Our ever increasing heating bills can make the prospect of a cold winter a worrying one. First and foremost make sure you are claiming any benefits and grants you may be entitled to.
In 2012-13, people born before 6 July 1951 will be eligible for the Winter Fuel Allowance. Payments are normally £200 for those under 80 years and £300 if you are 80 years old or over. There may be a reduction if you live with other people who qualify.
Cold Weather Payments are made when the weather is very cold. You can get an additional £25 a week when the average temperature has been‚ or is expected to be‚ 0°C or below for seven days in a row.
Warm Front is a government-funded scheme which offers grants to provide homes with adequate heating and insulation. To be eligible, the property must be assessed as not being energy efficient.
There are also plenty of steps you can take to keep yourself warm and toasty over the coming months which won't cost the earth or compromise your comfort.
Keep your home warm. Your main living room should be between around 18-21C (65-70F) and the rest of the house at a minimum of 16C (61F). Once the house is warm, keep it that way. Draw your curtains at dusk, keep doors closed and use draught excluders, it doesn't have to be anything fancy, stuff an old stocking with anything from worn out t-shirts to newspaper and this will do the job.
Eat well. Food is the energy which helps to keep you warm. Try to make sure that you have hot drinks regularly throughout the day and at least one hot meal. A warming bowl of porridge for breakfast is cheap, nutritious and will keep you going until lunchtime. Virtually any combination of vegetables can be thrown into a pan of stock to make a filling yet healthy lunch and nothing beats a cup of hot chocolate before bed to help keep you warm and cosy.
Try and stay active at home throughout the day. It's easy to stay curled up under a blanket in front of the TV but this could leave you feeling lethargic and even depressed. Try to plan in an active chore each day, cleaning windows, changing beds, clearing out cupboards etc. Not only will you stay more active, you'll have a sparkling home! Don't use the downstairs loo - unless you're upstairs!
Wrap up warm, both indoors and outside. Wear several light layers of clothes rather than one big fat woolly pullover! It may be a sign of old age but these days I cannot sleep in cold weather without bedsocks on (did I just admit that?!). It is true that you lose most heat through the top of your head (so obviously woolly hats for outside) but I say if your feet are cold you never feel properly warm all over!
Try not to stay cooped up inside all day every day in cold weather. A short walk in the bracing fresh air is good for you, just make sure you wrap up warm and wear suitable shoes with a good grip. Invest in a bag of cat litter to sprinkle on paths, steps and driveways - mix it with a bag of dishwasher salt for greater effect in icy conditions.
Check on older neighbours or relatives to make sure they're safe and well. Make sure they're warm enough, especially at night, and have stocks of food and medicines so they don't need to go out during very cold weather.
If you think you or a family member may be eligible for cold weather payments you can contact Southend Council.
You can also find lots of useful information on the Age UK website.
Member since: 10th July 2012
I am the very proud owner of thebestofsouthend. My aim is to really shout about why Southend is so great & champion our local business owners who do a really great job!
We encourage local people...