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Winter and older people

Winter can be hard for older people. If you know an older person, check on them regularly.

Keeping warm

It can be harder for older people to keep warm in winter.

Tips on keeping warm in winter


Hypothermia happens when your body temperature drops below 35 degrees Celsius.

Older people are at higher risk of hypothermia.

Urgent advice: Call 112 or 999 if someone has any of the signs of hypothermia:

  • shivering
  • pale, cold and dry skin – their lips and skin may be blue
  • slurred speech
  • slow breathing
  • tiredness or confusion

Services for older people

Here is a list of services that can help you to stay healthy and safe during winter.

Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels can provide hot meals if you are not able to make them for yourself. Ask your public health nurse (PHN) or GP for details of your local service.

Day services

Day services are places where you can spend the day in a warm environment. Your GP or PHN will know if there are any near you.

Home Support Services

Home Support Services can also help you with everyday tasks including:

  • getting in and out of bed
  • dressing and undressing
  • personal care such as showering and shaving

Learn more about Home Support Services


Isolation can be very difficult, especially in winter when it is dark.


ALONE are a service that support older people who are lonely.

Phone ALONE on 0818 222 024


Friends of the Elderly

Friends of the Elderly run a friendly call service.
To sign up, phone 01 873 1855.

Stay well in winter

Keep your vaccines up to date to prevent serious illness.

Book a COVID-19 vaccine booster if you are due one

Get your flu vaccine

Speak to your GP if you have never had a pneumococcal vaccine. It will prevent pneumonia. You only need to get it once.

How to keep well in winter

Preparing for bad weather

It's important to prepare for bad weather in winter.

Have extra food in case the weather makes it hard to go to the shop. It's good to have meals in your freezer that you can defrost, or tinned foods that keep for a long time.

Many supermarkets will deliver your groceries.

Make sure you have enough medicine in case you cannot go to the pharmacy.

Checking on older people

If you have family or neighbours who are older, make sure they are not alone.

You can:

  • check in on them in person
  • see if they need anything brought to them
  • phone them

It's especially important to check on them if there is bad weather coming. Make sure they have enough food and medicine.

Page last reviewed: 2 November 2022
Next review due: 2 November 2025