During the Winter Months there are so many folks (not just the elderly) that are in need of a watchful eye – take a look at what you too can do to look after those you care about as well as yourselves…
- Heating, boiler, radiators and electric heaters : make sure are serviced and in good working order to reduce the risk of breakdown during cold weather; malfunctioning appliances can also release carbon monoxide, which at low levels causes health problems, but at high levels can kill.
- Make sure your electric blanket is safe by getting it tested every 3 years;Trading Standards and the Fire Service may be able to do this for you.
- Check that flues and chimneys are swept and that rooms have adequate ventilation to allow appliances to work properly.
- Fit a carbon monoxide alarm which is EN50291 compliant (fitting this type of alarm should not replace regular maintenance of appliances).If you are not on mains gas, and your main fuel is heating oil or Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG), ensure you have purchased early to avoid running out during periods of severely cold weather.
- Check that you are in receipt of all benefits you are eligible for. During a very cold winter, the costs of heating can quickly add up. If you’re receiving certain benefits, you may be able to claim financial and practical help with heating your home. Grants available include the Warm Front Scheme, Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments.
- During the day avoid going outside – but keep active and moving inside. When severe winter weather is forecast
- Be aware of the weather forecast- take the weather into account when planning activities
- Keep your home stocked with food and medications; consider how you can access essential medication and groceries without putting yourself at risk (for instance, get supplies in early, get them delivered, or ask a friend or neighbour to help if you are in a high risk group)
- Check room temperatures
- Keep an eye on vulnerable or elderly friends and neighbours
- Make sure radiators aren’t obstructed by curtains or furniture.
- When severe winter weather arrives, dress warmly and layer your clothing; several thin layers are warmer than one thick one. If you need to go outside wear shoes with a good grip, and put on a coat, hat, scarf and gloves.
- Wear clothes made of wool, cotton or fleecy synthetic fibres.
- Eat well. Have regular hot drinks and at least one hot meal a day if possible. Eating regularly helps keep energy levels up during winter
- Keep pathways clear: follow the advice on the public services website
- Set daytime room temperature to 21°C (70°F); set night temperatures to at least 18°C (65°F). If you cannot heat all of your rooms, keep your living room (or the room you spend most of your time in) warm throughout the day, and heat your bedroom before going to bed.
- Set the timer on your heating to come on before you get up, and switch off when you go to bed. In very cold weather, rather than turn the thermostat up, set the heating to come on earlier so that you will not be cold while you wait for your home to heat up.
- Keep doors shut, and draw curtains to keep in the heat.
- Do not use a gas cooker or oven to heat your home.
- If you are using a fire or heater in your bedroom, open the window or door a little at night for ventilation.
- Keep your bedroom at recommended indoor night-time temperatures (18°C (65°F)).
- Never use an electric blanket and hot water bottle together because of the risk of electrocution.
- Check the type of electric blanket you are using; some are designed to warm the bed before you get in and should not be used throughout the night.
- Wear bed socks, thermal underwear and a nightcap or headscarf.