If you have family in Florida or have visited the state you may have noticed seniors in the stores bundled up in a winter coats while the temperature is a comfortable 70 degrees. Or you may be visiting your elderly parent who resides in Florida and have noticed that they keep their house temperature 5 degrees warmer than you are accustomed to.
As we age our tolerance for cold seems to diminish. Florida snowbirds and retirement communities are ubiquitous throughout our state. This could be due to a few variables.
Our metabolic responses tend to be slower as we age. When we are cold our blood vessels tend to constrict conserving the warmth to the internal parts of our bodies. This response can be slower as we age resulting in feeling colder.
Medications and health complications can also impact our cold tolerance. Some drugs, like beta blockers can decrease the heart rate, which can reduce the circulation of blood to hands and feet. Hypertension medications known as calcium channel blockers dilate blood vessels to improve blood flow keeping the warmth away from the core body.
As we age, our blood vessels and the fat layer beneath our skin begin to thin, contributing to the reduced ability to retain heat. Arthritis is another common issue as people age, and colder temperatures tend to aggravate this condition.
Being cold doesn’t pose a serious health risk like the heat does in Florida. It’s recommended for you loved one to keep a comfortable temperature by donning a sweater and keeping the home at a tolerable temperature.