With temperatures predicted to drop to as low as -10C in some areas, older people’s charity, Independent Age, is urging older people, their families and carers to take extra care during this week’s cold snap. It’s also revised its free advice leaflet on how to stay well in winter, called Being Winter Wise, for 2016. Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) last week found that an estimated 24,300 excess winter deaths occurred in England and Wales in 2015/16. Of these, almost one-third (29.7%) were among people aged 75 and over. The charity says that while cold temperatures alone do not cause excess winter deaths, older people are particularly vulnerable to the cold because of other underlying factors such as inadequate housing, poverty and ill health.

Being cold can be very bad for your health. Many people don’t realise that low temperatures can not only increase the risk of flu, but also the risk of heart attack or stroke.

To help older people, their families and carers get through the cold snap, Independent Age has brought out a free advice leaflet called Being Winter Wise. It provides practical advice and tips on how to look after yourself during the coldest months. The advice spans from eating well and staying healthy to keeping your home warm and making winter more affordable.

Janet Morrison, Chief Executive of Independent Age, said, “Winter can be a testing time for older people if they don’t have enough social, financial or emotional support in place. We are urging older people, their families and carers to take extra care during the cold snap. The government, councils and individuals all need to take more responsibility for ensuring older people are getting the support they need in winter. However, there are also some practical actions that can be taken to help keep your home warm and stay healthy during the winter months. More advice on how to cope during the winter months is available in our free Being Winter Wise leaflet.”