Advice on keeping warm in the cold weather

Remember to check on elderly or disabled neighbours in the cold weather
Remember to check on elderly or disabled neighbours in the cold weather Photo: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

The cold weather is linked to at least 25,000 deaths each year and is particularly dangerous for people over 65 and for those with disabilities or long-term health conditions.

According to the NHS, keeping warm over the winter can help prevent colds and flu, as well as more serious conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression.

Even if you are not in one of the vulnerable groups, check on those who could be at risk. Check that their home is warm and that they have sufficient supplies of food and medicine.

If you're worried about a relative or an elderly neighbour, contact your local council or ring the Age UK helpline on 0800 00 99 66.

You should keep the main living room in your house between 18 and 21 degrees Celsius
You should keep the main living room in your house between 18 and 21 degrees Celsius Credit: Armin Weigel/DPA/Press Association Images

How to stay warm

It is recommended that you keep you main living room between 18 and 21 degrees Celsius, and the rest of the house not below 16 degrees.

  • Use a hot-water bottle or electric blanket (but not both at the same time) to keep warm while you're in bed.
  • Eat well. Food is a vital source of energy, which helps to keep your body warm.
  • Keep active in your home if you are able to.
  • Layer your clothing to stay warm and wear shoes with a good grip if you need to go outside.

Here are five top tips for keeping warm from the charity Age UK:

Getting ready for cold weather

  • Get your flu jab. This is free if you are aged 65 or over, pregnant, have certain medical conditions, live in a residential or nursing home or are the main carer for an older or disabled person.
  • Get heating and cooking appliances checked, and flues and chimneys swept.
  • If you use heating oil, LPG or wood products, make sure that you have a sufficient supply.
  • Check your water stopcock is working properly.
  • Have your electric blanket serviced (at least every three years).
  • Fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm which is EN50291 compliant.
  • Learn a few simple first aid steps; such as how to deal with strains and sprains or broken bones, as trips and falls can increase in icy weather.
  • Check the forecast and ensure you have enough food and medicines.
Older people are particularly vulnerable in the cold weather
Older people are particularly vulnerable in the cold weather Credit: John Giles/PA Wire

Cold weather benefits

You may also be able to claim financial and practical help with heating your home. Grants available include the Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments.

  • Winter Fuel Payments of up to £300 are available if you were born on or before July 5 1951. For more information, call 08459 151515 or visit this website.
  • Cold Weather Payments may be available to you if you receive certain benefits or have a child who is disabled or under the age of five. Find out more by visiting your local JobCentre Plus or visit their website.
  • The Energy Saving Trust has advice on how to reduce bills and make your home more energy efficient. Contact the Trust on 0300 123 1234 or visit their website.

You can get further advice from the following sources:

Age UK - 0800 00 99 66 - or visit the website

The NHS website has plenty of useful advice

The Met Office website provides practical advice on preparing your home for cold weather