Too Hot, Too Cold — What Room Temperature Is Just Right for the Elderly?
Have you walked into the home of your elderly parents or another relative and been surprised by how warm it was? You’re not alone.
Finding and maintaining a safe household temperature for your elderly loved one is essential. Learn here how to find and maintain this temperature.
In this article, we will discuss:
- The ideal room temperature for elderly people
- Tips for maintaining the right room temperature for elderly people
- And more
Table of Contents
What Is the Ideal Room Temperature for an Elderly Person?
Research has shown that the average and safe room temperature for older adults is around 78 degrees. To prevent an elderly adult from becoming too cold, it is recommended that the room temperature never falls below 65 degrees.
As long as the room is between 65 and 78 degrees, the ideal temperature depends on personal taste. Some may want to control their utility bill by keeping their home at 68 degrees and dressing in layers. Others will want the house to be around 78 degrees.
What Room Temperature Is Too Hot for Elderly Individuals?
Are you wondering, “What temperature is dangerous for my elderly loved one?” Research indicates any temperature above 80 degrees is too hot for the elderly.
A senior’s safety is compromised when they get too hot, and older adults are at risk for developing heat-related illnesses due to:
- Aging-related changes in their bodies
- Chronic health problems; and
Elderly adults may have difficulty maintaining proper hydration, and when combined with warmer room temperatures, dehydration may occur.
Dehydration can cause these signs and symptoms:
- Heavy sweating
- Cold and pale skin
- Clammy skin
- Too fast or too weak pulse
- Muscle cramps
Dehydration is common among older adults, often without their caregivers or themselves realizing it. This is why Senior Services of America has procedures to monitor and treat dehydration. Are you interested in learning more about the services we provide? Find your nearest community today.
What Room Temperature Is Too Cold for the Elderly?
According to research, the room temp should never drop below 65 degrees.
Therefore, the minimum safe temperature for seniors is generally regarded to be 65 degrees.
Rooms lower than 65 degrees won’t only affect muscle strength and mobility.
There may also be an increased risk of:
- Kidney problems
- Liver damage; or
- Heart attack
Additional Reasons It’s Important to Keep the Right Room Temperature for the Elderly
When it comes to the elderly, maintaining proper indoor temperatures isn’t just a matter of comfort — it is a matter of health as well.
#1: Elderly Individuals Have a Higher Risk for Hypothermia
A senior’s primary concern when it comes to the temperature in the room is avoiding hypothermia, as the body temperature of the elderly is delicate.
Hypothermia is much easier to contract in older people because of their difficulty maintaining body heat.
Hypothermia is generally defined as having a core body temperature below 95 degrees. This can occur when the external environment becomes too cold or when the body’s heat production decreases.
Older adults are more prone to hypothermia since the body’s response to cold can be compromised by medical conditions, such as diabetes, and by taking some medicines, including over-the-counter cold remedies.
Even a slight drop in temperature can trigger hypothermia in older adults.
#2: Room Temperature Can Affect Sleep
The temperature of your room is critical at night when the temperature affects your sleep, and good sleep is crucial to your health.
In addition, someone who is already ill or dealing with chronic health problems may suffer hypothermia if they spend a few hours in a cold room.
A temperature in a room below 65 degrees can be dangerous — especially if it persists for several hours.
Please note that the bedroom temperature for elderly adults is most important since sleeping people don’t move around enough to raise their body temperature.
#3: Some Elderly People Are Unable to Communicate When They Feel Hot or Cold
Communication problems can become more common with age.
For example, seniors often develop difficulties speaking, listening, and processing information as they age, which may affect their ability to communicate.
These difficulties can be due to:
- Impaired hearing
- Neurological conditions; or
- Effects of brain injuries
Since your loved one may not be able to communicate whether they feel hot or cold, monitoring the room temperature is essential to ensure they are comfortable and protected.
5 Tips for Maintaining a Safe Room Temperature for the Elderly
The following tips can help you maintain a constant and safe indoor temperature for your loved ones.
#1: Double-Check Insulation
Home insulation provides resistance to heat flow and lowers cooling and heating costs. By insulating your home correctly, you not only save money on heating and cooling, but you also increase your or your loved one’s comfort.
Without sufficient insulation, heat can easily be lost through:
- Doors; and
Ensure there is sufficient insulation throughout the house so heat can’t escape and make it challenging to maintain proper room temperature — leading to health concerns for the elderly.
#2: Check for Drafts
There’s a problem if you turn the thermostat up and don’t feel any heat.
A home with…
- Old windows
- Worn doors; or
- Poorly installed outlet covers
… invites in frigid winter air
Make sure windows and doors are sealed in your loved one’s home. If you notice significant cracks around windows and doors, it may be time to apply new caulk or weatherstripping.
Some may find it helpful to keep blinds and curtains closed to help trap heat in, or even roll a towel and place it at the bottom of the door to prevent drafts.
#3: Monitor Room Temperature Remotely
Some smart ACs have capabilities allowing you to monitor and adjust temperatures remotely.
Unlike conventional air conditioners, smart air conditioners allow you to control your home temperature remotely via your smartphone. You can manage their functionality through an app on your smartphone or tablet. Additionally, they can be connected to smart home systems or voice assistants.
With a system like this, you can ensure your loved one’s home is properly cooled and heated. You will also be alerted if AC stops working for any reason.
#4: Keep an Eye on Humidity Levels
Humidity also affects temperature and indoor air quality. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends keeping indoor humidity between 30% and 60%.
The easiest way to measure your indoor humidity level is by using a hygrometer — a device that serves as an indoor thermometer and humidity monitor.
In cold weather, dry air makes it easier for allergens to hang in the air.
A humid summer can encourage mold growth, which can lead to other health problems.
Five ways to control indoor humidity levels are:
- Use dehumidifiers — These tools can effectively adjust indoor humidity levels.
- Keep your home clean — It is recommended to use a vacuum with a HEPA filter, mop hard floors, and place floor mats by the door to minimize dirt entering the house. Ultimately, this will help reduce allergens.
- Make sure your home is well ventilated — Bringing in fresh outdoor air can reduce the concentration of indoor pollutants if the temperature and humidity outdoors are conducive to good indoor conditions.
- Identify and mitigate potential sources of indoor air pollution — Inspecting stoves, replacing furnace filters, etc., should be done regularly.
- Grow indoor plants — Plants can serve as natural air purifiers, allowing you to breathe easier.
#5: Check In Regularly
Make sure to stop in and check on older adults in your life as often as possible — this is especially important when the weather is extremely hot or cold.
If you live too far away to spend time with your elderly family and friends, contact a neighbor or family friend who can check in, especially after a snowstorm or power outage.
Senior Services of America: A Safe Option for Senior Independent and Assisted Living
Founded in 2000, Senior Services of America manages and operates senior housing communities throughout the United States.
In addition to providing a comprehensive health and wellness program, we also support each resident’s continued independence and dignity. We strive to provide our residents with a high level of service throughout their lives.
We work closely with industry partners such as hospices and home health agencies to extend our services.
Are you interested in learning more? Please find your nearest community today.