Home Temperature in Later Life (HOTELL) project 

Yorkshire & HumberGeneric Health Relevance
Start Date: 1 Apr 2017 End Date: 31 Mar 2018

This is a joint project between the TK2A theme and Frailty theme of the NIHR CLAHRC YH

The Home Temperature in Later Life (HOTELL) project analysed the CARE75+ data to explore vulnerability to cold home temperatures and examine the links between health and wellbeing and indoor temperature.

Home temperature readings show that the majority of homes in the CARE75+ study are warm, although around a third of people are living in homes where the living room or other rooms in their home are less than 20 degrees Celsius.  As expected recorded home temperatures are lower in winter but we found that some homes have living room temperatures below 20 degrees Celsius in the months of April and October.  This is probably due to people not using their heating so much during these times, but the finding highlights that some older people may be at risk of cold home temperatures and the related harm to their health and wellbeing outside of the core winter period.

We also found that older people who live alone may be at greater risk of having cooler or cold home temperatures particularly if they are frail and have experienced falls.  Around half of those people reporting lower living room temperatures (below 20 degrees Celsius) or a cooler rest of the home lived alone and had suffered a fall in the previous 12 months, compared to a rate which was closer to one in three for those sharing their accommodation.

What we want to do next

Some of you may soon be asked to take part in a more in depth home temperature study which will measure temperatures in your home over a longer period.

We would like to find out more about the various factors that influence home heating and understand the reasons why older people living alone might be a greater risk of living in a cold home.  We intend to conduct a small study looking at the home heating influences, practices and behaviours of frail older people who have a history of falls.  This study will involve visiting a small number of CARE75+ participants in their homes to measure temperatures and to talk in more detail about their home environment and heating practices.  We hope to conduct the work during this coming winter.

Dr Vanessa Powell