Keeping The Right Temperature In The Changes In Seasons
One of the principal reasons why temperature control for older people becomes harder is down to the fact that ageing blood vessels carry less oxygen around the body. Blood becomes stickier and thicker, so the body’s circulatory system becomes compromised. Coupled with the fact that older people tend to have less protective body fat beneath their skin, this leaves them vulnerable to feelings of cold.
Keeping warm is a major priority when the temperature drops, so make sure that your older relative has plenty of warm layers, preferably made from wool, as these have exceptionally good thermal properties. Warm socks, sheepskin slippers and heated throws and blankets can all help when it comes to keeping the right temperature for older people in cold weather.
Make sure that your loved one’s central heating system is in good order before the cold weather hits, and look into government grants for insulation as well as the government’s Cold Weather Payment, if applicable.
Keeping Cool in Hot Weather
Excessive heat can be just as harmful as the cold weather for older people. Our biological systems cease to operate as effectively as we age, making us more susceptible to overheating, which could have fatal consequences. For older people with complex illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s, it’s especially important to keep them at the appropriate temperature, as your loved one may not recognise that they are becoming overheated and may neglect to open windows or turn heating systems off, thereby exacerbating the situation.
Keep in mind that older people lose their ability to sweat effectively, which is the body’s principal method of cooling itself in hot weather. This leaves them susceptible to overheating and heat stroke, which is a particularly serious condition. For this reason, it’s important to ensure that your loved one is dressed appropriately, preferably in cool cotton layers, which will help to keep them feeling fresh.
Hydration is vital, so make sure that your loved one drinks plenty of fluids, and if you’re out and about, make sure that you have a ready supply of cooling drinks to hand. Try to keep in the shade as much as possible, and invest in a good sunhat, sun cream and perhaps a parasol to keep your loved one out of direct sunlight.
In the home, keeping blinds and curtains closed can limit the impact of a hot day, whilst installing fans or even an air-conditioning unit can be a great help – but make sure that the temperature doesn’t then go too far the other way and cause your loved one to become cold. A good way of keeping the right temperature for older people is to install an intelligent thermostat – this monitors the outside temperature and adjusts the temperature inside the home accordingly.