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Keeping warm in cold weather

We reveal our top tips to help you stay warm and comfortable during periods of cold weather.
3 min read
In this article
How to keep warm indoors Heating the home Dealing with heating costs
How to keep warm if you use a wheelchair

How to keep warm indoors

Low temperatures can cause health problems for older people. Here are a few quick ways to stay warm at home during colder months:

  • Wear thick and comfortable clothing. Woolen clothes are useful for winter as they keep in warmth, whereas cotton garments provide better ventilation. Similarly, when it comes to bedding, wool duvets are usually best for staying warm during the night.
  • Sheepskin slippers or bootees are great for keeping feet warm and comfortable.
  • ‘Snugs’ are soft, ergonomically designed pillows that fit around the body, providing extra comfort and warmth when sitting or lying down. Heated throws are a good option to use on the sofa – choose one with easy-to-use controls.
  • Consider investing in heated bedding, including electric under-blankets or toppers, that fit over the mattress; or electric over-blankets, which lie over the top of the duvet. Read the Which? Home & garden guide on how to buy the best electric blanket for information on which type to buy, and details about useful features.
  • Heated chair pads provide comfort and even gently massage your lower back. This can be particularly useful if you have limited mobility and tend to sit in the same position for long periods of time.

Heating the home

As we get older, changes in our bodies can make us feel colder more often, and means we're more likely to develop health problems caused by cold weather.


To help you feel warm at home, it's important that the property is well insulated. Taking steps to improve insulation can significantly decrease energy bills, and also reduce the impact on the environment.


Read more advice on how to avoid becoming cold, with information about boiler controls and thermostats. Also, is it worth considering a smart thermostat?



Dealing with heating costs


Often, the cost of heating can be a key issue for older people. The Winter Fuel Payment is a government grant of £100–£300, available to older people to help with heating bills. This grant can make a lot of difference, but particularly in winter, when it often costs more to heat a property.


Find out whether you're eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment.


You should also consider switching your energy provider – you can save hundreds of pounds over a year by doing so. Use our Which? Switch service to help us find you the cheapest energy deal.

Should I buy an electric heater?

Central heating can provide the best coverage throughout the home, but you could also consider buying a portable fan heater to maintain the temperature in certain rooms.


If you do decide to buy a heater, pick one that's easy to use and manage. Try to avoid heaters with complicated controls, and always make sure you can reach the dial or remote comfortably. For example, if you usually use a wheelchair, it's important that the controls are at a suitable height.

  • How to buy the best electric heater – this Which? Home & garden article covers how much you need to spend, useful heater features, whether a electric heater can help reduce your energy bills, and more.


Please bear in mind that heaters should never be covered up, and they may not be appropriate for people living with dementia because they can present a fire hazard if the unit is left on for an extended period of time.

Receive expert guidance on caring for older people. Our emails are free and you can stop them any time.

How to keep warm if you use a wheelchair


If you are a wheelchair user, keeping warm when sitting outdoors in cold weather can be particularly challenging. Read our guide to using a wheelchair at home and while out and about - this includes tips on keeping warm and dry when outdoors with a wheelchair.


Further reading

Bedroom safety

Find out about useful equipment to help you get into and out of bed, plus tips on checking a bed is the right height.

Home care providers

Home care services can be provided by a range of organisations or even private individuals.

Last updated: 26 Mar 2019