Winter health for older people 

Winter weather can affect older people's health and wellbeing. Watch a video about how to keep fit and healthy during the coldest months of the year.

Beat the winter blues

Transcript of Winter health for older people

As the seasons change and we come into the winter months,

it's a good time for older people in particular to think about their health

because winter is a time that's often associated

with increased risk of chest infections, heart attacks and strokes.

But there's a lot that you can do as an older person

to protect yourself from that.

I think keeping active helps you.

Just be on the go all the time if you can.

I walk, I go to an exercise class, I do Pilates.

What do we do? We sit together and...

(both laugh)

Go for long walks.

Normally just walking about and having hot drinks,

making sure I'm warm at night.

We don't go out if it's too cold,

but our sons and family have got nice warm houses

so we go and keep warm in theirs.

I take cod liver oil tablets and wrap up warm.

It's also really important to cover up your head

if you're going outside on a cold day

because you lose 50 per cent of your body heat through your head.

Scarf and a hat, normally, or a hood on my coat.

If my neck is warm, usually the rest of me is warm.

Wrap up warm and eat properly.

I think eating is a lot of it. The inside, you start on.

We put the fire on, shut the door and it's lovely in the front room.

We've got a gas fire and a coal fire. It's really nice.

But we only really keep that one room really warm.

I've only got one fire downstairs

but also, when it's really cold,

I've got an oscillating one, a fire upstairs.

So I'm not too bad. I wrap up warm.

The big risk is when you move from a hot to a cold environment

or a cold to a hot environment,

and if your body changes temperature quickly it makes your blood stickier

and that makes you more at risk of heart attacks and strokes.

We don't have it on all the time because my wife doesn't like the heat too much,

but it's always warm enough.

I live in a block of flats and there's general central heating

and the level of heating is very good.

The government has made available financial assistance

through winter fuel payments to older people

to make sure that during the winter months

older people have got enough money to pay their fuel bills.

It's not worth scrimping and saving there.

You're putting your health at risk if you do.

The other thing is there are grants available from your local council

to help with insulating your house.

We get the �200 at Christmas,

plus the fact we pay on cards all our electric and that.

Because we get our allowance, we get �200 allowance,

so I put a good half of that in... in my electric key.

We get the �200 heating bill allowance.

And that's fine, really. We don't worry, do we?


Outdoor risks include not only the cold weather but also the icy pavements.

It's a time to make sure your footwear is good.

Take extra care when you're outside. You don't want to slip.

If it is icy I am careful where I walk.

I try and hold on to something.

Not a stick yet.


I don't worry too much about that.

I take care when I'm on ice because I have slipped over a couple of times.

I hate the snow. I'm terrified of slipping over.

I can fall down if there isn't any ice.

I'm anxious about slipping on ice and certainly on wet leaves,

and sometimes if there's an uneven paving stone

I get anxious about tripping over.

I think it's really important

that neighbours, friends and family check up on older people

who they know are living on their own,

make sure they're getting enough food in.

And also it's important to provide company

because it can be a lonely time

if you're on your own and you're housebound during the winter months.

We've got seven grandchildren,

so we've got plenty of people to visit and see.

And our sons, so we go out and see them a lot.

I go out less in the evenings, certainly, yes,

but I do quite a lot in the day.

I belong to a club and I go to different exhibitions and things like that.

I don't go out much in the evenings.

If I go out, I go out with my family.

They come and fetch me and bring me back,

drop me off and pick me up.

I think older people should think, "Head, heart, hip and home."

Think of your head,

cover up well when you're outside with a woolly hat or whatever.

Think about your heart,

make sure you maintain an even temperature

so you don't put yourself at risk of heart attack.

Think about your hip, think about slips, protect your bones.

And look after your home,

make sure it's a warm, well-insulated environment during the winter months.

Last reviewed: 13/05/2011

Next review due: 13/05/2013


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Comments are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

breanos said on 16 November 2011

i have diagnosed in march 211
since this time have progressed into a lower standard; of dementia . i go into the garden area >>get lost ,,
go on bus with partner & forget where i am ; also people arent very helpfull when you ask (( where is this please;; or what store is this please they ignore me like im imbasile . im 81 yrs , have worked allover world ..places they never heard of ..
polish survivor the deathcamps .. surely noy imba sile
yours b cummings ;; shalom

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