Health and wellbeing in winter
As the temperature drops, it is important to keep yourself warm and take care of your health and well being.
These hints and tips suggest ways to keep warm:
- Regular hot meals and drinks provide warmth and energy
- If it is cold outside try to keep active indoors to stay warm
- Wear several thin layers rather than one thick layer - this will trap warm air close to your body
- Electric blankets can be dangerous if left on overnight (unless they have a safe all night setting) and should never be used with a hot water bottle. Remember to replace any electric blankets which are 10 years or over
- If using a hot water bottle, make sure it has a protective covering
- On a sunny day, opening curtains to let warmth into your house
- When it’s colder or the sun goes down, close your curtains to stop heat escaping and draughts coming in
- Curtains with thermal linings will also help to keep the heat in
- Don't block radiators as this reduces the heat
Age NI winter helpline
If you need help to stay warm or if you know an older person struggling this winter, contact the Age NI Advice and Advocacy Service on 0808 808 7575.
Looking out for neighbours
During winter, some of our older and more vulnerable relatives, friends and neighbours can find it difficult to get out and about.
You can help your older neighbours by:
- calling in to make sure that everything is all right and to find out if they need anything
- checking they are warm enough. Make sure their heating system is working properly and timed for the weather. Suggest blankets, hot water bottles and hot drinks
- making sure that they are drinking plenty of fluids and eating hot meals
- suggesting they get the flu jab from their local GP or health centre
- watching for signs that something could be wrong such as milk not being taken in or curtains remaining closed
- making sure there are no fire hazards and that they have a working smoke alarm. They can call us for a free home safety check on 028 9091 8715.
- offering to collect shopping for them if you're going for groceries or other errands
We have useful numbers to contact in an emergency.
Reducing home fuel costs
Winter Fuel Payment
Winter Fuel Payment is made automatically to eligible people who have reached State Pension age. To check if you are entitled to a payment, go to nidirect (link opens in a new window). If you qualify, you can use this money to buy 'Stay Warm' oil savings stamps.
Fuel stamp scheme
Our fuel stamp scheme - 'Stay Warm' - helps householders save for home heating oil, by spreading the cost of fuel over several weeks.
You can buy oil stamps from participating retailers, collect them on a savings card and use the value of the stamps to pay for all or part of your oil when ordering oil.
Affordable Warmth Scheme
If you receive certain benefits, you could be eligible for insulation and help to improve your home heating through the Affordable Warmth Scheme. For information on the scheme, call Building Control, 028 9029 0650.
Belfast Warm and Well project
Co-ordinated by National Energy Action (NEA), the Belfast Warm and Well Project is supported by Community Planning partners in Belfast. The project supports vulnerable people who are finding it difficult to keep their home warm. You can contact NEA by email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 028 9023 9909.