Resources and Advice

Helping you and your loved ones live well in later life

Falls Risk Score logo

Are you or a loved one at risk of a fall?

Every 10 seconds, a loved one in the UK has a fall. Find out your risk score in 2 minutes.

LIVING WELL

Top warm gifts for elderly people

Looking for budget-friendly ways to keep your elderly loved ones warm this winter? Explore our gift ideas.

November 22, 2023

Older couple on a walk in warm clothes

If you have an elderly loved one, you might be concerned about how they’ll be able to keep themselves warm this winter. Research from the ONS indicates that in December 2022, 63% of adults were using the heating less as a result of the cost-of-living crisis. With energy costs still much higher now than in early 2021, you may want to give an older adult in your life a little help in staying warmer during the colder months as cost-effectively as possible.

In this article, we look at some gift ideas, whether for Christmas, a birthday or ‘just because’, to help keep elderly people warm during the colder months.

Jump to:

 

Why keeping elderly people warm is so important

As people age, they often become less able to regulate their own body temperature effectively, and cold weather and winter viruses or infections can have a greater impact on them.

Cold temperatures can be dangerous to the health and wellbeing of older adults, increasing the risk of illnesses such as flu, chest infections or respiratory problems and can cause a rise in blood pressure, which brings a greater risk of strokes and heart attacks. It can be much harder for elderly people to fight off illness in colder temperatures, meaning that they can become more poorly, and slower to recover, from a variety of different conditions that might not cause the same issues at warmer times of the year.

Extremely low temperatures can result in issues such as frostbite and hypothermia, along with other conditions. Find out more in our article on the effect of low temperatures on the elderly.

How to keep the elderly warm

It’s important for older adults to take extra precautions to stay warm in colder weather. As well as using the heating system to try and maintain a temperature of at least 18°C in rooms being used, the below can also help to keep the home warmer, without spending more on energy.

  • Improving the insulation in the property, resulting in less heat being lost through windows, walls and the roof
  • Draught-proofing the home, especially doors and windows (and chimneys), to help keep the warm air in and the cold air out
  • Closing internal doors to stop heat escaping to areas of the home not being used as much
  • Wearing several thin layers of clothing to help trap heat close to the body
  • Regular warm drinks and hot meals
  • Staying as active as possible.

You can read our tips to help pensioners with energy bills for more information.

In addition to these ideas, there are also plenty of gifts and gadgets, which don’t need to cost a small fortune to buy or use, that could be ideal to help an older adult in your life to stay warmer, both when at home and when out and about.

Gifts to keep the elderly warm at home


An electric blanket for your elderly loved one

Electric blanket for elderly

Electric blankets can be a brilliant gift for older adults as they cost just pennies to run and can be a huge help to elderly people who are suffering from arthritis, or who simply dislike getting into a cold bed at night. Managing arthritis in the winter, along with many other conditions, can be quite a challenge, so this could be their ideal gift.

As with all electrical goods, using them according to instructions is essential and care should always be taken. Electric blankets should be regularly checked for damage and not used if they are more than ten years old.


A heated throw blanket

Along similar lines as an electric blanket, but designed more to be used during the daytime, a heated throw is a low-wattage electric device that usually uses mains electricity and can keep someone toasty warm if they are sitting in an armchair, on a sofa or anywhere else that they are staying still for periods of time.

They usually have various heat settings and timers, use very little electricity to run, and can be machine-washed (with the cable detached). As with electric blankets, heated throws should always be used as per the instructions and checked often to make sure they are undamaged. The higher settings may be too warm for some individuals, so it’s important to try the settings out to find what works best for each individual.


A flask for hot drinks and meals

Elderly woman with a thermal flask

With home energy costs so high, lots of people are making changes to their usual routines to try and save money, such as boiling the kettle less often. Maintaining good hydration in elderly people can be a big problem, so it’s important that they keep drinking throughout the day. If they like hot drinks, a drinks flask can be a great way to help make sure they can stay hydrated and also keep them warmer. If they are perhaps less mobile, making a flask or tea, coffee or the hot drink of their choice so that they can help themselves during the day without having to move around the home can be a great idea. Alternatively, keeping the flask full of hot water so they can make a variety of different hot drinks when they like without needing to re-boil the kettle, can be a good way to save electricity too.

Having a food flask for hot foods such as soups and stews can also be a great way to keep meals warm without having to reheat them a few hours later.


Cosy socks and slippers

Foot health can often decline as someone ages, with the skin becoming thinner and more prone to cracks, dryness and infections.  Poor circulation is often also an issue and these potential problems show the importance of elderly foot care. Having poor circulation can mean that older adults feel the cold in their feet more than most, so cosy socks and slippers can be a great gift that will really make a difference to how warm they feel.

Footwarmers are another option, but can also be a trip hazard for some older adults, so should always be used with great care.

Gifts to keep the elderly warm outdoors


Warm layers for your elderly loved one to wear when outdoors

A warm coat, a hat, scarf and gloves can make all the difference if your elderly relative or friend likes to get out and about. It’s easy to sometimes underestimate how cold it can be outdoors, so a few garments and accessories that will really help keep them warm can make the ideal gift, whether they are popping to the shops, seeing friends and family, or just pottering in the garden.


Handwarmers for the elderly

There are several different kinds of handwarmers and the best choice for your loved one will depend on their lifestyle and personal preference. Handwarmers are generally designed to be used in coat pockets when outdoors, so that the wearer can quickly warm up their hands at any time. Some of the most popular choices include:


Disposable handwarmers
, which are very affordable and convenient and usually contain chemicals that react to generate heat when exposed to the air and shaken up, which lasts for several hours. They can only be used once, however, and are not the most environmentally friendly option. They can also reach quite high temperatures, so some people find them too warm.


Gel handwarmers
, which are usually cost-effective and reusable, but do need some maintenance after each use so that they can be reactivated.


Rechargeable battery handwarmers
, which heat up quickly and can be used many times, but do need to be recharged regularly.

Peace of mind for older loved ones in the colder months

If you don’t live with your elderly loved one, it can be easy to worry about them when you’re not there and winter brings extra hazards and concerns. Along with following general winter home safety tips for older adults, you may feel uneasy about whether your older relative or friend will use the heating as much as they should do, because of concern over the cost.

One option that could go a long way to bringing peace of mind, on several levels, could be a non-intrusive home system that monitors activity in the household, as well as temperatures. With no cameras or microphones, our home monitoring system for the elderly ‘learns’ the household routines and will raise an alert if normal daily activity changes or if the temperature gets too cold or too hot. This is a monitored service offered by TakingCare, and you can also access weekly email summaries of your loved one’s activity for additional peace of mind.

We also offer a range of personal alarm systems with many different features, such as GPS built-in so the wearer’s location can always be found, or automatic fall detection, so an alert will be raised if they have a hard fall.

If you’d like to find out more about our products and find the best option for someone you care about, get in touch with our team by calling 0800 0121 321.

Independent living products brochure

Learn how personal alarms and home monitoring solutions can keep you or your loved ones safe and independent at home.

Download brochure

Ways to support independent living

Independent living products brochure

Learn how personal alarms and home monitoring solutions can keep you or your loved ones safe and independent at home.

Download brochure


What to read next

Grandfather enjoying in snow with little girl
October 12, 2023

Winter home safety tips for older adults

Winter brings higher risks for older adults. Identify hazards, especially for those older loved ones who are living alone.