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Winter Safety Advice for Older People

Feeling lonely?

More than half of all 75 year olds in the UK live alone and one in ten suffers intense loneliness but is reluctant to ask for help. 9 out of 10 older people told researchers that a chat on the phone is the most helpful solution when they feel lonely, but 1 in 4 older people say they never or seldom have someone to chat to on the phone.

The Silver Line is a confidential, free helpline for older people across the UK open every day and night of the year. Their specially trained helpline staff:

  • Offer information, friendship and advice.
  • Link callers to local groups and services.
  • Offer regular befriending calls.
  • Protect and support those who are suffering abuse and neglect.


Working smoke alarms

One of the easiest and most beneficial measures you can take is to install a smoke alarm, ideally you would install one on each level, including in the bedroom. You should ensure that they are installed correctly and are properly maintained, testing weekly and replacing the batteries annually.

  • If you are deaf or have other impaired senses, you can buy detectors that have additional indicators such as a flashing light and vibrating alert pads.
  • Your local Fire and Rescue Service may be able to fit a smoke alarm for free.
  • You may also want to consider a carbon monoxide alarm. Carbon monoxide will cause you to become unconscious and eventually suffocate. It can be caused by faulty gas fires and is also present in house fires.
  • It is a good idea for you to keep a phone by your bed so that you can contact the emergency services if you need to.
  • You may want to consider getting a pendant alarm for extra peace of mind. This means that you will have a button to press if you need to summon help and this will then be responded to by a central centre.


Close your doors

  • Closing all internal doors will reduce the risk of fire and smoke spreading throughout the property.
  • Consider fitting fire doors and automatic door closing devices. Fire doors will restrict the spread of fire and smoke, allowing more time for escape or help to arrive.


Make an Escape plan

  • Make sure that you know how to get out of the house in the event of a fire.
  • Check that you are able to get out of the property.
  • If you use a mobility aid, make sure that it is within reach at all times.
  • Keep all exits free from obstructions.
  • Know where your keys are so that you can find them and open your doors easily.
  • Check that you are able to lock and unlock the doors.
  • If you suffer from a visual impairment you could place tactile markers along the escape path so that you can easily find your way out in the event of a fire.


Keep warm and well


Five tips to boost your mood


Staying steady


Flu jabs

If you're over 65 be sure to have a seasonal flu jab. Seasonal flu viruses are always changing, so you need to have a jab every year, using the latest vaccine. Flu is not only unpleasant but it can develop into pneumonia, which can be serious. A flu jab is also recommended if you're under 65 with a condition such as diabetes, a chronic heart, lung, kidney or liver problem, have Parkinson's or have had a stroke.


Other things to consider:

Electric blankets

Check that your electric blanket:

  • is not older than 10 years old.
  • is not damaged or frayed.
  • does not have scorch marks or loose connections.
  • is not used by people who are incontinent.



It's normal to become a bit forgetful as you get older. However, memory loss could be a symptom of something more serious and should be checked by a GP.


Need further advice and support?

The following organisations are also available for advice and support

The Samaritans – 116 123 /

Mind, for better mental health - 0300 123 3393 /

Alzheimer's Society - 0845 300 0336 /

Age UK - 0800 169 6565 /

NHS 111

The Silver Line (helpline for older people) – 0800 470 8090 /


Watch the video below to see how you can help older people: