When we think about home safety for older adults, the thermostat setting does not usually come to mind. However, the reality is that our home temperature can impact the health of our older loved ones. As we get older, it can become more difficult for our bodies to regular their internal temperatures. Hence, we need to carefully consider the most ideal home temperature for our older loved ones to determine the right setting for their home.
How High Should the Heat Be?
Installing a proper heating system is crucial as the impaired blood circulation of older adults can make it tough for their bodies to keep warm naturally. During the cold months, it is recommended for the heat to be set to at least 68 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This can reduce the risk of hypothermia and other illnesses related to the cold. A warm home is also essential to ensure that older adults do not experience problems like joint and muscle pain. Some older adults may also feel most comfortable with 78 degrees Fahrenheit of heat. Without enough heat, older adults may get stiff muscles that can cause mobility problems.
What Is the Maximum AC Temperature?
Older adults tend to feel chilly as compared to feeling overheated. However, this does not mean that heat exhaustion can be completely ignored. If there is no air-conditioning, older adults may end up feeling dehydrated and becoming overheated during summer. This is when the heat waves strike and temperatures start to soar. It is crucial for you to ensure that your older loved ones stay adequately cool during these months. Set the air-conditioning system to no more than 78 degrees Fahrenheit which is both safe and comfortable for older adults.
Are Too high and Too Low Temperatures Dangerous?
Most guides to safe temperatures for older adults are mainly focused on the minimum need for heat or the maximum temperature setting for air-conditioning systems. However, it is equally crucial for us to realize that running the HVAC system excessively can also cause problems. HVAC systems alter humidity and this can cause extreme temperatures which in turn lead to dry indoor air. Air-conditioning temperatures lower than 70 degrees or heat over 80 degrees can cause older adults to feel uncomfortable or even suffer from dehydration.
How to Adjust the Temperature Without HVAC?
If you are concerned about how much it is going to cost when you run the HVAC system, there are alternatives that you can consider to keep your older loved ones safe and comfortable. You can install better insulation and eliminate air leaks around the house to help your older loved ones keep warm during winter. You can also run fans and block out the sun’s rays with blackout curtains to keep your home cool during summer. Make sure that your older loved ones are also dressed appropriately according to the season. These may not be a complete solution that can replace an HVAC system but they can help address your older loved ones’ concerns about having the HVAC system running for an extended period of time.