Caring during the winter months

4th January 23

Caring during winterCaring during winter can bring about different issues for you and the person you look after. For example, you may be affected by:

  • Difficulties to attend medical appointments due to weather conditions. In extreme weather conditions services you rely on may be cancelled.
  • Feeling more isolated if you tend not to visit family, friends or go out so much in the winter.
  • Financial pressures due to increased energy charges and the cost of living crisis.

There are steps you can take to help with this, and to know where the right support is available if you need it. And please do contact us if you are in need of additional support. We will help you identify the most appropriate help and support for you. 

Plan ahead – and have an emergency plan

Thinking ahead and planning can make life easier for you and the person you look after.

Talk to family and friends about your plans, and raise any worries or concerns you have with them. Manage the expectations of family and friends, be realistic about what is doable or desirable for you and the person you care for, and chat through how certain parts of your plans may work. Say what you and the person you care for are likely to find helpful and useful, and what may be challenging.

Having an emergency plan in place for what would happen if something happened meaning you could not carry out your caring responsibilities is important at all times of year. If you do not have one in place this is something you can do. These services are free.

Asking for help and support

Talk to your family and friends. See what opportunities there are for you to have a break, or share caring responsibilities at times.

People may not be aware of what is involved in your caring role and its demands until you explain the situation to them. Particularly if they have not seen you or the person you care for recently, or there have been changes in your situation.

You may be able to use your carer personal budget to pay for a break (including homecare) or to be able to take a carer’s break. It is best to plan this in advance. Please contact us to find out more about what can be available to you.

Help getting to your medical appointments

If you have a medical appointment of your own and are struggling to attend it, help is available. You can contact us for support, including making sure the person you look after is cared for while you are at your appointment.

Stay connected with support and other carers

We have a range of activities available to you and these can help you to be in contact with other carers.

You can see more about our groups for carers at

You can also contact us to find out more about other opportunities available to you and see our directory at which has details of a range of organisations and services that can help you.

Staying warm

NHS advice suggests that when the weather drops below 8°C, some people are at increased risk of physical and mental health conditions; such as heart attack, stroke, pneumonia and depression. There is substantial evidence of the detrimental impact of fuel poverty on the physical and mental health of residents.

With colder weather, having the right advice and support for staying warm is important. We recently held an online session on keeping warm and safe where carers learned more about the links between warmth and health, advice on how to save energy and money this winter and help they may be entitled to and how to access it. If you would like to know more, please contact us.

Taking care of your mental health and wellbeing

This time of year can be particularly demanding and you may benefit from support with your mental health, or from accessing support for the person you care for. Support is available for both of you.

For urgent help with mental health call the NHS on 111 and choose option 2.

You can talk to Samaritans anytime on 116 123, their support is not just for those who are feeling suicidal. If you are under 19 you can contact Childline about anything. Whatever your worry, it is better out than in. Call 0800 1111

Qwell offers online counselling, wellbeing support and self-help resources for adults in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire – see Young people can also visit

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust have resources about mental health conditions available at

If you are in Norfolk and feeling stressed, anxious, low or depressed then WellbeingNandS are available to help. You can visit their website at or call their non-emergency number of 0300 123 1503

Norfolk and Waveney Mind have a range of support and resources available to help whether you are managing your own mental health problem or supporting someone else with theirs. See or call 0300 330 5488

Emergency numbers

If you need help with your care or need to report an adult at risk of harm in Cambridgeshire or Peterborough you should call 01733 234724

In an emergency call 999

If you need help with your care or need to report an adult at risk of harm in Norfolk you can contact Norfolk County Council by phone or text relay.

  • Telephone: 0344 800 8020 – this number is open 24-hours a day.
  • Text relay: 18001 0344 800 8020 – for people with hearing or speech impairments.

In an emergency call 999