Follow
Share

I know it's rather impossible to explain something to a dementia patient, but the heating / cooling issue is driving everyone (including the AL staff) up the wall. So Dad can NOT understand the concept of a thermostat. We've tried that and failed, but he gets unreasonably cold and it effects everything. His comfort level is about 81 degrees year round. The ALF has thermostat type heat in the wall (like hotels), but Dad refuses to turn it on because it releases cold air when it first comes on. Instead, he tries to heat the room with a ceramic space heater that's turned all the way up and blowing directly on him. Not only is this essentially against the rules, but it doesn't work well when the temperature dips. Such is the case the past couple of days. The space heater just isn't enough to keep the room warm, and with it blowing full blast all day long, it shuts off to keep from overloading the electrical circuits and causing a fire. The result... Dad complaining about being too cold to EVERYONE. He then will have the staff to keep turning the larger unit on and off repeatedly in 10 minute intervals until they tell him they won't be able to keep coming back to do it. Dad refuses to use an electric blanket (scared his legs will catch on fire), or wear anything outside of his Members Only jacket from the 80's, so layering isn't the answer. The ALF won't allow him to add another space heater -- especially since he refuses to use the perfectly working heater in the room... What else is there? Did I mention that this goes the other way during the summer? We went to the hospital at least 3 times last summer because he insisted on keeping the large unit off in 95 degree temperatures which led him to overheat.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
I've endured Heater Wars all winter. Looking forward to warm weather. But I'm sure that will only kick off Fan/a.c. Wars. I tried to make suggestions to my mom about adjusting her clothing or opening/closing her door to adjust room temperature. But dementia is not a fan of reasoning. So I just let her do as she will since it's not hurting me nor her. If anything it's like a constant ping pong game with one player. I guess that's handball?! Not a big sports buff. My point is after I stopped letting it annoy me, I felt less stress. Good luck.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I used to wear silk when I skied
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

That's the miraculous thing about silk, Tiny - it won't itch him, he won't even know he's got it on. They use it for babies with eczema, too. Fabulous stuff.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I will try to get Dad to wear warmer clothing under his Members Only Jacket (smile), but getting him to do anything extra is like pulling teeth.

He thinks long underwear are itchy so he probably won't wear them. He has a couple of blankets already, but I will try to leave a couple more around.

As for getting them to adjust the temperature when he's not looking, it's futile. He feels that initial cold air and goes bananas. Besides, on the rare occasions that we've been able to "sneak" the unit on at a decent midrange, Dad gets too hot which exacerbates his COPD and that leads to a panic attack.

I may try to redirect the airflow somehow from the larger unit. When seated, that cold air from the heating/cooling unit can blow right in Dad's face. Maybe I can put a guard or something over the vent to direct the air upward and outward.

It's such a test of my patience. He was complaining about being cold again tonight, but he had the staff to turn off the big unit and had the ceramic heater turned off. It's 20 degrees tonight!!!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Good luck with the thermostat wars! When someone has moderate or advanced dementia they live in the moment. Both my father and mother turn the heat up when they pass the thermostat. It doesn't matter if it's warm out. If they feel cool at the moment, then the simple solution is turning the heat up to 90. There is no reasoning with it. Since my father has passed, my mother taught me it is a thing of the moment. If she is warm, she turns the heat up. If it gets too warm a few minutes later, she will say I need to turn on the air conditioner. It goes back and forth.

If the ceramic heater is a problem, I would remove it and say the AL doesn't allow them. I understand the assistants at the AL don't want to come back every few minutes to deal with the thermostat. I imagine they deal with this with many of the residents. What FreqFlyer mentioned is the best idea. Do you think your father would remember to wear warm clothes and tuck in his shirt? I haven't been able to deal well with my mother's need for heat and cool, since she thinks the thermostat is the answer to the problems.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Plain white or cream silk jersey fabric, that is, with long sleeves, undervests and long johns, for gentlemen. Not the frilly stuff you usually associate with "silk underwear," I mean.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Can you put the central heating system on when he's not paying attention, and set it to the default temperature? Would he still fiddle about with it if the room were already comfortable for him?

And silk underwear. Pricey but brilliant, and surprisingly robust in the laundry.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Ah the war of the thermostat !! One thing I taught my Dad was to tuck his shirt into his pants, that would keep him warmer, and sure enough it did. Even tuck in his pajama top into the pajama bottoms helped at night. And if he felt rather chilled, wear light weight white socks to bed, that also made a big difference.

Also, my Dad liked wearing flannel shirts as sweaters, and it was best to get one size larger to make it easier to put on. Anything one has to tussle with to put on won't get worn.

Dad wasn't much on putting a blanket over himself when in his recliner, and we did solve the problem of the ceiling register blowing cold air out and bouncing off the wall onto his recliner. The maintenance man was able to close one side of that large ceiling register.

Any place that has a heat pump, it is chilly when the unit comes on, blowing that colder air until the unit heats up.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

What I do is I adjust the thermostat, and just tell my Grandma that the hot air will come on when It needs to. (It turns on and off by itself.) Space heaters can easily start fires, and please be careful with electric blankets. It's so easy for elderly to get burnt on those things. The best thing to do, would just get a lightweight, but really warm, blanket to keep over him. I have it 80 in my house, and I feel like I just walked through fire, and my Grandma still uses 5 blankets. Sometimes layers can work more wonders then ac/heating.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.