Tips for staying warm

Living in a cold home, particularly if you already have a long term condition, such as heart disease or breathing difficulties, can cause serious health problems.

Follow these top tips for keeping warm in the winter:

  • Set your heating to the right temperature (18 to 21°C)
  • Have the flu jab to protect yourself and others from influenza
  • Stay tuned to the weather forecast and plan ahead making sure you have enough food and drink in the house
  • Have regular hot meals and drinks throughout the day to keep you warm and keep your energy levels up
  • Make sure you have enough of any medicine you need to take - you may not be able to collect or have your medicines delivered if the weather turns bad
  • Have your heating and cooking appliances checked regularly
  • Get financial support to make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating or help with bills
  • Wear a few layers of thin clothing rather than one thick layer - socks and hats can keep you warm in bed
  • If you go out in bad weather, remember to wrap up warm and wear shoes with slip resistant soles
  • Try not to sit still for too long and keep moving if you can: a good routine is not to sit for more than 1 hour at the time – get up and walk around. If walking is a problem, try moving your arms and legs whilst sitting or wiggling your fingers
  • If you have neighbours who may be vulnerable to the cold - check on them if you can.

Keeping your home warm

Did you know over 50% of the heat loss from an average home, is through the roof and walls? The following tips can help you keep your house warm and keep your energy bill down:

  • Home insulation can help you make significant savings on your energy bill. Over three quarters of the energy used in a typical UK home is for water or space heating. If your home is poorly insulated, a lot of heat tends to escape through walls, roofs and windows, meaning that it costs you more to keep your home warm. 
  • Draught proofing is a cheap and very cost effective way to reduce your heating bills. If you don’t have double or secondary glazing, your home is probably losing up to 20% of its heat through gaps in your doors and windows. They are easy to fit and a good DIY store will be able to advise you on which products are suitable for your home.
  • Ask your energy supplier about their Priority Services Register, a service for older and disabled people.

What help is available?

If you’re over 65 or have a long term health condition such as asthma or diabetes, you can benefit from a free Winter Warmth Home Assessment. Age UK Richmond can come and tell you what you can do to make your home warm and cosy and to help you to stay healthy and well. During the home visit, Age UK may be able to help with some things immediately; other things may require onward referral. They can help with:

  • Advice on free walks and other exercise opportunities in the borough
  • Free smoke and carbon monoxide alarms if required
  • Free specialist advice on lowering your heating bills whilst keeping warm
  • Benefits check
  • Advice on keeping healthy and well in winter 
  • Depending on your circumstances you may be able to get grants for heating, insulation and boiler repairs
  • Subject to a survey, you may be able to get free radiator reflector panels and draught proofing to keep heat in your home.

Age UK Richmond Winter Warmth
Phone: 020 8878 3625

Coldbusters Scheme

The Coldbusters scheme offers discount loft and cavity wall insulation to all residents in the borough and will provide this for free to those in receipt of certain benefits and to those aged 60 or above. 



Further information and advice:

The NHS Choices website has lots of information and advice on staying warm and healthy during winter, including what to do to cope with very cold weather. 


Public Health England have produced the ‘Keep Warm, Keep Well’ advice guide for the over 65s, low-income families and people living with disabilities.  


Useful contacts:

GoLocal for Sheen, Mortlake, Barnes, Twickenham or Whitton
Phone: 020 8973 1877

Community Partnership for Richmond, Kew, Ham, Petersham,Teddington or The Hamptons
Phone: 020 8831 6464

Richmond Council Adult Access Team
Address: Adult Social Services, Civic Centre, 44 York Street, Twickenham, TW1 3BZ
Phone: 020 8891 7971
Minicom: 18001 020 8891 7971