The campaign aims to raise awareness of the importance of preparing for winter and to give support on how best to stay warm and well.
Five things you can do now to prepare for winter:
- Make sure you have a flu jab
You can get your flu jab now from your GP or many local pharmacies. Flu jabs are free for people over 65, if you have certain long-term health conditions or are a carer. As you get older, there is a higher chance flu may develop into pneumonia. Flu viruses change each year, so it’s important to have your jab annually, and as early as possible. If you are over 65, ask your GP about the pneumo jab too. This one-off vaccination helps protect you against pneumonia, meningitis and septicaemia.
- Get your home winter-ready
Getting your heating system serviced every year ensures it is running safely and efficiently – always use a qualified Gas Safe-registered engineer. If you’re renting, your landlord should check your gas heating system and appliances at least once a year too. Check your smoke alarm is working and that you have a carbon monoxide alarm in each room that has a gas or solid-fuel burning appliance.
- Join Merton’s Mascot Telecare service
The service, for older people and those with disabilities, brings 24-hour assistance at the touch of a button, whenever you need it, for a monthly fee. It provides reassurance to you and your loved ones that help is on hand, should you have a fall or feel anxious about something. An enhanced service includes visits from a mobile response team and access to a free handyperson.
- Find out if you’re entitled to help with your heating bills
If you’re reluctant to turn up the heating because of the cost, you may be entitled to help with your bills. Contact Wimbledon Guild or Age UK Merton for a benefits check and to find out if you may be eligible for any other financial support. You can also consider switching energy supplier or switching to a cheaper tariff.
- Reduce the risk of a fall
A grab rail to at your front or back door could prevent a fall in icy weather. Rails inside your home – in your shower and along your stairs – could be a big help too. Contact Occupational Therapy in Merton to request an assessment on: 020 8545 4477. Keeping a mixture of salt and sand handy to put on steps or paths in icy weather is also a good idea – ask a friend or relative to get some from a DIY store.
When the cold weather hits it’s really important to look after yourself and stay warm. Exposure to extreme cold, even for a short time, can raise your blood pressure, putting you at risk of a heart attack or stroke. Make sure you:
- Keep moving – don’t sit still for more than an hour at a time.
- Eat at least one hot meal a day and drink several hot drinks.
- Wear lots of thin layers of clothing, which keep you cosy by trapping warm air between them.
- Check your bedroom is heated to at least 18°C and your living room to at least 21°C.
- Choose boots with non-slip soles and a warm lining, or wear thermal socks when you’re out and about.
- Ask your family or friends if they could call or visit more often in a period of cold weather.
For more information, please call 020 8946 0735 or visit Warm and Well in Merton.