As the temperatures continue to drop for winter, Nottinghamshire County Council is offering advice to older and vulnerable residents on staying warm and healthy during winter months.
The latest ONS figures show that 70 people in Mansfield and Ashfield died during 2011/12 as a result of the colder weather (340 across Nottinghamshire). Cold homes are a factor in this, and can have a negative impact on people’s health by increasing the chances of causing or worsening conditions such as heart attacks, stroke and pneumonia.
People can help to avoid these ‘excess winter deaths’ by keeping their home warm, and by making sure vulnerable or elderly friends and neighbours are doing the same.
The County Council has produced a “Keep warm this winter” guide which includes tips on how to stay warm, useful information on what residents are entitled to, and contacts for more help and advice, as well as a handy thermometer to help people keep track of how warm their home is.
The leaflets are going to be available via GP surgeries, or can be requested via the Nottinghamshire County Council’s Customer Service Centre on 0300 500 80 80 with the information also online at www.Nottinghamshire.gov.uk/caring/keep-warm.
Coun Muriel Weisz said: “It’s really important to look after your health and stay warm during winter. Especially as we are seeing energy prices rise, it’s vital that people know what they are entitled to – like winter fuel and cold weather payments – and how to get it. There are simple things that we can all do though to keep our homes warmer, like ensuring our heating is working efficiently, or making sure we have hot meals and drinks.
“It’s also very important that we look out for the vulnerable people in our communities, especially when real cold snaps hit , checking in that elderly neighbours or friends are warm and have enough food can make a huge difference.”
Coun, chairman of the Nottinghamshire Health and Wellbeing Board said: “Too many people die each year winter as a result of not being warm enough, we know that cold housing can contribute to or worsen conditions such as breathing difficulties, pneumonia, heart conditions or strokes. I’d urge everyone to plan how you intend to keep warm and healthy this winter, but also to make sure you check up on and look after elderly neighbours.”
Top tips for staying warm and healthy this winter:
Use a room thermometer to try and keep your main living room between around 18-21C, and the rest of the house at a minimum of 16C
Get heating, radiators and boilers serviced to keep them efficient
Eat at least one warm meal a day and have warm drinks
Stay warm in bed with socks, thermal underwear and a hat
Set the heating to come on before you get up and switch off when you go to bed
Try to be active during the day, get out and about or move around in your home
Make sure you take advantage of any payments you are entitled to such as cold weather, or winter fuel payments
Anyone aged over 65 or with certain long term conditions is eligible for a free flu vaccination – make sure you take yours up.