Keeping warm and well in winter
The cold winter weather can cause older and vulnerable people to become ill, and in some more extreme cases people die unnecessarily due to the cold.
If you care for someone, you can help to protect them from the cold weather by supporting them to keep their home warm. It's also important that you do all you can to keep yourself healthy and well in winter too.
If either you or the person you look after struggle to keep your home warm, or find it a challenge to pay for gas and electric, you may be able to get help and advice from your local district / borough council or housing provider. You can refer yourselves for this support through the First Contact scheme.
Derbyshire County Council have put together a booklet called Healthy, Warm and Well in Derbyshire which is packed with advice about keeping your home warm and keeping yourself healthy.
If you or the person you look after have a health condition or illness that is made worse by the cold and you struggle to afford to heat your home, the Healthy Homes Project may be able to help on tel: 01629 536919. If they can't help, they'll try to direct you to someone who can.
Top tips for staying warm
- Heat your home as best you can, but if you can't heat all the rooms you use, heat the living room during the day and the bedroom at night
- Keep your bedroom window closed during the winter because breathing in cold air can increase your risk of chest infections
- Layer your clothing whether you are indoors or outside. Wrap a scarf around your mouth to protect your lungs from the cold air when you go outside
- Close your curtains and shut doors behind you to keep heat in the rooms you use most
- Make sure you receive any winter allowances you're entitled to such as the Warm Home Discount, Cold Weather Payment or Winter Fuel Payment
- Make sure you are paying the lowest fuel tariff. Lots of people stay with their energy provider because it's easier, but it's worth shopping around for a better deal. Some local councils and housing providers can offer advice and practical support with changing your tariff and/or provider. Or why not ask a family member or friend for some help if you aren't confident using the internet?
Staying well this Winter
Don't forget your flu jab. If you're a carer it's likely you and the person you care for are both eligible for a free flu jab.
Get help early if you or the person you look after feel unwell. If you or the person you care for start to feel poorly, even if it's just a cold, take advice from your local pharmacist to try and prevent it getting any worse. You can talk to a Derbyshire Community Pharmacists in confidence and you don't need to make an appointment.
Check the opening times of your GP surgery and pharmacy - make sure you've got all the medications you and the person you look after need over weekends and also the Easter bank holidays. Also if you think you could possibly need help from emergency or crisis services and helplines, check their opening hours in advance.
Keep moving. Getting out and about is difficult in the cold weather but try and stay as active as you can. Even if you can't get out, try and do what you can at home to keep moving. There are loads of videos you can follow on websites like YouTube and you'll get the benefit even if you just do ten minutes of gentle exercise each day.
You can get more advice about staying well in winter by visiting
- Derbyshire County Council - Your Health
- NHS - Stay Well this Winter
- NHS - Keep Warm, Keep Well
- Live Life Better Derbyshire - Top 20 Winter Tips
Travelling and staying safe in winter weather
It's always best to avoid travelling in bad weather if you can help it. But if you do need to go out make sure you check the weather forecast and try and plan around it as much as you can. If you live in a rural area stock up on essentials in case you and the person you look after are ever stranded.
If it's snowing or icy you can check the Derbyshire County Council website for the latest information on road closures and gritting schedules.
If you or the person you look after are eldery, disabled, vulnerable or have a long term health condition it's worth signing up for the Priority Services Register. Signing up to the register is free and ensures you are given extra support and information in the event of a power cut. You can find out more including how to apply on the Ofgem website.
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