More often, seniors prefer to remain in their homes as they age. According to the AARP, 90% of seniors would prefer to live at home for as long as they can. The National Institute on Aging refers to this as "aging in place." For seniors, continuing to live at home offers many benefits. According to Visiting Angels, one of the nation's largest providers of in-home care for senior adults, aging in place improves quality of life for seniors, which in turn can reduce stress and depression, improve physical health and reduce their chance of contracting serious illnesses that are common in nursing facilities.
At the same time, it can be stressful for adult children and caregivers responsible for elderly parents living alone at home. If you care for an elderly parent who is living alone, making sure they are comfortable and safe is probably one of your highest priorities. Maintaining indoor air quality and temperature is one way you can help ensure that your loved ones remain healthy and comfortable.
Why Room Temperature Is Important
According to the National Institute on Aging, hypothermia is a real danger to the elderly. While we most often think of hypothermia as a problem that happens outdoors, NIA notes that living in a cold house can cause hypothermia, which can result in serious health problems including a heart attack, liver damage, and kidney problems.
Room temperature is especially important at night when the temperature has a major effect on sleep, and getting a good night's sleep is important to your health. More importantly, a few hours of sleeping in a cold bedroom can cause hypothermia, especially in someone who is already ill, or dealing with chronic health problems. This can be a particular danger for seniors living alone because there is no one else in the house to feel the temperature dropping — they may not be able to communicate (or move to a warmer location) if temperatures reach dangerous levels. Luckily, technology exists that allows you to monitor room temperature and air quality, even if you're halfway around the world.
The Ideal Room Temperature for Elderly People
While finding the ideal room temperature is partly a matter of personal preference, there are some important guidelines. NIA suggests keeping the thermostat set between 68 F and 70 F at all times.
What Temperature Is Too Cold for a House?
Any room below 65 F is dangerous, especially if it persists for more than a few hours. Again, this is most important in the bedroom, because sleeping people don't move around enough to raise their body temperature.
Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Temperature for Elderly Living Alone
One of the most important things you can do for your aging parent is to ensure that their home is at a safe temperature at all times. AcuRite home sensors not only help you monitor room temperatures in all areas of the house, but they can also alert you to other indoor air quality issues, such as low humidity and airflow.
Place Sensors Strategically
Start by placing sensors strategically around the home. You don't need a sensor in every room, but there should be one in the sleeping area, and in the rooms that are frequently occupied — the kitchen and living area, for example. This blog post offers more detailed advice on how to use AcuRite sensors most effectively in your home.
Monitor Conditions Remotely
Combine sensors with My AcuRite remote home monitoring so that you can check in on the temperature in your parents' home no matter where you are. My AcuRite allows you to set up alerts to let you know whenever conditions change, or when the temperature falls outside the range you set in the app.
Keep an Eye on Humidity
Humidity also affects temperature and indoor air quality. The EPA recommends keeping indoor humidity between 30% and 60%. In cold weather, dry air can make it easier for allergens to hang in the air. Summer's humidity can contribute to the growth of mold, which can cause other health problems. This blog post offers tips on maintaining indoor air quality in more detail.
Living independently offers many important benefits for seniors, but it also comes with many concerns for their caregivers. A good home monitoring solution can not only help ease your mind but also gives you the tools you need to help your aging loved ones remain in their homes for as long as possible.