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Winter wellbeing for the elderly

Cold weather comes with a set of challenges. Learn how to stay safe this winter with these handy tips.

November 10, 2022

Elderly couple walking in winter

Cold weather conditions and increased fuel poverty might make this winter challenging for everyone, especially the elderly. Winter brings some of the most challenging situations for seniors, such as loneliness, power outages, keeping warm and accidental falls. 

Moreover, as we age, our body becomes more susceptible to cold temperatures as it loses heat quicker, making us vulnerable to strokes, high blood pressure, heart attacks and hypothermia. 


Temperature dangerous for the elderly

As the temperature drops outside, it is crucial to keep homes as warm as possible for the elderly because when their body temperature drops below 95°F or lower, it can result in severe health conditions such as hypothermia.

Older adults aged 65 or over or with a heart or lung health condition should maintain their home temperature to at least 18 degrees. If you or your loved ones have central heating, keeping the thermostat at 21C during the day and decreasing the temperature a few hours before bed is ideal.

A smart thermostat that can be remotely controlled with a mobile is also a good option. 

However, due to the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, many people find it challenging to heat their homes, out of which 19% of the population is aged 65 or over.

Studies also indicate the number of deaths among the over 60s typically increases during the winter months; financial stress in the winter of 2022-23 could drastically impact the elderly population during the UK cold wave.

These conditions might make you more worried about your elderly relatives. 


Wellbeing support for the elderly

If you or your loved one struggles to keep your homes warm this winter, you can get financial help from the government.

Ample support is available, including the winter fuel payment, generous home discount and cost-of-living payment.

Money saving tips

You can also follow our money-saving tips to reduce energy bills by decreasing energy usage.

Tips to decrease energy use

Besides financial stress, your elderly relatives might struggle with other emotional and physical issues. With this in mind, we thought of offering some winter safety tips for elderly care. 

Elderly couple outdoors in Winter


Health tips for seniors this winter 

  1. A hot water bottle or an electric heater can be used to stay warm in bed – make sure not to use both simultaneously.
  2. Close all the doors and vents in the house to save on heating bills. You can also use a rolled towel in front of doors to prevent the cold air from coming in.
  3. Keep the curtains and blinds shut, so the house doesn’t lose heat.
  4. Studies show 90 per cent of seasonal deaths are due to flu and its complications, like pneumonia. The most effective way to prevent yourself and your loved ones from the flu is to get an updated flu vaccine.
  5. Check boiler or heating settings to ensure everything works correctly without incurring additional costs.
  6. Wear lots of layers to trap heat, whether inside or out-and-about. Cover your legs with a blanket and wear woollen socks. Also, don’t forget to bring a hat to cover your ears, a neck warmer and insulated gloves when you go out.
  7. Make sure you are eating well to keep your body weight maintained. Body fat helps the body to stay warm. 
  8. Along with eating well, it is important to stay hydrated, because if you don’t drink enough, it is more likely for you to feel light-headed which increases the risk of a fall.
  9. Many electric space heaters are the cause of fire hazards during winter. If you use a portable electric heater or space heater to warm your room, ensure they are safe and not susceptible to fire hazards and carbon monoxide poisoning. 
Elderly couple sitting on bench


Health safety tips for exercising for elderly

Staying active can be challenging for older adults during winter; however, you or your loved ones can safely work out in the neighbourhood by following a few simple tips.

  1. For safety reasons, carry your ID and mobile with emergency contact details, especially if you are going for a walk alone. 
  2. Walking during daylight or in well-lit places is ideal for avoiding tripping accidents. 
  3. Wear sturdy and comfortable shoes to provide proper footing for your workouts.
  4. If you are going for a bike ride, follow all safety instructions and choose a well-lit bike route. 

If you cannot go outside, you can do strength, balance and flexibility workouts at home. Even a little activity can help blood flow and heat the body naturally. 


Fall prevention tips 

Recently, winters in the UK have been relatively mild, but that doesn’t guarantee any accidental slips and falls. Older adults can get seriously injured even due to minor falls. If conditions are particularly hazardous, such as snowy or ice, it may be best to stay indoors as falls can be fatal in some instances. If you are going outside, make sure to wear footwear appropriate for the winter season and aren’t slippery.

Personal fall alarms can be highly beneficial during the winter, especially if you or your loved ones stay alone. In case of a fall or any emergency, with a single push of a button, the emergency resolution centre receives an alert allowing them to arrange help as quickly as possible.  A study by TakingCare shows a seasonal increase in call volumes during cold weather conditions from emergency alarms.  

Ensure to regularly check on your older relatives, friends, or neighbours this winter. Make sure that they have everything needed for a healthy wellbeing, including medications. You can visit them for a few minutes to make sure they are doing okay and not feeling depressed and lonely.

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

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