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Keeping warm

It is essential to keep warm when the weather is cold and there are some simple measures you can take to stay healthy, live well and keep warm.
There is also a range of financial support, which you may be entitled to, for helping you to keep warm and to put towards other home and emergency improvements.
 
You are more likely to catch a cold or the flu during winter, and cold weather can also cause other serious health problems like pneumonia. As well as increasing the chances of slips and falls, cold weather can lower your body temperature and could lead to an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and breathing difficulties.
 
Staying safe and warm

Older and vulnerable people can lose heat fast, and a cold chill can soon become dangerous to their health. It’s essential to keep warm and there are some simple measures you can take: 

  • Dress warmly even if you are staying in. Wear several thin layers of clothes, rather than one thick layer so the warmth from your body will get trapped between the layers.
  • Keep warm in bed by wearing bed socks and a nightcap or scarf around your head, as well as thermal underwear and a warm nightdress or pyjamas.
  • Find safe ways to stay active even when it’s cold outside. Moving around generates extra body heat, so stay as active as you can, but do not take risks outside in wet or icy weather. Try not to sit down for long periods and spread chores out throughout the day so you can alternate between rest and activity.
  • Eat well because food is fuel. Try to eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of hot drinks on cold days. Have a hot drink before bedtime and prepare a thermos flask of hot drink to have by your bed in case you wake up in the night feeling cold.
  • Talk to your doctor about health problems that may make it harder for you to keep warm.
  • Ask a neighbour or friend to check on you if you live alone.

Eat well
If you’re warm on the inside, you’ll be warm on the outside - it’s that simple. Older people are at greater risk of dehydration and malnutrition so it’s important to have hot meals and plenty of hot drinks like tea, coffee or even hot water throughout the day. This gives you warmth and energy to protect you from the cold. It also helps to reduce the risk of headaches, dizziness and infections like pressure ulcers.
If you’re finding it difficult to get the shopping in, or to make hot meals for yourself at home, the council can bring hot cooked meals to your door. Alternatively, you can get frozen meals to heat up yourself. Most diets are catered for and the service runs 7 days a week.
Community Meals is not just a food service, they will also do a welfare check to make sure that you are safe and warm. To find out more about Community Meals, click on the ‘Support at home’ link on the left.

Financial support

Money is tight for many households but staying warm doesn’t have to cost the roof. Leeds City Council is working in partnership with organisations in Leeds to help people keep their homes warm and cosy this winter. Of course, extra home insulation will not only keep you warmer all year round, but will also save you money on your bills and is better for the environment.
The following support is available to residents in Leeds: 

  • Homeowners and people renting privately can get insulation and heating measures through the council Wrap Up Leeds scheme and in certain circumstances this work may attract financial assistance. 
  • Most fuel providers are part of the Warm Home Discount Scheme where, if you qualify, you can get £135 discount on your electricity bill. 
  • The Winter Fuel Payment is an annual payment from the Government to help people aged 60 and over with the costs of keeping warm during winter.

There is also a range of financial support, which you may be entitled to, for helping you to keep warm and to put towards other home and emergency improvements.

Getting out and about
There are many voluntary and community organisations across Leeds that run activities e.g. walking groups, indoor bowling, volunteering opportunities, aromatherapy and cooking classes to support people to get some structure back into their lives. We know, from what people tell us, these are often crucial life-lines, offering hope and diversion for people who just want to get out or enjoy some company.
If you want to find out about activities and support in your local area, Leeds Directory is the best starting point. This is a free local directory of services, activities and support. To find out more, call the team on 0113 391 8333 or visit the Leeds Directory link on this page.

For more hints and tips and advice from Age UK and the Department of Health, see the documents and external links.jy