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Lesmahagow Community Council

SLC advice for the cold weather

Added on 11 January 2010

The sub-zero temperatures are making everyone's lives that bit more difficult but if you are older it can be hard to keep active and warm.

Here are some handy hints for every age.

Hot meals and drinks provide warmth and energy. Try to eat one nutritious hot meal every day and have a hot drink before bedtime. Leave a hot drink in a flask by your bed in case you wake up cold during the night.

If you can't get out or you don't have anyone that can shop for you see if your local shop or supermarket can deliver food to your door. Include bottled water on your shopping list in case the water supply freezes.

If you think you may be entitled to our meals at home service contact your local Social Work office.

Keep active. Spread you housework out over the day as it will help to keep you warm. If you can, get out for a short walk each day or do simple exercises in the house.

Wear several layers of thin clothing as the air trapped between the layers will heat up. Invest in some thermal underwear if you don't already have some. Always wear a hat outdoors - you should also wear one indoors if you think you need it. Also wear waterproof clothing and shoes when outdoors and if you do get wet, change as soon as you can.

In bed wear warm night clothes and thermal socks. Use a hot water bottle or a hot bag that can be heated in the microwave. If you have an electric blanket, always follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Try to keep your home warm - it is recommended that older people heat living areas to 23°C and non-living areas at 18°C. Invest in a plug-in cold alarm or check with your energy supplier to see if you are eligible for a free cold alarm. Use draught excluders but don't be tempted to plug air vents in a room. This can cause carbon monoxide to build up.

Don't stand or sit too close to the fire as your clothes could catch fire. Also don't dry clothes in front of the fire as it is a fire risk. If you have an open hearth don't overload the fire and always use a fireguard.

Make sure you have an emergency kit including a torch, batteries, wind-up/portable radio and emergency numbers in case of a power failure. If you have a mobile phone keep it close by.

Find out where the stop valve is for your water supply and how to switch it off in the event of a burst pipe - if you can't manage this ask a neighbour.

Keep on the television/radio/internet for regular weather updates.

If you take regular medication, do you have enough? Can the local chemist deliver or can a neighbour pick it up for you? Keep a note of your GP surgery number by the phone.

If you have an older neighbour pop round regularly to make sure they are OK or if they need help with anything - it'll only take a minute for peace of mind.