I'm playing "air-conditioning tag" with my Alzheimer's mother. She doesn't like the air movement (it doesn't blow on her at all). She turns it off.

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I keep it on, she comes out and turns it off when I'm not watching and we do this all night. We live in Phoenix so we need a bit of cool air! (I keep it at 78*) She'll put on a sweater and scarf when we're watching tv, but you'd think it was 20 below and the looks from her are just as chilly. I don't want it to be WWIII, but I need to stop her from turning it off. Any ideas? Notes on the wall are ignored, kind of like wallpaper.

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After several weeks of this AC frustration I've had an old memory pop up. When my brother and I were kids, in the 60's, we had no AC, no fans, and weren't allowed to open the windows when it was hot because you couldn't get in a draft. My dad's brother got pneumonia and died from it back in the 30's, he must of been about 12 at that time, they all said he got "a draft"......there were a lot of odd behaviors that came forward from that time period. No milk with fish it'll make you sick, don't eat warm bread you'll get a heart attack. Seems that they only associated the most recent events with a death. Just an observation, it could just be my demented family.
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Hello, Robert888! Thanks for giving me a big smile today. It sounds like we should get our folks together. :-) I, too, put it up a degree when she is heading to bed. That way she doesn't hear it as she's drifting off. After a few hours when I can't take it anymore, I turn it back down a degree and so far, so good. The noise is not an issue during the day, only at night. And for her, the sight of air movement isn't a problem, only the feel. Her new trick during the day is turning the fan from auto (yes, we do have central a/c) to fan on, however in that mode it only recirculates room air and doesn't allow the cold air to come through. She then wonders why she is hot. I work six days a week and it's almost always on the steamy side when I get home. Sigh.

It is amazing to me that for all that they can't remember, they sure have the wiles to come up with some ingenious ways of doing things, and like little kids, they do a lot of sneaking when you're out of the room and look so innocent when you get back! I must have been a rotten kid, cuz it's true what they say - paybacks are hell!

You ask about guilt and the only guilt I feel is when I bark at her periodically, but I do that less and less.

I think light switches are a good topic, as is toilet paper. And perhaps asylums for caregivers. :-)

Mo
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SEE IT- DO IT: My dad (86 y.o, Alzheimers, mobile) is like your mom!!

I am in a constant tag-your turn game of open-close the window, turn on the fan - turn off the fan, turn on the a/c - turnoff the ac. We live in an area that is extremely hot and humid and if left to his own "mind" he'd be passed out on the floor in no time from the heat.

It is something MUCH more than just a regular old person's thinner and more/less sensitive skin, or how hot/cold they feel. I am utterly convinced it has something to do with the temperature regulation of the hypothalamus and the wanton destruction going on inside the mind of a person with Alzheimer's. We NEED research on this seemingly benign quality-of-life (for the caregiver!) issue.

Anyway, bluff/deceive/distract are all called for. No amount of logic, lectures, reasoning will work, although occasionally I revert to thinking it just-might-work this time around. In HIS MIND any manner of gentle breeze, cool fan, a/c waffling is to be turned off -- see wind device = must turn off.

AC - So, for the a/c - it is set at 1-2 degrees higher than I would find comfortable, the vent is directed upwards so there is no noticeable breeze directly blowing onto my father's bed. The drapes have been taped and pinned down so as that they don't "blow" in the wind to give him any hint there is actually any wind.

The a/c remote is hidden away. If "noise" is a hint to your mom, try turning on some other noise to help her de-link the association between "noise" and "ac." Tell her it's the neighbor's vent - maybe after 3-4 nights she might actually stop trying to act on the noise. The key is to disrupt her view of the vents. Maybe get the vent covers and paste some kind of decoration or other cover so that a person would not "logically" think they were a/c vents. (It sounds like you have central a/c?)

FAN - For earlier in the year when all was needed was a fan in my dad's room, I built a box out of Styrofoam foam board (from the art store) that covered it visually. At first he still got to the extension cord and dug the fan out for a few rounds, but I succeeded in the end. Had to make sure that the wind didn't blow on him directly at his desk.

WINDOW - to open the window, I left the sliding door open, but in front I had the curtains, which I pinned and taped down so they wouldn't blow and shift around. This at least allowed the cooler evening air to waffle into the room so it wasn't stifling. And don't think that he actually was cold, I could tell when he actually FELT cold by when he pulled the blanket over himself while sleeping.

To be quite frank, I was ecstatic to write up my experience for Moberg! Nobody else understands the wit and still-quite-challenging abilities our parents have when they want to do something!

YOU MEANIE - for those out there who might think we're over-exaggerating elder abusers, my dad would literally go ballistic or start crying if we left a fan blowing on him (if I really insisted). Moberg, if by any chance you feel any guilt in trying to deceive, trick or in some way find a way to keep the temperature livable, DON'T!

I wonder if I should write up a post on THE LIGHT SWITCHES!
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The company I work for does HVAC for office buildings and I know that sometimes we install "fake" thermostats in some areas. This is so the employees think they can control the temp, but they can't! I wonder if you can do something like that? I'm not sure how it would work in residential, but a residential contractor might have an idea.

OR maybe they can shut off or diminish the air flow to the vents in her room?
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I think I'm going to get her soft earplugs and give those a try. Otherwise, the towel may go somewhere else! ;-D
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Stuff a towel in her vents
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Well, at least it worked for two nights. Last night she decided she wanted the air off because it made noise in her room (what air did come out). Sigh. Guess I'm going to have to feel guilty for being mean every day, but I taped up the thermostat so she couldn't touch it and left it on anyway. Every day is a new adventure!
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Oh what great information!!! Yipee is right!!
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Thanks, everyone. On Saturday, I found magnetic vent covers that I have placed in her bedroom. Only a few inches on either side are open now so it is not chilly in there, and I have been able to leave the air on for two nights. Yippee!
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We have this problem with my father. He tends to be cold due to the blood thinners he takes daily. So we solved it by buying him several cute hats, keeping a throw blanket near his wheelchair at all times, and dressing him in a long john top beneath his shirt. Keeping his head warm really helped out. We also moved his place setting at the dinner table away from the air condition unit.
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