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How to Keep Warm and Well This Winter

Winter is always a challenging time to keep on top of our health and wellbeing and avoid seasonal colds and flu. It is especially difficult for people with dementia to do this and they may need support to ensure they remain warm, safe and well at this time of year.


Body temperature and dementia


The feeling of being too hot or cold can be uncomfortable at best, but for someone who is living with dementia, the impact can be even more severe.


The human brain is the control centre of all functional processes, including regulating body temperature.  As dementia affects the brain, sometimes people with the condition will not always be able to regulate their body temperature, either making them much more sensitive to the heat or cold, or they may not even realise that their body temperature is too high or low.


These issues can lead to serious health problems if left, but there are several ways in which you can help.


Staying warm


If you are a carer for someone who is living with dementia, or your loved one has dementia and is struggling with the cold, then they may not be able to identify or communicate that they are feeling cold so you will need to check visually and by touch if necessary.


Firstly, the obvious steps to keep warm are turning the heating up, keeping your main room at a comfortable temperature (at least 18˚ if you can) and putting down draft excluders at doors and windows. If you use hot water bottles or electric blankets, make sure that they are safe for the person using them. Ensure that your heating system is serviced, this will keep it running at maximum efficiency. With the current high fuel prices, it is important to check you are on the best tariff and if there any specific grants or benefits available to you. Speak to the Wayfinding team about the Citizens Advice home energy checks for more information.


Warm food and drinks can help raise the body temperature. In addition, regular snacks throughout the day can help to keep people warm. Focus on making the drinks warm, but not too hot. Avoid boiling drinks, as people living with dementia are sometimes unable to sense if something is too hot and could be at risk of burns. Staying hydrated is also an important part of staying well.


Moving around can help you to keep warm and for those who might be less mobile, this can involve as little as a 5-minute walk or getting up out of a chair every 30 - 60 minutes and moving to another room. Alternatively, seated chair exercise such as marching on the spot can also raise body temperature for those less mobile.


Dressing in layers can make a difference to quickly either reduce a person’s body temperature or increase it. Buy clothes which are easy to remove and put on - this will help to avoid a person getting too cold or overheating. For someone who is living with dementia, recognising that they are too hot can be as difficult as a knowing that they are cold. Look out for signs that the person is struggling with the heat, if they are sweating excessively, or acting more tired and dizzy than usual.



Staying Well In The Winter


As well as staying warm this winter there are other things you can do at home to manage your winter wellness.


  • If you have been invited to do so, make sure you take up any flu, COVID or other vaccinations.

  • Stock up your medicine cabinet so you can self-treat coughs, colds and minor injuries. Keep a home remedies pack ready with basics such as a thermometer, paracetamol and ibuprofen (always check with the pharmacy if you are unsure if these are safe for you). Make sure medication is in date. Cold and cough remedies such as throat lozenges, as well as lemon juice & honey for warm drinks are also good to have to hand.

  • A basic First Aid Kit with cleaning wipes, plasters and bandages is also useful.

  • If you are unwell, then ask your pharmacy for advice on common ailments. They should be your first port of call, before the GP or 111.


If you need any help or advice on living with dementia and the support which is available to you, then get in touch with a member of our Wayfinding team today who can help and guide you on your dementia journey. Just call 01243 888691 or email



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