What Is a Safe Home Temperature for Seniors? (2023)

For seniors and family caregivers, the winter months can offer beauty, peace, and tranquility — as well as some major challenges. On the one hand, it can be cozy to watch snow fall outside through a window, or gather together with friends and family to celebrate during the holiday season. On the other hand, the winter months can pose serious health challenges for seniors, even for those older adults who prefer to stay indoors.

This winter, remember that cold weather safety doesn’t stop and start at the front door! It’s important to make sure the seniors in your life are able to stay safe, healthy, and comfortable, both indoors and out.

In particular, this means finding and maintaining a household temperature that is going to be safe for your elderly loved one.

If you’ve spent any amount of time caring for an older adult, you may have experienced the unique feeling of walking into a room that is positively frigid, or swelteringly hot. Seniors can have trouble regulating their body temperatures and responding to changing conditions — and spending too much time in a location that is too hot or too cold can have an impact on your loved one’s health and well-being.

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What’s a healthy household temperature for seniors, and what other steps can you take to help make sure your eldely loved one is safe and comfortable throughout the frosty winter months? Let’s explore these important wintertime FAQs:

Why Staying Warm Is So Important for the Elderly

As the National Institute on Aging (NIA) explains:

“Older adults can lose body heat fast—faster than when they were young. Changes in your body that come with aging can make it harder for you to be aware of getting cold. A big chill can turn into a dangerous problem before an older person even knows what’s happening.”

Chronic conditions like diabetes or thyroid problems can make it harder for seniors to maintain a healthy body temperature. Many seniors also take medication that can lead to dehydration, making it harder to stay warm. In other cases, older adults may be dealing with mobility loss or memory problems, which can make it harder to take action if they’re starting to feel uncomfortable.

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As a result, many older adults may set their thermostat as low as possible to save energy and money, without realizing just how much of an effect this may have on their health.

For example? One prominent European study has suggested that living in cold conditions can put seniors at increased risk of suffering a fall or accident.

What’s more, older adults are particularly susceptible to hypothermia, which occurs when a person’s body temperature drops too low. Generally, hypothermia is said to set in when a person’s body temperature is 95 degrees or lower. Hypothermia can lead to frightening short-term side effects, including shivering, cold extremities, mood swings, loss of energy, and difficulty with movement. If left untreated, hypothermia can have serious consequences, and may lead to a heart attack, kidney problems, or liver damage. If you suspect a loved one may be experiencing hypothermia, contact 9-1-1 immediately, and take steps to help them warm up, like serving them a warm beverage, moving them to a warmer place, and providing warm blankets and clothing.

What Is the Ideal Indoor Temperature for Seniors?

Many experts recommend keeping the thermostat set to 68-70 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer during the winter months. One heating and air conditioning company recommends maintaining indoor temperature between 68 and 74 degrees; similarly, the researchers behind that European study recommend that seniors keep the temperature at 68 degrees or warmer.

(Video) At what temperature should you set your thermostat?

This mid-level temperature is something of a “Goldilocks” zone — not too hot, and not too cold. Too much higher, and your loved one could be dealing with dry, hot air, which can promote bacteria growth and lead to illness; too much lower, and your loved one may be at risk of hypothermia and other chilly complications.

Of course, it’s important to check in with your senior loved one and see how they’re feeling. Remember that there are all sorts of other ways to help your loved one stay warm in the winter, which we’ll detail below.

To promote a more comfortable living environment, you may also want to take some basic steps, like equipping your loved one with a humidifier (to counter the effects of dry air), adding houseplants and flowers in their space (which can help purify the air in the home), and making sure that their air vents and furnace filters are free of dust, debris, and allergens (which can make rooms feel stuffy and make it harder to breathe).

What Else Can You Do to Help Your Senior Loved One Stay Warm?

