According to the results of the recent census, Worthing has the highest proportion of people aged 85 and over in England.

There are also high elderly populations in Eastbourne, parts of Brighton and Hove and throughout the county.

This means there is a lot of demand for health services and officials are constantly working on campaigns aimed at offering a range of advice and information to older people.

TV presenter Judith Chalmers was in Worthing recently to meet the town's older residents. She was promoting an awareness campaign for a UK scheme which gives grants to people on low incomes to improve the heating in their homes.

Money can be used to upgrade insulation and sometimes new central heating systems are installed.

The cold weather brings increased risks for older people. With slippery pavements potential hazards, they are less inclined to venture outside and feelings of isolation or depression can set in.

The health organisation Bupa has compiled some health advice to help keep older people safe, warm and well during the cold winter months.

Clive Bowman, Bupa's care services medical director in Brighton, said: It is essential that everybody, particularly older people, keep themselves and their homes warm during the winter months.

Taking a few precautions to stay healthy and safe will help reduce the number of older people who become ill each winter.

It is also very important to check on elderly parents, relatives and neighbours during cold weather.

Bupa's health advice is obvious and simple and if as many people as possible follow it, fewer will become sick or injured.

If you are outside in the cold, wrap up warm and wear several layers of loosefitting, lightweight clothing.

Layers keep the cold out by allowing air to circulate and layers can easily be put on and taken off.

Wear a hat as you lose most of your body heat from your head. Remember that trapped, insulating air, warmed by body heat, is good protection from the cold.

Make sure your shoes are sturdy for maximum grip.

You can also try putting insoles in your shoes to keep out chills. If it's icy outside, sprinkle salt on paths and driveways to make them less slippery.

It is important to keep your house warm. Room temperatures should be around 21C or 70F. Hang a thermometer on a wall to keep check.

Have your gas and electrical appliances checked regularly.

If you are more than 60 years old, contact your gas company for a free gas safety check.

With the heating on and extra electrical appliances such as electric blankets being used, it is important to check your smoke detectors.

Buy a spare set of batteries just in case they run down.

Eat at least one hot meal a day and drink plenty of warm cups of tea, coffee or hot chocolate.

If you are less mobile than you used to be, try to make things easier and safer for yourself in the kitchen.

Keep active. Exercise will help you both physically and mentally. It will also help keep you warm, even if you only walk up and down the stairs.

If you are over 65 years of age or have a long-term illness, you are entitled to a free winter flu vaccination.

If you haven't already done so, contact your local GP surgery to arrange an appointment. Those eligible include people living in a nursing or residential home, people with respiratory, heart or kidney disease, people with diabetes and those with weakened immune systems such as those receiving chemotherapy or who have Aids.

The at-risk category also includes people with asthma.

FOR further information and advice on staying healthy and warm this winter, visit, call Age Concern England on 0800 009966 or call the Government's Winter Warmth Advice Line on 0800 085 7000.