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Heating a home for the elderly this summer

In the winter, media outlets are full of advice and warnings about heating homes for the elderly when the weather takes a turn for the worse, but what about the advice for heating your home during the summer months?

With unpredictable weather just ‘business as usual’ in Ireland over the summer, it can be hard to plan ahead for heating your home cost effectively and safely in changing temperatures, and the dangers of being overheated are just as real as their counterpart in the winter of being too cold.

Here are a few tips on heating a home for the elderly this summer to help you get it right.

Plan ahead

In Ireland there’s no telling which way the weather will go, so it pays to be prepared for every eventuality. Top up your home heating oil tank in case the weather is disappointing and you require the heating on for an hour or so at night to feel comfortable. Likewise, invest in a few desk fans which you can plug into your bedroom and living room if the temperature creeps up and you’re having trouble staying cool during the day.

As elderly people are more vulnerable to these extreme temperature changes, the impact will be greater on them, so more planning ahead will be required. Check on your elderly neighbours during a heatwave to ensure they have everything they need.

Staying cool when it gets hot

 Heating your home during the summer, especially when the temperature rises, is often unnecessary and can even be dangerous as elderly people find it harder to adjust to sudden temperature changes. Some medical conditions and prescription medications can also prohibit the body from reacting to the rising temperature. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to stay cool when it gets hot:

  • Make sure the heating has been switched off. Older homeowners may be so used to their thermostat settings that they may be reluctant to change them, but in a period of hot weather not only is it a waste of money and home heating oil to have the heating on, but it’s dangerous as it causes the inside of their home to be too hot.
  • Make sure plenty of liquids are consumed, but try to avoid caffeinated ones as this can actually increase the risk of dehydration. Cold glasses of water or ice lollies are best for keeping your body temperature at a comfortable level.
  • Place fans in the bedroom with large bottles of cold water in front of them – this will help lower the temperature in the room, instead of just circulating the humid air around the space.
  • Dress for the weather with light, loose-fitting clothing and a hat if you plan to spend some time outdoors. At night, ensure pyjamas are also lighter and remove some excess blankets to keep your body a safe temperature whilst you sleep.

Will you need home heating oil?

A summer heatwave is something many of us look forward to, and by being prepared there’s no reason why everyone, no matter what their age, can’t enjoy it. Turning the heating off will help you save money on your fuel bills, but you may still require some oil for heating the water for showers or baths.

Even if you don’t use it all now, it won’t deteriorate in your oil tank, so you can keep it all summer long until you need it in the autumn again. When the weather inevitably takes a turn for the worse, make sure you have a tank full of quality home heating oil from to heat your home.