Safe Room Temperature for Elderly People

Elderly woman adjusting thermostat
Last updated: 9/16/2023 

It’s tempting to turn down the thermostat to keep energy bills low, but is that wise? The young and the old may have trouble regulating their body temperature—meaning they could have trouble staying warm in winter and cool in summer. This is especially a concern for elderly individuals, as they can suffer serious health complications from peaks or drops in internal body temperature. Stay safe this winter by setting your smart thermostat or that of your loved ones to a temperature of 68 – 74 degrees Fahrenheit.

Why Is Room Temperature Important?

An appropriate room temperature will allow individuals to maintain a healthy body temperature. While 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit is commonly referred to as a “normal” internal temp, some variation is expected. Really, anything between 98.2 and 99.9 degrees can be considered normal. A body temperature below 98.2 degrees Fahrenheit is considered abnormal, and anything below 95 degrees Fahrenheit is a major cause for concern, as it indicates a risk of hypothermia. Keep your home at a safe temperature to help maintain a healthy body temperature.

What Is Hypothermia?

Hypothermia can be defined as the state of having an abnormally low body temperature—typically below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Generally associated with exposure to freezing water, hypothermia can set in quickly, without warning. But it may not have anything to do with exposure to wind and rain. Among the young and old, hypothermia can set in anytime, even in their relatively warm homes.

Dangerously low body temperatures can lead to serious health problems like heart attack, organ damage, and even death. Keeping the thermostat set to a safe temperature, between 68 and 74 degrees Fahrenheit, is the easiest way to safeguard against hypothermia.

What Other Steps Should Elderly Adults Take to Stay Warm and Healthy?

Outside of adjusting room temperature, there are many ways elderly individuals and their caregivers can safeguard against temperature-related health problems. These include:

  • If consuming alcohol, do so moderately. Alcoholic beverages can contribute to the loss of body heat.
  • Inspect the home’s insulation. Protect against drafts by adding door snakes or thermal curtains throughout the house.
  • Dress for the weather. Wear layers so you can adjust your outfit for any fluctuation in temperature.
  • Keep extra blankets on your bed, and wear warm pajamas to bed.
  • Eat small meals frequently throughout the day to keep your energy up and help maintain a healthy body temperature.
  • Believe in the buddy system. Check in with elderly friends and family regularly, in person or over the phone, to make sure their warm and safe throughout the winter.

Call Aire Serv for Expert Furnace, Heater, and Heat Pump Maintenance Services

You can’t rely on a thermostat if your heat source hasn’t been serviced and maintained. At Aire Serv, we recommend scheduling a yearly maintenance appointment to keep your furnace or heater working all winter long. Our Total Comfort Tune-Up includes lubrication of moving parts, thermostat calibration, tightening or replacing belts, and a professional amp-draw test. Don’t leave your or your loved one’s home temperature up to chance. Schedule an appointment online or contact your local Aire Serv to schedule a Total Comfort Tune-Up for your heating system.