Families have been fighting over the thermostat, seemingly for as long as they’ve been around! While finding the right temperature for your loved one’s home is important, there are also plenty of other ways you can help make sure your loved one is able to stay warm and comfortable throughout the winter:

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  • Check insulation throughout the home. Before the winter chill settles in, help your loved one inspect their space to make sure that they have sufficient insulation in their attic, crawlspaces, and other areas where heat may escape.
  • Seal windows and doors; look for and eliminate drafts. Make sure your loved one’s house isn’t losing heat through windows and doors. If you notice major cracks around windows and doors, it may be time to apply new caulk or weatherstripping. In other cases, it may help to keep the blinds and curtains closed to help trap heat in, or even roll a towel and place it at the bottom of the door to prevent drafts.
  • Encourage your loved one to bundle up in layers. It’s important to encourage seniors to dress warmly. One idea may be to encourage your loved one to wear a sweater or heavy robe which they can take on and off as needed. Socks, slippers, long underwear, and night caps can also help.
  • Provide lots of blankets. In addition to being cozy and comforting, laying out extra blankets in the wintertime can help your loved one remain warm. Put additional blankets out on the sofa or your loved one’s favorite chair, and add extra bedding so they can sleep warmly at night.
  • Help your loved one eat well and remain hydrated. It’s important for seniors to keep up their good nutrition and hydration habits in the winter. As the NIA explains: “Make sure you eat enough food to keep up your weight. If you don’t eat well, you might have less fat under your skin.” Experts also encourage seniors to drink alcohol moderately, as it can cause you to lose body heat more quickly.
  • Encourage the senior to stay active. It’s easier to feel cold if you’re sedentary. Encourage your loved one to remain active, within limits — this could be as simple as regularly getting up and moving around their home, perhaps with the assistance of a supportive caregiver or companion. In other cases, light exercises like yoga or lifting weights can help promote healthy blood flow.
  • Regularly check in on elderly family and friends. Check in on the older adults in your life as often as possible when the weather grows colder. Don’t be afraid to stop in and check up on your elderly friends or neighbors, as well as your loved ones. If you live too far away to spend time with your senior family, get in contact with a neighbor or family friend who can check in, especially after a snowstorm or power outage. A professional senior companion can also help, spending time with your loved one and making sure they’re safe and comfortable, all season long.

About Companions for Seniors

Want to talk in more depth about what the winter months may mean for your elderly loved ones? Are you looking for professional help to care for your aging family as the winter chill sets in?

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with Companions for Seniors to discuss the best plan of action for you and your family!

Our companions are trained and insured, and can help your family shoulder some of the responsibilities of caring for an aging loved one during the coldest days of the year. We are locally owned and operated in Chicago, with clients in the city and suburbs.

We help provide seniors with a higher quality of life, while also offering respite and peace of mind for a family caregiver who might need some support. Our companions help stimulate our clients physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, empowering them to live an active and enriched lifestyle.

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Have any more questions? Ready to get started? Get in touch today using our handy online portal, or give us a call at 866-910-9020.


What temperature should elderly keep their home? ›

One heating and air conditioning company recommends maintaining indoor temperature between 68 and 74 degrees; similarly, the researchers behind that European study recommend that seniors keep the temperature at 68 degrees or warmer.

What temp range is OK for elderly? ›

For older adults

The typical body temperature range for people older than 65 is 96.4 F (35.8 C) to 98.5 F (36.9 C).

What room temperature is too warm for elderly? ›

There's also a maximum temperature a senior's home should reach. This is around 25.5 degrees Celsius (78 degrees Fahrenheit). Above this point, a senior may begin to experience the symptoms of heat distress.

What temperature is too high for elderly? ›

Seek medical attention if a senior's fever reaches 103 F (39.4 C) or higher.

Is 65 too cold to keep a house? ›

The World Health Organization recommends keeping indoor temperatures between 64 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit for healthy people. The minimum temperature should be kept above 68 degrees Fahrenheit to protect the very young, the elderly, or people with health problems. Watch out for signs of hypothermia.

