Stay Well This Winter - Winter Ready
Cold temperatures have an impact on our health, but there are other risks in winter including physical injuries from slips, trips and falls.
As we get older it becomes harder for our bodies to detect how cold we are, and it takes longer to warm up which can be bad for our health. For older people in particular, the longer the exposure to the cold, the more risk of heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia, depression, worsening arthritis and increased accidents at home (associated with loss of strength and dexterity in the hands).
You can use the MECC approach to instigate simple opportunistic conversations with people about being winter ready.
Very Brief Intervention
Did you know there are lots of things you can do to look after your health this winter, this includes keeping warm and safe, cheap ways to heat a house, and claim winter fuel allowances. Would you like so further information on any of these?
Did you know that layering clothes is the best to keep warm in winter.
- Don't forget a hat, gloves, thick socks and a scarf. Keeping warm is important, especially when you're exposed to a cold environment for a long time, or in extreme cold for only a short time, your blood pressure rises and your blood thickens. This can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
There are lots on debate on what temperature you should have in your home, what do you tend to do?
- Heating to the right temperature (18-21°C or 65-70°F) which is warm, but keeps bills as low as possible
Do you have any issues or concerns about heating your home, whether this keeping your home warm or the cost of keeping your home warm over winter?
- Click on the Affordable Warmth section of MECC Link for advice on home energy efficiency
Are you aware of the different Winter fuel payments and other financial support that is available, would you like some further information on this?
- Information of the Winter Fuel payment and the Cold Weather Payment can be found in the ACT section
One of the biggest risks from wintry weather is falling, would you like some further information on how to prevent slips, trips and falls when it gets cold and icy?
- Information and top tips for preventing falls in winter can be found in the ACT section
National Support Services
NHS Stay well this Winter
Cold weather can be seriously bad for your health. That's why it's important to look after yourself, especially during the winter. If you start to feel unwell, even if it's a cough or a cold, don't wait until it gets more serious. Seek advice from your pharmacist.
Age UK have produced a great that explains what you can do to get yourself and your home ready for winter, as well as where to go for more information and support. Download the guide from the link below
Make sure you have hot meals and drinks regularly throughout the day to keep yourself warm, and keep active in the home if you can.
Visit NHS Choices for further ideas and information.
Wear warm clothes
Wrap up warm, inside and out. Layering clothing helps you stay warm as air is trapped between layers, keeping you insulated. Wearing layers of cotton or fleecy clothes is particularly effective.
Wear shoes with a good grip if you need to go outside and wear a hat or head scarf. If possible, stay inside during a cold spell if you have heart or respiratory problems. When indoors, wear well-fitting slippers with fleecy linings to keep your feet warm and to help prevent falls.
To keep warm when inside you could try:
- using a covered hot water bottle or electric blanket (but not at the same time!) to keep warm in bed
- wearing bed socks and warm night clothes
Keeping your home warm
Cold homes have a significant impact on your health. One of the best ways of keeping yourself well during winter is to stay warm.
If you have reduced mobility, are aged 65 or over, or have a health condition such as heart or lung disease, you should:
- heat your home to at least 18oC
- keep your bedroom at 18oC all night
If you're aged under 65 and healthy, you can safely heat your home to cooler than 18oC as long as you're comfortable.
Reducing fuel bills
See more about affordable warmth
Cold weather benefits
Winter Fuel Payment
If you were born on or before 5 November 1953 you could get between £100 and £300 to help you pay your heating bills. You usually get a winter fuel payment automatically if you are eligible.
Warm Home Discount Scheme
You could get £140 off your electricity bill if you either receive the guarantee credit element of pension credit, or
you’re on a low income and meet your energy supplier’s criteria for the scheme
Cold Weather Payment
You may get a cold weather payment if you’re getting certain benefits. You’ll get a payment if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below for 7 consecutive days. You’ll get £25 for each 7 day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March.
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.
- Here are some tips to help prevent falls:
- Wrap up to stay warm but make sure you can see in all directions and move easily and freely.
- Wear sturdy shoes or boots with treads, even if you're just going out to get the newspaper.
- Do some light stretching before you venture out; it will make you physically more able to prevent a fall.
- Avoid walking on surfaces that may be icy if you can. If you can't, slow down, shorten your stride, walk with feet pointed out slightly and knees gently bent to improve grip and balance.
- Snow can hide curbs and uneven surfaces. If you can't see where your foot will land, find another way.
- Replace worn rubber ferrules on walking sticks, walking frames and crutches but remember that brakes on wheeled walkers may not be as effective on icy pavements so avoid unsalted ramps and slopes.
- Dry off shoes, sticks, crutches and walking frames as soon as you get indoors. Wet shoes on dry surfaces are just as dangerous as dry shoes on wet surfaces.
- Carry a cleaning cloth and stop immediately to clean your glasses if they fog up going from outdoors to indoors.
- Ask shops and your local council about options that might make it safer for you when conditions are bad e.g. delivering to your home or collecting the bin from beside your house instead of the end of your drive
- When in doubt, don't risk it. Ask for help if you don't feel safe doing something.
Local Support and Contact Details
Stay Well This Winter
Self - care resources
Resources for carers, health professionals and anyone interested in self-care are available here
Be Prepared for Winter
Calderdale Council is a member of the West Yorkshire Resilience Forum. They urge people to take some steps to lower the risk of ill-health, accident or injury in winter months
Get ready for Winter
To help you better prepare for winter ahead, this web page contains some important information, contacts and web links
Make Time for Winter (Essential information to keep you safe and warm this winter)
Are You Ready for Winter
Many of us are not prepared for the impact winter can have on our health and wellbeing. Here are some tips to keep you and your family healthy and happy this winter
Your Health this Winter
Winter Wellbeing Checklist for Adults and Children and Families
Look after yourself and others this winter
Winter Health for Older People
Stay Well This Winter
Staying Well this Winter
Be Safe this Winter