Keeping warm in your home

Caring for neighbours and keeping warm at home this winter

By Jonathan Acton -

We all need to work together to ensure that everyone is kept safe and warm in winter. Please check on friends and neighbours who may be struggling in the cold. Ok, we all might feel a little awkward going up to a neighbour’s house uninvited these day’s, but what’s the worst that can happen? It’s no harm to call in with some cake or biscuits and let the person know you are only a phone call away if needed.

It can be a fantastic support to seniors or people living on their own.

Keeping warm in winter

During winter more people get ill and the number of deaths rises. There is a direct link between cold weather and the higher death rate, especially among older people and others in at-risk groups.

There are many signs to look out for someone who may have fallen ill or had an accident:

• Milk not taken in late in the day.

• Newspapers stuck in the letterbox.

• Curtains drawn during the day.

• Lights burning during the day.

• Home in darkness when there should be someone at home.

• Dog barking all day or the cat scratching to be let in.


Clearly, it is important to prevent people from becoming cold in the first place. Family, friends and neighbours in the community can look out for those who might be at risk from the cold. Prevention is always easier than cure.

How to keep yourself warm

Safety is important in all aspects of keeping yourself warm. Care should be taken when using electric blankets or filling hot water bottles. Never use a hot water bottle and an electric blanket together, as this is extremely dangerous and could give you an electric shock.

Set your thermostat to around 21ºC (70ºF) and heat all the rooms you use in the day.

If you can’t heat all your rooms make sure you keep your living room warm throughout the day and heat your bedroom before going to bed.

Set the timer on your heating to come on before you get up and switch off when you go to bed.

In very cold weather, rather than turn the thermostat up, set the heating to come on earlier so you won’t be cold while you wait for your home to heat up.

Try to keep a temperature of above 18°C (65°F) in your bedroom overnight.

If you use a fire or heater in your bedroom during winter, open the window or door a little at night for ventilation.

Wear plenty of thin layers, rather than one thick one.

Wear clothes made of wool, cotton, or fleecy synthetic fibres.

Stay warm in bed with bed socks, thermal underwear and a nightcap or headscarf.

Stock up on essentials, such as food, water, de-icer, warm spare clothes and a blanket.

Be a good neighbour and pass on warnings to those who may have missed the warnings, and check on the elderly and infirm.

A special request

Finally I have a Covid-19 related request to essential workers. Can I remind you all, especially people handling money in shops, to wear gloves, sanitise and wash your hands.

Over the last week I have observed people working in shops handling money, giving out change and not sanitising or wearing gloves for their own protection.

So please, can I remind everyone about the importance of wearing gloves to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Home Instead Senior Care, Marlinstown Office Park, Mullingar – 044 9385260;