Home Age Advice for older people to stay safe and well during cold weather spell

Advice for older people to stay safe and well during cold weather spell

by Martyn Jones
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age cymru

With cold weather affecting most of Wales, Age Cymru is offering advice to help older people stay safe and well during the cold weather spell.

We understand these are very challenging times financially, but we would urge older people to put their personal health above everything else and make sure that at least one room in their home is warm enough to sit comfortably. With extreme cold weather comes the added risk of heart attacks, strokes, hypothermia, and other physical and mental illnesses.

If people are worried about paying their bills, they should seek advice to make sure they are claiming all their benefits and entitlements.  There’s no shame in seeking support, we all need it at one time or another.  More than £200m worth of pension credit goes unclaimed in Wales each year.

If you’ve been turned down before, it may still be worth making a new claim, as benefits rates change, as can your finances. To make a claim for Pension Credit, people should call the DWP Pension Credit claim line direct on 0800 99 1234 or visit www.gov.uk/pension-credit/how-to-claim.

There are also several winter related benefits available to some older people such as the Winter Fuel Payment, Cold Weather Payment, Warm Home Discount Scheme, and the Welsh Government’s Warm Homes Nest Scheme. Contact your fuel supplier who is obliged to support vulnerable customers.

Supporting yourself against the cold weather

We’d advise people to eat at least one warm meal a day with plenty of hot drinks. And when it gets very cold wear plenty of thin cotton layers, even when you’re indoors, and try to keep moving by going for a walk or doing some physical chores at home.

In case you can’t get out and about try to ensure you have a store cupboard with non-perishable foods such as tins of soups. And make sure you have arrangements in place to get any repeat medication that you’ve been prescribed.

Viruses like flu and covid that affect our breathing, are still doing the rounds and are a particular risk to those with existing health conditions. If you are well and free of symptoms, it’s not too late to take up your free flu vaccination and covid booster if you’ve not already done so. If you’re having difficulty getting through to your GP surgery, then ask about the flu vaccine at your local pharmacy.

And please remember that you can seek the support of your local warm hub where you can sit in a warm room and access cheap or even free hot food and drinks during the day.

Be a warm neighbour

Age Cymru’s Health Initiatives Co-Ordinator, Angharad Phillips says “During the pandemic communities throughout Wales rallied round and provided lots of support and reassurances to their older relatives and neighbours, and we ask that you do the same again.

“If you have an older friend, relative or neighbour, pop round to see if you can help with any errands such as clearing leaves and ice from footpaths or offering to run errands to pick up items such as food and medicines.

“And if you have any concerns about an older person’s welfare, share them with a trusted family member or neighbour. If you can’t find anyone, please contact your local social services.”

Contacting Age Cymru 

If you want to talk to one of our expert advisers, in Welsh or English, call us on 0300 303 44 98. Age Cymru Advice is open between 9am and 4pm, Monday to Friday. (Calls are charged at the same rate as a call to a standard 01 or 02 number. They will also be automatically included in any landline or mobile inclusive minutes package.)

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