Keeping warm is often a problem in winter, especially for people who are elderly or have health problems. In these cases, sitting or sleeping in the cold not only causes discomfort but also increases the risk of stroke, heart attack and breathing problems. Worries about the cost of heating, faulty or inefficient heaters, lack of a proper central heating system, or just too many draughts - all these factors can make for cold homes and cold occupants.
What is a healthy room temperature?
People naturally vary in what they consider to be 'comfortable'; some 'feel the cold' more than others. The minimum room temperatures for sitting and sleeping are recommended to be:
- Living room - 21°C (70°F)
- Bedroom - 16-18°C (60-64°F)
Simple steps to keeping warm
- Use a thermometer to check room temperatures, especially in the living room and bedroom
- Make sure your heating system is working properly and thermostats and timers are set correctly - ask for help if you're not sure.
- Tuck curtains behind radiators to help keep heat in the room.
- Wear several thin layers of clothing rather than just one or two thick layers - socks and hats can help, even in bed!
- Cover yourself with a blanket or shawl if you are sitting for long periods.
- Try to move around frequently, at least once per hour, e.g. to make a drink. Spread housework throughout the day.
If a cold snap threatens....
- Check that you have enough medicines to last through any spells of bad weather
- Make sure you are well stocked with food, especially tinned and frozen food.
- Remember to have your flu jab; this is free for people over 65 or suffering from certain medical conditions.
How to get help
Find out if you or the person you are concerned for is eligible for a home improvement grant under the Health Through Warmth scheme run by npower. Phone 0845 0702 809, or phone the Energy Saving Advice Service on 0300 123 1234.
For more free local advice, phone the Warmer Homes Stafford hotline on 0800 677 1785.