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Residential Homes (Heating)

Volume 978: debated on Wednesday 13 February 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representations he has received about the need to recommend a safe temperature to be maintained in the homes of elderly people in order to reduce the risk of hypothermia: and what answers he has given.

I am aware of the interests of certain groups in these issues and of the confusion which exists between temperature preferences and thermal requirements. The former equates with comfort, and research shows that the preferences of elderly people are similar in range to those of younger people. But there is no comparable evidence of any association, in normal environmental conditions, between a particular ambient temperature and the temperature to a point at which the risk of hypothermia exists. People's requirements—like their preferences—vary individually. It is neither possible nor appropriate to specify a particular temperature which can be recommended as "safe" for elderly people to maintain in their homes.