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Warmer temperatures—outside and in

June 8, 2015
by Kathleen Mears
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Spring is definitely sprung! Temperatures are warming up. When I was younger, I could not wait for warm weather because I was always so cold in winter. However, at the age of 66, though I love springtime outside, I am always too warm and hate the inside temperature of the building, which is typically way too warm.

At my first nursing home, the thermostats were set on 70°F. On a 95°F day outside, I was chilly indoors because of my inactivity. When I got too cold I went outside, sat in a cordoned off area of the parking lot, and warmed up and relaxed.

At that facility residents had through-the-wall heating and air-conditioning units controlled by locked, wall thermometers. Since the room could suddenly get quite warm, waiting for a key could take a while. I got permission from the maintenance man for the staff to use a bendable straw to raise and lower the thermometer.

When the through-the-wall air conditioner/heating units were replaced, the new ones had adjustable thermostats right on the units which made it much easier for staff and residents.

Over time, the central air conditioning in that building became less effective. Sometimes it got really warm in the rooms just from the hallway air. Then I added a table fan which moved air around more efficiently.

At my present facility the central air does not cool my area of the building very well on hot days. So I have a window air conditioner. When it is extremely warm and humid I have difficulty breathing. That can also occur on a 75°F spring day when the facility's heat is still on. Then my room becomes quite uncomfortable.

When I first moved to a nursing home, I was 47, much younger than the overall facility population. I usually had staff keep the heat or air conditioning on 70°F year-round. The only time it went below that temperature was during the summer when the heat and humidity made it difficult for me to breathe.

Older residents and those who take certain medications are frequently cold even in warm weather. While I can empathize with their situation, I have to say my quadriplegia makes it very difficult for me to control my body temperature and I am frequently too warm.

I wonder if I still be too warm most of the time when I'm 80.


Kathleen Mears

Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...