The most ideal temperature for an elderly person is 68-70 degrees Fahrenheit. Any temperatures lower or higher than these are said to be unsafe.
However, this temperature may vary because of a number of factors such as the person’s weight, their own body temperature, and certain ailments. An elderly with thyroid problems or diabetes will tend to lose their body heat faster and are similarly not very responsive to heat changes. They take longer to notice that they are getting chilly. Also certain medicationscauses one to be dehydrated making their body temperatures drop.
In this article, we will discuss how to maintain the ideal room temperature for an elderly person to ensure that they are neither too cold or too warm.
Why is ideal temperature important for the elderly?
Ideal room temperature is important in maintaining their internal body temperature to keep them healthy. A temperature that is too high or too low can cause them serious health complications. Low temperatures can cause hypothermia leading to a heart attack, organ failure, or even death if not caught early.
As seniors age, they gradually start having trouble regulating their own body temperatures. Their response to temperature also becomes flawed. They could be seated in a cold room for long and not even realize that they are getting cold. This is especially the case for seniors with conditions such as Parkinson’s, dementia, and Alzheimer’s. This is why a caregiver needs to pay special attention to the room temperature at all times and more so during the winter and summer seasons.
Some of the ways to ensure that an elderly is in a room with ideal temperature include:
Monitoring the temperature
Yes, it may sound over the top but wouldn’t you rather know when the levels are dropping or rising to dangerous levels? It’s easy to get carried away and not even know how cold or hot it is getting. To monitor, place a thermometer or two in rooms where your loved one spends most time in. That would be the living room and the bedroom most certainly. Ensure that it is always in sight.
Ensuring that they Keep warm while in the house
Even in a warm room, a senior may still feel cold if not correctly dressed. During winter, ensure that your loved one is dressed warmly enough. Researchers advise that they dress in several layers of clothes as opposed to just a single thick cloth. This is because warm air gets trapped in between the layers maintaining the warmth on the body.
At all times, ensure they have socks on and a scarf. A lot of heat is lost through their feet and neck. If you can drape a big shawl over them the better. Always place one within their reach, either on the couch or on the bed so that they can easily get it whenever they start to feel cold.
Aside from dressing warmly, ensure that they eat and drink frequently throughout the day. This will keep their energies up and in turn maintain their body temperature. If the weather is too cold, serve them hot fluids like soups and teas. Ginger tea is a sure way to fire up the body. Similarly, serve them cool health drinks during the hot days.
Maintaining the ideal room temperature
To maintain the ideal room temperature, check if the house is well insulated so that no heat is escaping through the walls. Install a heating system and keep it at a set temperature to keep the room warm. You can turn it off during the warmer months to minimize costs.
To keep the heat indoors, draw curtains as soon it gets dark. Also, keep the curtains and windows closed when it’s very chilly to prevent cold air from getting in. Use heavy curtains for cold months and light curtains for hot months.
A lot of heat is usually lost through the spaces under the doors and around the windows. The solution to these is to apply new caulk on the cracks to close off those spaces. Also, if you have old rugs that you no longer use, you can use them to close up space under the doors during night time. You can check out other creative ways to block cold air from getting in through the windows and doors here.
Beware of the bedroom, for some weird reason, it is usually the coldest room in the house. From the floor to the beddings, everything is usually cold. If you can afford to get them electric blankets, the better. However, a hot water bottle can also be used to warm the beddings. You may need to show them how to safely refill the water bottles though.
As well, make use of carpets and rugs on the floor to keep the room warmer. Consider heavy woolen rugs if the room gets very cold.
While it’s very tempting to turn down the thermostat to keep energy bills down, it is costly and dangerous to your loved one in the long run. It is more important to ensure that your loved one stays in a room with an ideal temperature for their own good health.
If you are particular about minimizing costs, we suggest you look for efficient ways to maintain the heat within the house just like the ones we have talked about earlier without turning down the thermostat. Otherwise, ensure that your loved one’s room temperature is within 68-70 degrees Fahrenheit.
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