Winter is bad for your health. Underlying all the snowball fights, festive celebrations, bright lights and cuddly scarves remains the fact that cold weather can seriously endanger your health – and for no one else is this threat a graver reality than for the retired and elderly. In Britain we take a rather dismissive attitude to the cold – give us a woolly hat and a hot cup of cocoa and we can withstand whatever the winter throws at us! But don’t let this bravado fool you – it’s an unhelpful myth that a stiff upper lip and a hardy attitude will protect you from the dangers of winter cold. According to the NHS, prolonged exposure to the cold can not only make you more susceptible to colds and flu: it can also increase your chances of heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression – particularly if you’re elderly, disabled, or are already fighting another illness. It’s important to respect the cold, respect your body, and make sure you keep yourself warm this winter. Unfortunately, for many of us, keeping warm comes at a considerable financial cost. This is especially true for retired senior citizens who spend much more time at home than younger people in full time work. If you’re at the office from 9 ‘til 5 it’s your employer’s responsibility to fund your comfort. If you’re at home throughout the day you’ll be looking at funding up to twice as much heating, with the potentially limited means of your pension. Keeping warm at winter should be a priority – but it’s increasingly necessary to economise and find ways to maintain comfort temperatures on a budget. Here’s our guide to affordable ways for elderly people to stay warm this winter.
Hot meals and hot drinks will leave you with a warm glow for long after the final sip. Some of our radiators use thermal fluids to warm up – so why not take your twist on thermal fluid heating with a hearty mug of hot chocolate? Consider switching breakfast cereals for a hot bowl of porridge to give you a boost of warmth at the beginning of the day, or substituting a cold salad for a healthy soup for a heat top-up at lunch time. It’s not just the warmth of the food that will help – a good boost of energy will keep your metabolism working to maintain a healthy temperature.
For most people, flu is an unpleasant, disruptive but unthreatening episode of illness. However, for the disabled, chronically ill or the elderly, the flu can lead to more serious complications such as bronchitis and pneumonia. Flu vaccinations are free on the NHS if you’re over 65, providing a useful safeguard to improve your chances of staying healthy over the winter.
This may seem obvious but there are a few secrets to dressing for winter which can help make your winter clothing more effective. Firstly – layer up. Lots of thin layers can be more effective than a few thick items of clothing because each layer traps warm air, and gives you plenty of scope to adjust your temperature by degrees if you get two warm. A thin vest and thermal leggings can do more to keep you warm than a heavy knitted jumper. Secondly – keep your feet warm. People who are at home during the day in winter will know that you can lose a lot of heat through your feet, especially if your home has tiled or wooden floors. Don’t underestimate the power of the socks-and-slippers combination. Thirdly – don’t neglect your legs! For some reason, most of us will quite happily layer up on our torsos but make do with a single layer on our legs. Try a pair of thermal long-johns, leggings or tights under your trousers for an automatic heat boost.
Use Personal Heat Boosters
Hot water bottles, hand warmers and microwavable heat packs are efficient ways to deliver heat to the places you need it most. Ideal for people with poor circulation, personal heat boosters transfer heat by conduction to directly warm your extremities. They can help keep muscles warm and prevent you becoming stiff and uncomfortable.
Economical Heating Systems
We realise that we’re preaching to the choir with many of the above tips. And whilst eating well, dressing appropriately and boosting heat to your extremities can help you top up your heat, it’s no substitute for an economical house-wide heating system. The NHS recommends pensioners to heat their homes at 18˚C or higher – throughout the day and throughout the night if you have trouble sleeping. Unfortunately this can be very expensive, so it’s important to make sure you’re using the most efficient heating system available to you. Our electric radiators are designed with minimising energy usage firmly in mind. High precision thermostats and 24/7 programming systems ensure that your radiators produce heat when and where you need it, at the temperatures you need – and cut out your energy usage everywhere else. Intelligent electric radiators achieve the ideal balance of comfort and energy savings, minimizing your heating bills and keeping your heating fully under your control. They make a great, cheap to install choice if you’re looking to replace old storage heaters or a defunct gas central heating system. Alternatively, if you’ve already got a central heating system that just needs a little topping up at certain times of the day, our top-of-the-range panel heaters provide cheaper alternatives which are just as controllable as our electric radiators, helping you maintain comfortable temperatures without having to constantly monitor your heating.
Unfortunately we know that the expenses of winter heating cannot be entirely alleviated with energy efficient heating. With fuel poverty statistics reaching heart-breaking highs, it’s evident that work is needed at a higher level to make sure basic human living conditions are met for people of all ages – including the senior citizens who are most at risk from the winter cold. Here’s hoping that the development of sustainable fuels will create a greener, fairer, more affordable energy market in the UK. Wouldn’t it be poetic if our efforts to prevent global warming could reward us with warmer homes and healthy winter living conditions? We live in hope.
For more information on our economical heating products contact our friendly sales advisors on 0330 300 4444.
Eco Stores Direct are here to bring you the very latest energy news, views and opinions from across the UK. They are also suppliers of energy efficient electric heating solutions and are constantly assessing the market for the best products and the latest ground-breaking technology which they think will make a real difference to their customer's homes. Eco Stores Direct are devoted to helping you reduce your carbon footprint and bring down your energy bills and they work hard to raise awareness of energy efficient products that can make all the difference. If you're interested in outdoor patio heaters or slimline infrared panels, call Infrared Heaters Direct today on 0330 300 8383 for a free assessment.