Keep Warm, Keep Well

Cold homes have a significant impact on people’s health. It’s therefore vital that you stay warm to help look after your health and wellbeing. Keeping warm can not only help prevent physical illnesses such as colds and flu as well as heart attacks, strokes and pneumonia but it can also help look after your mental health.

The chances of these problems are higher if you're vulnerable to cold-related illnesses because of one or more of the following:

  • you're over 65
  • you're on a low income (so can't afford heating)
  • you have a long-term health condition such as heart, lung or kidney disease
  • you are disabled

How to stay warm

The following advice can help you stay warm throughout the winter months:

  • Keep your home warm. Your main living room should be between around 18-21C (65-70F) and the rest of the house at a minimum of 16C (61F). You can also use a hot-water bottle or electric blanket (but not both at the same time) to keep warm while you're in bed.
  • Eat well. Food is a vital source of energy, which helps to keep your body warm. Try to make sure that you have hot meals and drinks regularly throughout the day and keep active in the home if you can.
  • Wrap up warm, inside and out. Layer your clothing to stay warm and wear shoes with a good grip if you need to go outside. If possible, stay inside during a cold period if you have heart or respiratory problems.
  • Check on older neighbours or relatives to make sure they're safe and well. Make sure they're warm enough, especially at night, and have stocks of food and medicines so they don't need to go out during very cold weather. If you're worried about a relative or an elderly neighbour, contact your local council or ring the Age UK helpline on 0800 00 99 66.

You can read more tips on how to cope in very cold weather here.

Cold weather benefits

You may also be able to claim financial and practical help with heating their home. Grants available include the Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments.

The Energy Saving Trust (EST) has advice on how to reduce bills and make your home more energy efficient. They can also advise on grants and schemes available around the UK. Find out more online from the EST website or call 0300 123 1234 (9am-8pm Mon-Fri and 10am-2pm Sat).

For more information on cold weather benefits and other help available read the 'Financial help to heat your home' section in the Keep Warm Keep Well leaflet.