Porridge, carbs and a flu jab: Ten ways to stay well this winter with Age UK

A warm breakfast like porridge - with optional nuts and berries - will give you a great start to the

A warm breakfast like porridge - with optional nuts and berries - will give you a great start to the day. Picture: Getty Images - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Nicolette Neile, fundraising and volunteer co-ordinator at Age UK Norwich explains how their Winter Well is planning to help the elderly this winter

Get yourself a flu jab to avoid becoming ill over winter. Picture: Getty Images

Get yourself a flu jab to avoid becoming ill over winter. Picture: Getty Images - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

For some older people, winter can be a particularly difficult time and this year Covid-19 will bring with it a new set of challenges, while also heightening existing ones. Age UK Norwich’s new Winter Well campaign is designed to help older people and their families prepare for the winter months and offer support to older people who may be worried or struggling.

As we get older, changes to our bodies mean cold weather and winter bugs affect us more than they used to. Every winter 25,000 older people in England and Wales don’t survive the cold weather, and this year we will also need to live with coronavirus, which we know can have more of an impact the older we are. Staying warm, active and connected throughout the winter is really important to help prevent some of the problems the colder weather can bring. The charity’s campaign gives advice on how to be winter-ready and stay safe at home.

Age UK Norwich’s chief executive Dan Skipper said: “We want to remind everyone how winter brings additional challenges for many older people who are faced with higher heating costs, increased risk of winter bugs and falls, and reduced social contact.

“There are sensible things people can do to prepare their home, and we encourage families to think about their relatives and plan ahead. We call on the community to help us support many older people who are without family or struggling financially in the colder months. We need telephone befrienders to meet the increased demand we see over winter, and donations to our campaign, so we can support people with the essentials to help keep them safe.”

You'll want to keep the temperature in your living room at about 21C during winter. Picture: Getty I

You'll want to keep the temperature in your living room at about 21C during winter. Picture: Getty Images - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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As the government’s guidelines change, older people in particular now face a lot of uncertainty. Many are scared about what will happen if we go into a second lockdown, and some are still unsure as to whether or not they can safely go out, or even if they will be able to spend time with family and loved ones at Christmas. A lot of older people will have spent most of the summer not going outside or socialising as they would normally, and as the weather turns colder many will choose to stay indoors. This can have a big impact on mental health and wellbeing.

The charity gives some top tips to help get yourself, or someone you know, ready for winter:

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1 If you are able and eligible, book yourself in for a flu jab. It takes up to ten days to take effect so it’s best to have it early in the winter.

2 Get your home winter ready. Now is the time to fix those broken windows, get draft excluders, line your curtains if possible, get some blankets and maybe a hot water bottle or electric blanket.

3 Check that your heating is working properly and keep your home warm. Eighteen degrees is the ideal temperature for your bedroom, while 21 degrees is perfect for the living room

4 Make sure you are able to afford your winter bills. There is a wide range of financial help on offer to those who are having difficulties with their heating payments.

5 Get an emergency bad weather kit together. Items like salt or sand for icy steps and paths, batteries for your smoke alarm, tinned, frozen and dried food, and cold and flu medicines will make sure you’re ready for any eventuality.

6 Try and keep as active as possible at home and wear several thin layers rather than one thick layer. We have some great activities on our YouTube channel and Facebook page that you can easily do in the home.

7 Get out the house by coming along to one of our outdoor walking groups. All our groups are led by a member of staff and have been assessed and are Covid compliant.

8 Stock up on meals containing carbohydrates such as potatoes, pasta, bread and rice. Porridge with hot milk for breakfast and soups and stews for lunch and dinner will keep you toasty and full throughout the day.

9 Eat regular healthy meals and have plenty of hot drinks

10Make sure you can keep connected to friends and family via telephone or the internet. If you’re not sure about using digital services, look into getting yourself set-up with video calling or a social media account. Or if you want to speak to someone regularly, you can sign up for Age UK Norwich’s Telephone Befriending service.

Age UK Norwich offers a variety of support for older people to be Winter Well:

Financial support and advice for winter bills or heating repairs

Tips and information on how to make your home winter-ready

Blankets, hot water bottles, and warm clothing

Activity Instructors who provide home visits and/or online classes

Outdoor walking groups

Friendship through Telephone Befriending

Help with getting online and digitally connected

Help with sourcing shopping delivery services

To help maintain these vital services, the charity is asking for supporters to either donate their time or give a financial donation, which can be made via their website or by posting a cheque. As part of the campaign they also have events, such as Bobble Hat Day on Friday, December 11 and are encouraging the public to do their own fundraising events, such as hosting their own Christmas Craft afternoon, or getting their street involved in their very own Winter Wonderland trail.

Information on all our services and the Winter Well campaign can be found on our website: www.ageuk.org.uk/norwich or call 01603 496333

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