Tips for seniors: How to stay warm in the colder months

  • Keeping warm gets harder the older we get as our metabolisms slow and our circulation becomes poorer. Here are a few tips to keep you feeling as snug as a bug.

As we get older our ability to keep ourselves warm declines. Letting yourself get cold is not only uncomfortable – it also depresses your immune system and can make you more prone to catching colds and other seasonal viruses.

Wrap up warm

It goes without saying that you should make sure you have a good warm coat for the winter. If you find zips and buttons fiddly then look for a coat that has Velcro or poppers, so you can do it up easily. A duvet style quilted jacket will keep you warm and snug but make sure that it can cope with a shower or wear a Macintosh over the top.

Wearing a hat and gloves will also help to keep you toasty warm, especially if you have poor circulation when your hands may become painfully cold. Mittens are a good alternative if you find it tricky to slide fingers into gloves. Wearing a scarf is a good idea on windy days as you can pull it up over your face to keep the worst of the weather out.

Don’t forget your feet. Choose winter boots with a good layer of insulation and a sturdy tread. Try to avoid going out in icy conditions as falls are the biggest cause of emergency admissions for seniors.

Eat well

To keep warm your body needs to be well fuelled. Choose warm foods such as porridge and soup to sustain you and make sure you eat regularly throughout the day. Keep a flask filled with a warm drink handy so you can warm yourself up, especially if you find you aren’t as mobile as you used to be.

Make sure your cupboards are well-stocked and that you have plenty of options if it is difficult to get out due to the weather. Many supermarkets deliver but if the weather is bad then deliveries can get delayed and cancelled so ensure you keep basics like tins of soup and long-life milk on hand.

If cooking a hot meal is getting difficult for you then don’t forget there are meal delivery services that you can subscribe to. If you have a home help visit, or someone that performs live in care jobs, then ask if they can help you prepare some warm food to keep you going.

Keep moving

Try to keep active during the winter. Take a short walk just after lunch – even if it’s just down the street and back. If that is too difficult, or the weather inclement then try to spread household chores throughout the day so you aren’t sitting still for extended periods.

If you do get cold…

Try to avoid the temptation to warm yourself up too quickly. Chilblains are itchy, red swellings that can occur if you warm your skin too fast. If you do get them dab them with witch hazel to soothe them. If they occur frequently or you have diabetes or circulation problems then speak to your GP for advice.