Keeping wrapped up this winter

Winter can be a particularly challenging time of year for older people; keep your loved-one safe and warm by following these top tips…

Keeping warm inside the home as well as out is vital in order to help limit a range of health problems that are more common in the colder months, including strokes, chest infections and heart attacks. Age UK has put together some top tips on how your loved one can stay warm this winter:

  • It’s important your loved one keeps their bedroom window closed at night when the weather is cold. Low temperatures raise blood pressure, which increase the risk of a heart attack or a stroke, and takes longer to return to normal in older people.
  • Make sure your loved one keeps their hands and face warm. As well as wearing gloves and a hat, they should always wrap a scarf around their face when they go out in cold weather, even for short intervals. This helps to warm the air they breathe. If your loved one’s hands and face get cold it can trigger a rise in blood pressure which increases the risk of a heart attack.
  • Several thin layers of clothing will keep your loved one warmer than one thick layer, as the layers trap warm air. Clothes made from wool or fleecy synthetic fibres such as polyester are a better choice than cotton. Start with thermal underwear, warm tights or socks.
  • If your loved one is sitting down, a shawl or blanket will provide them warmth. Encourage them to keep their feet up, as the air is cooler at ground level.
  • Ensure your loved one wears warm clothes to bed. When very cold, thermal underwear, bed socks and even a hat should be worn as a lot of heat is lost through the head.
  • Use a hot-water bottle, wheat bag or an electric blanket to warm your loved one’s bed, but never use a hot-water b
    ottle and an electric blanket together as this can be dangerous.
  • Check whether your loved one’s electric blanket can be kept on all night or whether it’s only designed to warm the bed before they get in. Get the blanket checked every three years by an expert. Local trading standards departments often offer free testing.
  • Encourage your loved one to keep their feet warm as cold feet can trigger a potentially dangerous rise in blood pressure. Choose boots with non-slip soles and a warm lining, or wear thermal socks. These boots will not only keep them warm but also help to prevent slips and falls in the cold weather.
  • Check local news and weather forecasts for advice when bad weather is forecast.

You can download Age UK’s full guide to keeping warm and well this winter here. If you’re worried about an older person you know, or would like more advice please contact us here.

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