With forecasters predicting snow and cold weather for much of Wales during the coming weeks, Age Cymru is offering tips and advice to help older people to stay safe, warm, and well during cold spells. 

With the cost-of-living crisis hitting hard some people may be tempted to turn down their heating. But the charity says keeping warm puts less strain on the heart and lungs, improves the symptoms of existing health conditions, and helps with pain management.

Being warm can also protect physical and mental wellbeing and thereby help people to become more resilient to the many challenges posed by winter.  

The charity advises older people to keep themselves and parts of their home warm by heating bedrooms to around 18°C/65°F and main living rooms to 21°C/70°F.      

Age Cymru’s Health Initiatives Officer, Angharad Phillips, says “People should keep nourished by eating well and stay hydrated by having lots of hot drinks throughout the day.   

“We also recommend stocking up on basic food items such as milk, bread, tinned and dried foods in case you can’t go out for a while. It’s also a good idea to keep a list of emergency contact numbers in case you need them and stay connected by linking up to a friend, relative or a charity. 

She added “Shivering is our body’s way of telling us we need to move more to generate heat so perhaps try some gentle exercises or do some chores around the home like vacuuming. And if you do venture outside wear a snood or scarf to cover your nose and mouth as this will warm the air that you breathe and help prevent cold air getting into your chest. 

“We know that many older people are struggling to pay their food and fuel bills but there is help and support available, so we urge everyone not to compromise on their health.” 

Last year the Age Cymru Partnership helped older people across the country claim more than £7.5m, but it wants to do so much more. Sadly, millions of pounds worth of support, including £200m worth of Pension Credit, go unclaimed in Wales each year.   

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has announced that the third and final Cost of Living Payment of £299 will be paid out between 6 February 2024 and 22 February 2024.  

  To qualify for this payment, you must have been entitled to a qualifying benefit, such as Pension Credit, between 13 November 2023 to 12 December 2023. Due to backdating rules with Pension Credit, whereby you can ask for a claim to be backdated for up to three months, you may still be able to qualify for the third Cost of Living Payment, even if you're not getting Pension Credit yet. 

The charity publishes a guide called More Money in Your Pocket that offers information about a range of benefits and how to go about claiming them.  

If you want to talk to someone directly about benefits and entitlements, call Age Cymru on 0300 303 44 98 (charged at a local rate) Monday to Friday between 9am and 4pm. You may also email [email protected] or click here.