Helping to prepare for the winter
Recent news reports say we could be in for the coldest winter of the decade and while no one likes the cold, some people are far more affected than others, especially older people or those living with a disability. Here, Living Made Easy offers advice on staying warm during the cold snap.
Older people in particular lose body heat faster than they did when they were younger and it’s important to maintain body temperate. Normal body temperature is around 37C (98.6F) – letting your body temperature drop below 35°C can lead to serious conditions such as hypothermia.
There are a number of things you can do to keep warm, and while choosing the right clothing plays an important part, you should also consider how your home is heated and insulated, your lifestyle, finances and the general environment. Here are some helpful hints:
- It can be expensive to use your home's heating system as your sole means of keeping warm. It can also mean that the temperature is too hot for other people in the house. Grants are available through the Warm Front Scheme to help you install appropriate heating and insulation measures to your home. There are eligibility criteria for these grants. (Direct Gov, 2011)
- At night while you sleep, your body is less able to control its temperature, and you may have your heating switched off. Warming your bed with hot water bottles or an electric blanket for a few hours before you get in will help you maintain your body temperature overnight
- While clothing helps you maintain your body heat, it does not generate heat for you. Getting dressed in a warm environment and keeping your clothes near a radiator can help. Some gentle exercise before getting dressed can also help, as it helps generate body heat and improves circulation. (ILC Exeter, 2002)
- Eating warm meals can help you feel warm and maintain your body temperature. Drinking hot drinks throughout the day, and before you go to bed, will also help you stay warm. (Raynaud's and Scleroderma Association, 2010)
- Hand warmers and heat pads are readily available, and may be a good idea to use if you are outside for a long period. They can also be used to warm up shoes before you put them on. (ILC Exeter, 2002)
- Many older people or those living with a disability can have restricted vision which can make monitoring a room temperature very difficult. There is a wide range of environmental thermometers, clocks with integrated room temperature announcing software and temperature alert devices, all of which have been designed to help people ensure they keen their home at a safe level of warmth during the winter
‘The colder weather can cause serious health problems, especially for older people,’ says Ed Mylles, Interim Director at Living Made Easy. ‘And we are committed to helping people to find the right bit of equipment whenever they may need it. Our website, Living Made Easy, offers impartial advice on staying warm and also carries a wide range of daily living aids and clothing that can help you to look after yourself and stay well during the winter months.’
Notes to editors
Living Made Easy helps around two million people a year, by providing a comprehensive database of over 10,000 daily living products from 1,000 national suppliers. Living Made Easy is used predominately by disabled and older people, or their relatives and friends, who are looking for equipment to make everyday tasks easier.
Living Made Easy is part of Disabled Living Foundation (DLF) a national charity that has been providing expert and impartial advice on independent living for nearly 50 years. Its mission is to help people live independently at home, with dignity.
Living Made Easy offers free, impartial advice about mobility products or other types of daily living equipment, information on where you can buy or hire items or details of local organisations that can help you. If you need any further assistance or advice about daily living aids, our Helpline lines are open 10am-4pm, Monday to Friday. 0300 999 0004.