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My MIL's apt is connected to our home - separate heat - separate thermostats - THANK GOODNESS! Hubby installed a thermometer so that we can monitor the temp in her apt. Twice in the last week we have found her living room temerature VERY high. Once it was 90 and was 90 all night long. Just now I checked because I took something in to give to her and I could barely breathe. The temp was 86. She says she was just getting 'comfortable' and thinking how good it felt.

Are these temperatures 'healthy?' Could they be dangerous? What about dehydration? It is a struggle to get fluids into her as it is. Should we let her doctor know about this?

I gave her a Snugli but she refuses to use a throw - the Snugli is in a plastic bag next to her chair. She would rather turn up the heat.

Answers? Anyone? THE SAGA CONTINUES....................

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We recently had an in service on the dangers of turning the heat on too high with the elderly . This increases dehydration, increases bacteria growth or illness such as staff, flu colds and fungus growth. Especially if the elerly are in places such as ALF or long term care in can double the risk. We are asked to explain to the resident anything above 75 is a danger zone but respect the patients rights too.
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Thank you for your input. I guess we will need to stay in our room to be comfortable and come out for certain tasks. Our area is chilly outside in the winter but rarely freezing, so we've never had to crank the heat up too much. Mom doesn't have good circulation so nothing will change with her, I guess.
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Usually my boss and I [both seniors] have had a thermostat war in the office until I came up with the idea off closing off the force air vents in the ceiling in my office as I am on the sunny side of the building, and keeping the vents in his office wide open. So now I find if he ups the heat to 74 it is still comfortable of me.

Now that I am older, I have noticed if I don't move about much in the office or at home, I need to crank up the heat a bit. I know that was the issue with my Mom [98] when she lived in the house she shared with my Dad, who tend to move moving about more.
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Granny, I sympathise with your mom 68 is way too cold for me! I do try to keep the furnace set to 72 - 74 in the winter though simply to be environmentally responsible and to save on my gas bill. You could probably bundle her up like an Eskimo and she would still feel cold, older people often have poor circulation and are unable to regulate their body temp as well as when they were younger. There are people who like it cold and people who like it hot, unfortunately compromise usually means everyone end up unhappy.
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If you are dealing with zero outside, 74 inside will be very dry and hard on the respiratory system. Add a humidifier if safe to do so.
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We're having a tough time with temperature because we are living with my mother to care for her. We like it no more than 68F and she wants it around 75+F (feels like 80F!). We've started "living" in our room so we can crack the window for oxygen!! She refuses to try any silk under layers, although we have her in an electric blanket & throws all day. What can be done??!!
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Between the ages of 90 - 98, Mom was in Independent living. She kept her thermostat at 82-85 degrees and wore a long sleeve blouse and blazer over that. (I had to wear layers and strip down when I visited.)
I think it depends on how much "fat padding" they have. Mom was 90 lbs soaking wet - not an ounce of fat on her, so she was always cold. She had to have the temperature higher. Maybe someone with more "insulation" wouldn't need the temperature up so high. We didn't worry about bacteria growth because the temp was higher. It was more dangerous for Mom to shiver and have her internal temperature drop because of her inability to retain body heat.
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with all of the above and it being unhealthy with also rapid growth of bacteria and fungus. My girlfriends grandmother dont take showers :( what about that?? and shes sick with a strep throat which now i have . im needing to leave but im still concerned for this lady . she hardly eats but once a day very small portion , she drings little water a day
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My mother hates to use the bathroom, so she drinks maybe 18-20 oz of fluid a day.. So, she is ALWAYS dehydrated. Her place is stifling--around 85 year round. If I go to visit or clean it's so hot I am dripping with sweat within minutes--HOWEVER, this is how she has always been, our family home was always hot.
At this point in her life, she just gets what she wants. I am not even going to bring up a humidifier! Her place is so hoarded, and she is not capable of filling a humidifier anyway.
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Do Not Incubate. Though the elderly can be cold there are options beside the "
stat". Once a room temp gets to high ( where I work over 80 is against policy) it can start to incubate germs. That is why you often feel like a healthcare facility is always chilly. Warm blankets, arm warmers, etc. do help. We have volunteers who make us arm warmers a nd boy the patients really love them. Not cumbersome but effective. Being aware that a room too warm can cause problems is step one. A light electric blanket for short periods of time is an option but use caution and never leave an elderly patient alone while using an elec. blanket.. Best of luck. The heat issue is always controversial.
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Few weeks ago I bought a Honeywell table top humidifier where one can fill the unit from the top using a large measuring cup which makes it so very easy.

