With the first cold snap of the coming winter forecast for later this week, the Government has released a revised and updated of its “Keep Warm Keep Well” booklet.
Aimed particularly at over-60s, low-income families or people living with a disability or long-term illness, the 30-page booklet is packed with information to help people look after themselves and access the help and support they need to get through the winter months.
The first part of the booklet is devoted to keeping fit and well through winter, with sections on staying healthy, living a healthy lifestyle and heating your home effectively and safely. The rest of it deals with the various financial packages and schemes to help heat and insulate your home, since keeping warm is key to keeping healthy in winter. Included in this section is information on the Winter Fuel Payment, Cold Weather Payments, the Energy Company Obligation, the Warm Home Discount scheme and other potential sources of financial support.
The booklet starts with four ‘top tips’ for keeping warm and well, which together provide a neat summary of the more detailed sections which follow. Here are those four essential tips:
1. Keep warm: Heat your home to at least 18°C (65°F). You may prefer your main living room to be slightly warmer. Keep your bedroom window closed on a winter’s night. Breathing in cold air can increase the risk of chest infections.
2. Get financial support: There are grants, benefits and sources of financial advice available to make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating or help with bills.
3. Look after yourself:
- Get your free flu jab is you are aged 65 or over, live in a residential of nursing home, or are the main carer for an older or disable person. The NHS website provides more information about flu. Visit www.nhs.uk/flu to learn more.
- Don’t delay in getting treatment for minor winter ailments like colds or sore throats. Visit your local pharmacist for advice on treatment before it gets worse so you can recover quickly.
- Layer your clothing whether you are indoors or outside. Wrap a scarf around your mouth to protect your lungs from the cold air.
- Wear shoes with a good grip if you need to go outside.
- When you’re indoors try not to sit still for more than an hour or so. Get up, stretch your legs and make yourself a warm drink.
- Have your heating and cooking appliances checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer to make sure they are operating safely.
- Contact your water and power suppliers to see if you can be on the Priority Services Register.
4. Check on others: Check on older neighbours or relatives to make sure they’re safe and well. Make sure they’re warm enough, especially at night, and have stocks of food and medicines so they don’t need to go out during very cold weather. If you’re worried about an older person, contact a family member, the local council or ring the Age UK helpline on 0800 055 6112.
These four tips are just a taster of the much more detailed information contained in the revised and updated Keep Warm Keep Well booklet. It is well worth a thorough read and keeping close at hand as a source of valuable advice and information throughout the winter.
You can read it online or download or print off a copy by clicking here. Paper copies will also be made available free of charge via GP surgeries, health centres, hospitals, community centres, pharmacies, libraries and a range of other public outlets.