Elderly people are more vulnerable to heat stress than younger people are, so they benefit a great deal from air conditioning during hot weather. However, they may frustrate their children by refusing to run the central air in their house. If the temperatures in the home climb high enough, they can develop serious health issues. What can you do if your elderly parent does not like having the air conditioning running, even on hot days? Here are some of the reasons why your elderly parent is being stubborn and how to deal with it:
Disdain for Air Conditioning
Unfortunately, elderly persons often feel chilly, even when the weather is warm. Senior citizens tend to have lower body temperatures than younger people do. One study found average body temperatures in some seniors as low as 95.3 Fahrenheit. The highest average body temperature in this study was 97.6 -- a full degree lower than what people typically consider normal body temperature.
In addition, certain health problems that are more prevalent in seniors can make them feel colder. Congestive heart failure, poor circulation and low blood pressure are examples. Some medications that are taken on a daily basis also tend to make a person feel chillier than they would otherwise.
Depending on your parent's age and background, they may simply "not believe" in air conditioning. They grew up without it and figure it's a wasteful extravagance.
These are primary reasons why many elderly individuals rebel against using central air. Some people also have ideas that may seem a bit irrational to you. For instance, your parent may be nervous about the system overheating and being a fire hazard, or they may worry about using it too often and having it break down on a very hot day.
Convincing Your Parent to Turn on the A/C
Show your parent authoritative information on the importance of air conditioning for people of his or her age when interior temperatures reach a certain level. You might print out information from medical or governmental websites explaining that seniors are more susceptible to heat stroke and not realize they are overheating.
You can also offer to pay any extra amount on the electric bill that is probably due to running central air.
Discuss the possibility of setting the thermostat higher than you yourself normally would. For instance, your parent may be willing to have the air conditioning turn on when the temperature reaches 80 in the house. Even if you find that temperature uncomfortable, it will prevent them from becoming overheated.
Make sure the central air system continues to work properly by having it inspected and maintained each year by a service technician, such as those at Stellar Heating Solutions. A professional technician can ease their mind about safety and confirm that the system is in excellent working condition.