The other ones we had you have to lift the tank off the base, try to open the very tight seal, fill it with water, then attempt to place it back onto the base without making a mess. The Honeywell is more expensive but it has a nice babbling brook sound to it :)
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our home is 1-2 degrees celsius other than the one room we live in which we heat by portable gas heater. The problem is going to the bathroom or to bed the temp changes give health problems.I am 70 yo and now feel the effects more and more.The govt put in a wonderful electric 'wet /dry' CH system but to set it at 18 deg and leave it on costs more than £20 PER DAY ! we sometimes try and run it at off peak for a couple of hours to take the chill away but it still costs several pounds PD. My pension is £139 and cannot support this cost.
Who can we turn to for assistance ?
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FF, we use table top humidifiers and use them in winter when the relative humidity in the house falls below 35%. I turn them off if it is more than 40%, because too much humidity encourages mold. I love the Vicks humidifiers. They are so quiet and work well. After living for a couple of years with the sounds of fans all around, it is nice to have the peace and quiet of the Vicks.
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Thanks for all your responses! I, too, just had this 'gut feeling' that temps between 85-90 were not healthy. So, I took the suggestion of one poster and called her doctor. Left a message and they called back and said as long as she can 'pay the bill' - that we should allow her to regulate her own apt. temperature as high as she needs to be comfortable!

I still feel in my 'heart of hearts' that this is unhealthy - but at age 90 - not sure it is worth the hassle. If the doctor says it's ok - then I will let it go. It was 82 in there this morning. It was 85 during the day yesterday. I do boil water on her stove for added humidity when I am home to monitor it. I will look into a humidifier. I know that moist air feels warmer.

I just think that at this age and with very little movement of any kind on her part - she just does not generate ANY internal heat whatsoever. She is like a chameleon - she is the same temperature as her environment.

Thanks all. Just thought I would post this update and say 'thank you.'
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As a former HVAC tech, I will state that 90F (32C) is unhealthy, at that any temperature over 80F (26C) promotes rapid growth of bacteria and fungus. Humidity is also a big factor-- keep it between 30%-60%. More than 60% creates serious mold problems.
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oldcodger2, my parents have a humidifier attached to their furnace which gives the feeling of being in a rain forest.... it helps keeps the air moist but I wonder if too much water in the air is healthy for them and the house.

I use several table top humidifiers at my own house as we keep the heat at 68 which makes it feel a bit too dry, and difficult to pet the cat with the static electricity :P

The table top humidifiers work pretty good, only problem is the constant refilling depending on the size of the tank, and trying not to spill drops of water on the table while putting the tank back in.

These humidifiers are inexpensive, stores like Target sells them. Last year Target had a very small humidifier that was cube shape 7"x7"x7" and the tank was easy to fill and place back in.... it also had an automatic shut off when the tank ran out of water.
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We feel 80 to 82 is appropriate - we know older ones do seem to feel cold all the time. I worry, though, when she runs the temp up higher - due to her tendency to dehydrate. We are NOT worried about paying the heat bill!

Each and every time she has been hospitalized she has been dehydrated. SHE thinks they just 'say that to keep me in there.'

I will call her doctor and see what he thinks. Last winter she seemed comfy at 80-82. If he thinks 85-90 is safe - I guess she can crank it up as high as she wants. I still feel that HOT and DRY is unhealthy for anyone, even an elderly person. Especially an elderly person who has trouble getting enough liquids. We have all heard the saying 'you can lead a horse to water (or tea or whatever) but you can't MAKE them drink!' That's mom.
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My mother is in her late 90's. She's in independent living and keeps her thermostat at about 80 degrees - I have to dress in layers when I go there and strip down to a tee shirt!
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High heat for some elders is very normal, especially if they are on thyroid pills. My parent's house is like a sauna. Yet to them my house probably feels like a meat locker.

Are the hot temps healthy? Probably not, but if an elder is so cold they are shivering, that's not healthy, either. You could mention it to her doctor to see what he/she has to say. Otherwise, let her be comfortable with her own temp.

Oh, your mother-in-law probably doesn't like using the throw as it could feel too confining. I bought my Mom a very nice soft throw years ago but she never uses it. Maybe she is afraid she would trip over it trying to get up out of chair when the throw is in use.
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I fight this with my mom, who lives a mile away, in independent living. I keep turning down her thermostat (her temperature in the apt is 80). I'd like to see it at around 78 at the most. She's on the 4th floor, so all of the heat in the bldg rises and if it's sunny out (she's on the 4th floor) but afternoon it's stifling, even in winter.

My mom will use lap blankets and wears lots of layers. I keep telling her that she won't be able to recognize when she's too hot, as elders' bodies don't register heat like young people. But she forgets that as fast as I tell it to her. I don't think it's good for them to be above 80 degrees. But that's just my opinion, not a medical fact.
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