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Are you ready for winter?

As we get older, changes to our bodies mean that cold weather and winter bugs affect us more than they used to.

And with increasingly unpredictable weather, it’s important to think about getting ready for when it’s miserable, and even dangerous, outside. Here are some things you can do to make sure you’re prepared this winter.

Get your flu jab – even if you’re fighting fit

Everyone aged 65 and over is entitled to a free jab from the doctor or pharmacist. The vaccines for this age group has an agent which helps to boost your immune system’s response to the vaccine. Even if you are fit and healthy, it’s a great idea to get the jab to help protect yourself and others. If you care for someone aged 65 or over, or are a frontline care worker, you should think about vaccinating yourself against the flu too

Layer up and make sure your home is warm enough

It goes without saying that dressing for the weather is essential. Layering is a great way to keep warm as it traps air between the layers and keeps you insulated. Natural fibres are best as they are the warmest and also allow your skin to breathe. So think cotton, silk and wool! Make sure to wear a hat, gloves and scarf if going out and warm socks and slippers when indoors. The ideal room temperature you should be aiming for is about 21 degrees in your living room, and about 18 degrees in your bedroom.

Keeping active. Eat and drink well

It’s important to keep moving as much as possible during winter to boost your circulation which in turn will help you keep warm. It can be preferable to stay indoors but popping out for a daily walk in the fresh air will do you the world of good. It’s important to avoid sitting for long periods, so if you are staying in indoors make sure you move about at least every hour or so. It’s also important to have a healthy and balanced diet to maintain your health throughout the winter, including lots of fresh fruit and veg. This can help ward off colds and flu and keep you fighting fit. Have a least one hot meal a day. Drinking lots of warm drinks throughout the day is also a great way to keep your body warm.

There may be local classes or social groups you can go to. If you want to find out what’s going on in your area, check your local community centre, library noticeboard or contact your local Age UK:

https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/health-wellbeing/exercise/

Keep blinds and curtains shut

After dark it makes sense to pull blinds down and close curtains to help stop heat escaping from your home. Keep your bedroom window closed at night when the weather is coldest. Close the curtains at dusk to keep the heat in. You may even want to fit thermal linings to them if you can.

Check your heating

It’s a good idea if you haven’t already done so to get your boiler serviced in the run up to winter. Having a boiler break down when it’s cold is no fun and can often take a day or so at least to sort out. Luckily, if you are a Girlings residents this isn’t something you need to worry about as your rent covers maintenance and yours will have been checked in line with current guidance.

Prepare for freezing temperatures

The weather over winter can be unpredictable and can sometimes stop us getting out and about:

  • Keep some extra food in the cupboard or freezer just in case you can’t get out to the shops. Also, if you’d rather stay indoors, you could do your food shopping online and get it delivered to your doorstep.
  • Water pipes can freeze and burst, so it’s important to know where your main stopcock is and check that it’s easy to turn in case you must turn the water off.
  • To avoid a slip or a fall, keep a mixture of salt and sand handy to put on steps or paths when it’s icy out. You could try a local DIY shop or get in touch with your council as some provide free bags.

Every household with someone aged 65 or over, is entitled help towards their winter energy costs under the UK Government’s ‘Winter Fuel Payments’ scheme. Over 65’s can claim a lump sum of up to £250 tax-free. For further information, visit: https://www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment

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