are living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility
  • are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill
  • Contact your GP or pharmacist if you think you, or someone you care for, might qualify for a free flu jab

 Keep the home warm

  • living room should be 21°C (70°F), and  bedroom and the rest of the house heated to 18°C (65°F)
  • Above this and you may waste money, but critically, below this you may risk your health
  •  if you can’t afford to heat all the rooms you use, just heat the living room during the day and the bedroom just before you go to bed
  • get the heating system and cooking appliances checked and keep the home well ventilated
  • use an electric blanket as instructed and get it tested every three years. Never use a hot water bottle with an electric blanket
  • do not use a gas cooker or oven to heat the home, as it is inefficient and there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and this can kill
  • make sure you have a supply of heating oil or LPG or sold fuel if you are not on mains gas or electricity, so you don’t run out

Keep the warmth in

  • fit draught proofing to seal any gaps around windows and doors
  • ensure loft insulation is properly fitted and cavity walls are insulated
  • insulate the hot water cylinder and pipes
  • draw  curtains at dusk to help keep heat generated inside your rooms
  • keep radiators clear of furniture or curtains to maximise the heat generated

Look after yourself

  • food is a vital source of energy and helps to keep the body warm so have plenty of hot food and drinks
  • aim to include five daily portions of fruit and vegetables. Tinned and frozen vegetables count!
  • stock up on tinned and frozen foods in case the weather turns nasty
  • exercise, as it is good for you and keeps you warm in winter
  • if possible, try to move around at least once an hour
  • wear lots of thin layers of cotton, wool or fleece
  • wear good-fitting slippers with a good grip indoors and shoes with a good grip outside to prevent trips, slips and falls
  • make sure you have spare medication in case you are unable to go out

Look after others

Check on older neighbours or relatives, especially those living alone, or who have serious illnesses to make sure they are safe, warm and well

Financial support is available

Investigate are grants, benefits and sources of advice to make the home more energy efficient, improve heating, or help with bills

Check out if your parent is eligible for Winter Fuel Allowance. The Winter Fuel Payment is paid every year during the winter to help with  fuel costs. The Winter Fuel Payment does not depend on how cold the weather gets

There are other payments that are only paid when the weather reaches a certain temperature, called cold weather payments. These are made to people on some income- related benefits during cold weather

Claim all the benefits you are entitled to before winter sets


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