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Keeping Well and Warm

Eating well

Food helps to keep you warm.

  • Eat at least one hot meal a day.
  • Have plenty of hot drinks throughout the day and one before bedtime.
  • Eat fresh fruit and vegetables every day.
  • Keep a supply of basic food for the days when you cannot get out to the shops or do not feel like cooking.
  • When making dinner, cook some extra food which you can freeze for another meal.
  • Tinned or frozen foods and packets of soup are healthy options to keep in stock.


TIP: Check with your local supermarket to see if it can deliver your groceries.

TIP: If you have arthritis or limited power in your hands, make sure you have a tin opener which is easy to use.

couple in kitchen having lunch

Meals on wheels

If you are not able to cook for yourself, you may be able to get a hot meal through the Meals on Wheels service. This service is available in lots of areas around the country. Ask your public health nurse or family doctor (GP) for details of your local service. There is a small charge for Meals on Wheels.

There may be alternative meal delivery services in your area. You can find these in the Golden Pages phone directory or by searching the internet. Your local supermarket or restaurant may also deliver meals or prepare them for collection.

Keeping active

It is important to keep as active as you can, although this may depend on your fitness level. Moving around helps keep you warm. You can keep active in many ways.

  • Spread your household chores throughout the day so you can switch between rest and activity.
  • Walk outside whenever you can. If there is snow or ice, make sure you wear shoes or boots which won’t slip and which give you good support. You may need to use ice grips on your shoes or boots. You can get these in many department stores.
  • Walk around inside your home.
  • If you have difficulty walking or moving your arms and legs, wiggle your fingers and toes while you are sitting.
  • Always wear comfortable shoes with good grips to avoid slips, trips and falls. Most broken bones happen from a fall. This is why preventing falls is so important.

Keeping warm

  • Keep the rooms you spend most of your time in warm.
  • Wear several layers of light clothes instead of one thick layer.
  • Wear clothes made from wool, cotton or fleecy synthetic fibres.
  • Keep your head, hands and feet warm and cosy.
  • Wear thermal underwear during the winter.
  • In very cold weather:
    • put extra blankets or duvets on your bed;
    • wear warm pyjamas or night dress;
    • wear bed socks and a night cap;
    • keep a flask with a hot drink by your bed.

Keeping your home warm

Use your heating system sensibly to make sure your home, particularly the rooms where you spend most of your time, is warm and comfortable. If you can, set your heating timer to turn on the heating before you get up and turn it off when you go to bed. If you’re not sure how to set the timer, ask a family member or friend to help.

Use the temperature card which came with this booklet to make sure your house is warm enough. If the temperature falls below 16ºC, you could be at risk of hypothermia. Hypothermia is when your body gets too cold to function properly.

  • Keep your living room warm throughout the day. Set your heating to 21ºC if you are active or 24ºC if you are not able to move around.
  • Only heat rooms when you use them. Close doors to separate heated areas from unheated areas of your home.
  • Don’t open windows if your home is too warm. Instead, turn down your thermostat to lower the heat.
  • Draw your curtains early in the evening but don’t let curtains or furniture block heat from radiators.


Note: Make sure your air vents are not blocked, especially in rooms where there is a (natural) gas or oil boiler, solid fuel fire or standalone gas heater. Blocked air vents can allow dangerous levels of a gas called carbon monoxide to build up.

Severe weather

Recent winters in Ireland have been severe with snow, ice and freezing temperatures lasting for several weeks. Here are some tips to help you get through the coming winter safely.

  • Listen to the weather forecasts.
  • Stay indoors if possible when the weather is bad.
  • Be extra careful if you must walk on icy paths or roads.
  • Buy salt to put on the footpaths near your home. Salt helps to melt the ice.
  • Keep in contact with your friends, family and neighbours.
  • Before winter sets in, get your boiler and pipes checked by a qualified plumber and keep their phone number handy in case of heating or plumbing problems. If you use natural gas, always use a Registered Gas Installer.
  • Try to keep some money for extra fuel. Or, if you feel you won’t have enough money for heating, contact the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) which can help you plan a budget.
  • Buy extra groceries when you do your weekly shopping in case you can’t get back to the shop for a while because of bad weather.


Note: More useful information is available at