Tips on keeping warm this winter – elderly are most at risk

How To Prepare Your Home For Cold Weather

Even before calendars across the country were flipped to December, the UK has been gripped by a cold snap. Roads, cars and roofs have been left covered in a blanket of ice and the threat of the first winter snow is looming ever closer as temperatures have plummeted dramatically.

The cold weather can have a huge impact on health, especially when it comes to the elderly. Figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) at the end of November showed that 24,000 people died last winter from cold-related illnesses. With older people more susceptible to hypothermia and strokes, some 21,700 of these deaths were among those falling into the over 65 age category.

Infants are also at risk of contracting illnesses from the cold weather; so it is critical for families and home carers to know how to keep people warm and safe during the coldest time of the year.

With headlines reporting that Britain could be facing its coldest winter for a century, the current cold snap is just a taste of what’s to come. It is therefore essential that families do everything they can to stay warm.

Heating System

It can prove invaluable to have the heating system checked over by a service technician. In addition to ensuring you are kept warm indoors, despite the plunging temperatures, any obstacle to heating vents will be removed so that air can flow freely and checks will be made for any dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide.

Air Leaks

Windows and doors tend to leak air unless they are properly insulated which can result in a chilly home and an expensive heating bill. It may be worth having draft excluders installed to keep the cold outside, where it belongs.

Plumbing System 

Water supplies can freeze quickly in extremely cold temperatures. This not only leaves you without water for heating, cooking and bathing but can also result in burst pipes – which can be very expensive to repair. Insulating any water lines that run along the exterior of your home can help to prevent this problem.

Fireplaces

If you intend to use a fireplace or wood stove for heating this winter, remember to have your chimney or flue inspected. It may be an idea to install a smoke and carbon monoxide detector near the area which will be heated and test it on a monthly basis.

Winter Survival Kit

Equipping your home with a ‘survival kit’ could prove incredibly helpful if the winter weather stops you from being able to leave your house. Food, water, medicines, an electric heater, spare blankets and matches are just a few of the items you should consider when collecting supplies.

If you struggle with mobility then it is wise to ensure that you have the most important household items at a reachable arm’s length.  It is important to make sure that you access all parts of your home freely and if you use a stairlift then it is good advice to have a back-up mobility aid or a mode of contact in case of emergency.

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