Older Adults' Thermal Comfort in Nursing Homes: Exploratory Research in Three Case Studies
There are two types of occupants in nursing homes: older adults and caregivers. Because the former has different physiological qualities, they are more sensitive to high and low temperatures, presenting discrepancies with caregivers regarding thermal sensation. The objective of this exploratory research was to determine to what extent the range of thermal comfort differed between older adults and caregivers in three nursing homes in Gran Concepcion. Indoor and outdoor temperature and relative humidity were monitored during winter and spring. Simultaneously, a thermal sensation and preference survey was applied while clothing insulation, metabolic rate, and adaptive responses were observed. Neutral temperature was calculated using Griffiths' method for both groups to determine the comfort ranges and compare them. The older adults presented a higher neutral temperature than the caregivers with a difference of 0.8 degrees C in winter and 1.74 degrees C in spring. Regarding the adaptive response, both occupant types performed the same actions to achieve comfort, but older adults had less control over these. It is hoped that this study can lay the groundwork regarding comfort temperatures for older adults in Chile and integrate a discussion regarding their well-being on a local and global scale.
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