What temperature should a 70 year old be? ›

Normal: The average normal temperature is 98.6°F (37°C).

What is an unhealthy room temperature? ›

What Is An Unhealthy Room Temperature? For babies, pets, and the elderly, or for those who suffer from respiratory, lung, or heart disease, anything below 68 degrees and anything above 74 degrees for a prolonged period of time can cause serious health concerns.

What is the best temperature for sleeping at night? ›

The best room temperature for sleep is approximately 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 degrees Celsius). This may vary by a few degrees from person to person, but most doctors recommend keeping the thermostat set between 60 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit (15.6 to 20 degrees Celsius) for the most comfortable sleep.

What age is considered elderly? ›

Traditionally, the “elderly” are considered to be those persons age 65 and older.

What temperature is too cold for a house? ›

What Temperature is Too Cold for a House? While everyone has a different tolerance to cold, ideal winter heat settings should generally be at or above 63 °F (17 °C). Excessive cold (anything below 62 °F or 16 °C) in your home can actually raise your blood pressure as your blood “thickens” in the chilly temperatures.

How does temperature affect the elderly? ›

Older adults do not adjust as well as young people to sudden changes in temperature. They are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that changes normal body responses to heat. They are more likely to take prescription medicines that affect the body's ability to control its temperature or sweat.

Is 73 too hot for house? ›

Best temperature to set your thermostat in summer

It's best to not set your thermostat lower than 70 to 72 degrees. Most units are not designed to cool a house below that point, and you risk the system freezing up. I recommend trying to keep your house below 80 degrees at all times during the summer.

What is an alarming temperature for adults? ›

Adults. Call your health care provider if your temperature is 103 F (39.4 C) or higher. Seek immediate medical attention if any of these signs or symptoms accompanies a fever: Severe headache.

Is a warm climate better for seniors? ›

There are many benefits to living in a warm climate state for active adults. States that offer a warm climate often dominate lists of the best places to live in retirement: Florida, Arizona, California, Texas, etc. The one thing all these states have in common is the year-round warm climate.

Why do the elderly not feel the heat? ›

Older bodies also hold more heat than younger ones when the temperature climbs. Glands don't release as much sweat. The heart doesn't circulate blood as well, so less heat is released from vessels in the skin. Systems from the cardiovascular to the immune struggle to compensate.

Why does my house feel cold at 68? ›

It has to do with the relative humidity. A higher indoor relative humidity makes the 68 degree temperature feel more comfortable; a low relative humidity makes it feel chilly.

Why does my house feel cold at 70? ›

Your house could be cold due to an old air filter, a faulty furnace, improper insulation, or leaky ductwork. The simple fixes, like replacing an air filter, are relatively easy to complete. However, if the heater itself needs repairs, it's best to call in a professional to take a look and determine the problem.

How cold can you keep your house without pipes freezing? ›

Keep the house heated to a minimum of 65 degrees. The temperature inside the walls - where the pipes are located - is substantially colder than the walls themselves. A temperature lower than 65 degrees will not keep the inside walls from freezing.

What should a 72 year old temperature be? ›

Over 65 years: Some older adults may have a lower baseline temperature than younger people. A normal oral temperature for this age group is 96.4–98.5°F (35.7–36.9°C).

Is cold weather bad for elderly? ›

Older adults are more sensitive to cold (and heat) than younger adults. Body temperature below 95°F, or hypothermia, increases their risk of heart disease and kidney or liver damage, especially if they have a history of low body temperature or have had hypothermia in the past.

Should I be cold at 72 degrees? ›

68 to 72 degrees is a temperature range that is not too warm or cool, and is sufficient enough to warm up the home just enough so that everyone is comfortable regardless of the type of clothing they have on.

