Winter sunshine is always welcome during the shorter days but though beautiful to look at often means it’s frosty, icy underfoot and cold. This poses difficulties for many people whether it be heating the home, risking falls by going out to the shops or being lonely because they stay inside. But where can people go for help?
Here in Leeds there is Home Plus – a new service aimed at helping people maintain their independence through improving health at home, helping to prevent falls and cold related health conditions.
So if you know someone who may be at serious risk of falls, struggling to heat their home or pay bills or need support with hazard repairs, Home Plus is there to help.
The service is delivered by Care & Repair Leeds in partnership with Groundwork Leeds and Age UK Leeds.
Cold homes and health
Living in a cold and damp home is bad for your health and wellbeing and makes existing health problems worse.
Cold homes can cause high blood pressure and even heart attacks and pneumonia. Being stuck at home can also lead to social isolation, loss of sleep, stress and mental illness.
People with existing health conditions such as heart or lung problems, asthma, diabetes, arthritis, depression and anxiety are especially vulnerable to the cold. And the risks are even higher for people with certain disabilities, young children and frail elderly people.
Cold homes can also suffer from damp and mould issues which can make all of this worse.
What can Home Plus do?
The Lewis family were all able to benefit from the Home Plus service.
Mrs Lewis suffers from epilepsy, depression and high blood pressure. Her daughter, Anne, has asthma and uses inhalers and her son, Jamie has recovered from a treatment for neuroblastoma, including chemotherapy. He still has yearly check-ups, and although the treatment has worked they are always mindful of his health. Both children are of primary school age.
Home Plus were able to help the Lewis family successfully apply for financial help to fund a replacement boiler. They can now enjoy a warm and cosy Christmas without having to worry about their boiler breaking down.
How cold is too cold?
If you have a central heating system, you may also have a room thermostat to monitor and control the temperature in your home – it sends a signal to the boiler telling it to switch off when the house is warm enough. It’s usually found in a hallway or sitting room. Home Plus staff can help people get their central heating working properly, advise on how to keep warm and help switch suppliers if necessary.
The thermometer above displays the ideal temperatures for your health and your home:
17-19ºC is comfortable for healthy and active people, but not warm enough for the less mobile.
20-23ºC is an ideal living-room temperature for most people; other rooms don’t need to be so warm.
Avoid rooms that you use regularly, from getting any colder than 16 degrees or warmer than 24 degrees, if at all possible.
Here’s some Home Plus winter warm-up tips for cold weather:
- Ensure you know how to use your central heating system and thermostat. Set your heating to come on just before you get up and switch off just before you go to bed. If it’s very cold, set it to stay on longer, rather than turning the thermostat up.
- Close the curtains when it’s getting dark. Tuck them behind the radiator and shut the doors to rooms you use most to keep the heat in.
- Stay warm with a hot water bottle or electric blanket – but don’t use both at the same time.
- Have regular hot drinks and eat at least one hot meal a day if possible. Eating regularly helps keep energy levels up during winter.
- Keep a supply of gravel for slippery steps and pathways
- Always turn on lights if getting up during the nightEnsure you have a carbon monoxide detector and smoke alarms fitted
What Home Plus can offer you:
- help to identify repairs, provide help with hazard repairs and can support you in reporting housing repairs to your housing provider.
- benefits advice and help to access welfare benefits
- service and repair heating appliances for home owners
- help switching from a current energy supplier, give energy efficiency advice and fit draught proofing devices.
- provide rails and equipment to reduce and prevent falls within the home.
For Further information and qualifying criteria please phone 0113 2406009 or email firstname.lastname@example.org