Why is ideal temperature important for the elderly?
The ideal temperature in the house should be between 68 and 73 degrees Fahrenheit. The main reasons for this are…
The elderly often have a hard time coping with temperature changes. Their (old) body simply becomes less effective at controlling the body temperature.
The elderly are more sensitive to the cold compared to younger individuals. Elderly people tend to avoid going out of the house in winter.
Keeping a room temperature between 68 and 73 degrees Fahrenheit may seem very hot to some of you, but keep in mind that the elderly usually sleep less soundly than younger adults.
Monitoring the temperature
One thing that many people do not realize is that there is a direct correlation between the temperature in your house and your health. When it’s very cold for example, your body will be working hard to keep you warm. Should this become too much load for your body to bear, there is a good chance that you will catch the flu. It’s therefore up to you to make sure that the room temperature is just right. Then again, what is the right temperature?
The truth is that different people define the ideal room temperature differently. Some will feel more comfortable when the temperature is a little bit higher than others. Generally speaking, however, the ideal room temperature is around 20 degrees celsius.
Ensuring that they Keep warm while in the house
Winter has set in, and it’s officially cold outside. The heating system has been turned on, but your elderly parents still complain that they’re freezing. Then, the temperature rises in the house, and they complain about sweating and feeling too hot. What gives?
As we get older, our body’s ability to regulate temperature is impaired due to hormone changes and reduced blood flow. That means your parents may not need as much (or as little) heat or cooling as before. Additionally, people with Alzheimer’s disease cannot recognize that they’re cold and are at an increased risk of developing hypothermia. So it’s important that their environment is both warm enough to prevent undue stress and cold enough to prevent serious hypothermia.
So how do you create a healthy indoor climate for your parents? While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, here are some indoor climate tips to optimize their comfort as the temperature drops and while winter is in full swing.
Maintaining the ideal room temperature
It is recommended that the room temperature should be between 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit (between 18-21 degrees Celsius).
Observation of elderly patients at home and in general hospitals have shown that most elderly people tolerate cold temperatures better than hot ones. They tend to become dangerously dehydrated at temperatures higher than 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Hyperthermia becomes more common with age.
Exposure to cold can also be beneficial because it increases the amount of blood that flows to the surface of the skin. The body temperature is regulated by a large part of the brain that is influenced by the blood coming from the downstairs area, the perineum. The amount of blood that flows in the perineum area determines body temperature. This is why placing an elderly person in a cold bath to lower temperature is very dangerous and could cause sudden death.
There are many factors that contribute to a person's ideal room temperature – their personality, their lifestyle, their health, and the weather. Being in tune with these factors allows you to keep your elderly loved one as comfortable as possible and maintain their health.
Ideally, the temperature should not be too hot nor too cold.
As a general rule of thumb, keep the temperature in the more comfortable degree. For example, if it’s between 70 and 80 degrees F outside, keep the temperature at 75 degrees F inside.
Of course, if the elderly person is particularly sensitive to heat or cold, try to maintain a temperature that is within their comfort level.