Is it better to sleep with socks on or off? ›

Research suggests that wearing socks to bed can help people not only fall asleep faster, but sleep longer and wake up fewer times throughout the night. One study found that young men wearing socks fell asleep 7.5 minutes faster, slept 32 minutes longer, and woke up 7.5 times less often than those not wearing socks.

Is it better to keep house at constant temperature? ›

Instead of choosing a constant temperature year-round, it's better to keep your house a constant temperature on a seasonal basis. Keeping your home at a higher temperature during the warmer months will mean your air conditioner doesn't have to work as hard.

What is a healthy indoor temperature? ›

And The World Health Organisation (WHO) suggests 18 degrees is the ideal temperature for healthy and well-dressed people. Both agree this is also the ideal temperature for sleeping.

Is age 70 considered elderly? ›

Who is Defined as Elderly? Typically, the elderly has been defined as the chronological age of 65 or older. People from 65 to 74 years old are usually considered early elderly, while those over 75 years old are referred to as late elderly.

What are the three stages of old age? ›

The United States' older adult population can thus, be divided into three life-stage subgroups: the young-old (approximately 65 to 74 years old), the middle-old (ages 75 to 84 years old), and the old-old (over age 85).

What to do when you're 75 years old? ›

Spending time at an event, making friends, or catching up with old acquaintances can have a significantly positive impact on your overall wellness.
  1. Hiking and Walking Clubs. ...
  2. Group Exercise Classes. ...
  3. Wii Sports. ...
  4. Gardening Clubs. ...
  5. Book Clubs. ...
  6. Life Story Exercises. ...
  7. Lectures and Continuing Ed Classes. ...
  8. Online Collaborative Games.
Jan 20, 2023

Is it healthy to keep a house at 80 degrees? ›

It's advisable to keep your home below 80 degrees throughout the summer. A house that's too warm can be dangerous to people, pets, and the soft surfaces in your home. Set the winter temperature to 68 degrees when you're awake and 62 degrees when you're sleeping.

Is 70 Degrees too cold for a house? ›

What temperature should you keep your house at? Or better yet, “What is the most energy saving temperature to set my thermostat at?” According to ENERGYSTAR.gov, the ideal home temperature should be between 70 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

Is 75 too hot for a house? ›

Best temperature to set your thermostat in summer

It's best to not set your thermostat lower than 70 to 72 degrees. Most units are not designed to cool a house below that point, and you risk the system freezing up. I recommend trying to keep your house below 80 degrees at all times during the summer.

Is 67 too cold for a house? ›

Average Temperature of Homes in the Winter

The average temperature most homeowners keep their thermostats set to during the winter is 68 degrees Fahrenheit. We recommend settings yours within the 67 to 70-degree range.

What temp is too cold in house at night? ›

How cold is too cold? Below 13° - If your home is this cold, it may increase your blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease. 14-15° - If your home is this cold, you may be diminishing your resistance to respiratory diseases. 18° - This is the recommended night time bedroom temperature.

Is it OK to keep your house at 62 degrees? ›

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends indoor temperatures of at least 64°F (you can drop that down to 62°F at night if you're really looking to save on your heating bill). But if you have infants, sick or elderly people in your household, then it's recommended that you keep the thermostat set at 70°F.

Why is 68 cold for a house? ›

It has to do with the relative humidity. A higher indoor relative humidity makes the 68 degree temperature feel more comfortable; a low relative humidity makes it feel chilly.

Is it better to keep your thermostat at a constant temperature? ›

But as it turns out, the only real pro to keeping your thermostat one temperature is convenience. Sure, when you're away on vacation or gone for the weekend, the consistent temperature is efficient, but when you're at home, there are really no additional benefits.

What temperature should my heater be at night? ›

Sleep scientists suggest that for optimal sleeping conditions, room temperature should be between 60 and 67°F. That figure is considerably lower than the daytime recommendation, furthering your heating bill savings while also reaping improved sleep. It's a true win-win.


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