Dad has begun to complain about being cold all the time. Any advice?


This southern WV where it's 94 right now. Mom is sweltering. Can't run central air. They are mid 80s. Dad has mild to moderate dementia and is on very little meds with no med changes recently. He has suffered from cold feet for years when he is inside and has had circulation tests, used creams etc. and uses a heating pad on his feet when indoors. The docs don't have an answer for the feet. Now he is under a blanket while inside and poor mom is wilting from the heat. Is this the dementia or something else going on?

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Garden, he has never taken the med you mentioned and he is on very little meds for his age. He has macular degeneration, takes a mall dose of blood pressure med and that's about it. I talked to mom this pm, she's using the ceiling fan in her bedroom and a small potable fan in the living room. They're both fine at the moment. Like everyone else does, I'll keep an ear to the ground for any changes. Thanks to all for your responces.
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Windy, my parents have the opposite problem.... Mom is bundled up in her thermo undershirt, a long sleeve top, sweater over that, long slacks, knee socks, shoes, and a scarf around her neck, you'd think it was the middle of winter instead of being in June.

Dad in the mean time is wearing shorts and nothing else. The temp is set to 85-87 all year. Dad will brag once in awhile that they turned on the air conditioning for an hour or two :P

Mom's issue with being cold comes from taking thyroid pills.

Windy, I feel for your Mom... heat would make me feel sick if I had to be in it for any length of time. Any way of closing off the register vents near where your Dad sits, and keep the ones open where your Mom sits... same in the bedroom [might need to re-arrange the bedroom furniture so that the vent is pointing toward your Mom. then turn on the A/C?

My boss and I use to fight over the thermostat until I did the closing/opening of register vents.... now that is is summer here, the vents in his office are closed... and the vents in my office are open so I get the nice cool air :)
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It's wonderful to learn that he's enjoying gardening - wish he was in Michigan - he could work in my garden in the 90 degree heat, which is more than I can handle! I could send him home with armfuls of produce!

Just an observation on the change in his sense of taste - has he taken Amiodarone by any chance? We learned from our neurologist that it can affect sense of taste and smell as well as cause neuropathy.

When I read here of seniors gravitating toward high sugar foods, I can't help wonder if any of them have taken Amiodarone for years and lost their sense of taste generally, except for high sugar foods that always seem to taste good, even to nonseniors.
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If he's able to work outside it sounds as if his energy level is good, otherwise you might have him checked for anemia.
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Thank you all for your responces. Dad is very active outside gardening, trimming his bushes, mowing grass, and in 90 degree, muggy heat. Then he sit in his wooden tree swing and watch the birds at the feeder and nap. When he comes inside he complains of being cold. Mom is going to start using a small fan for herself and she keeps his blankie on him. I guess it's just the aging process and maybe some aspect of the dementia. His sence of taste has also changed. Things my mom has been cooking for 60 years no longer appeal to him.
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A small window air conditioner can keep one room comfortable for your mom. Where we live the humidity is the really uncomfortable part, so running the central air but setting the temperature up in the high 70's could also help the whole house without making it too chilly for your dad. Beyond that I agree with the others, work on ways help your dad feel warm. The small electric throw blankets are very cozy.
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I agree with GA that keeping Mom comfortable and then bundling Dad up is the way to go.

I went to the NH yesterday and my mother was waiting for bingo to start. She had her lap blanket pulled up and wrapped around her arms. I knew she couldn't play that way and I got her a cardigan. Many, many of the residents have problems being cold all the time. They have to keep the temperature moderate so the staff can work and for the folks with "normal" temperature controls. So the solution for the freeze babies is to bundle them up.
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Windy, I've seen enough of your posts to know that you're insightful and very experienced, so if you're asking this question, it must be that it's serious enough that you're already tried solutions you could think of. My first thought would have been neurological and/or circulatory related coldness.

There some anecdotal incidents that might help identify the cause.

My sister and I never had a problem with being warm until the last months of her life as she battled terminal cancer. Obviously her mobility was compromised at that point, especially due to a "dropped foot", so she couldn't exercise (she had been a runner before developing cancer).

My parents were cold in their older years. My father is not as cold any more, but he's doing some moderate exercise in the house and goes for walks when he can.

Differences I've seen between being warm or cold: amount of exercise.

It could be a circulation problem but if your father's been tested and nothing's been identified, that apparently isn't the issue.

Would he exercise, even just sitting in a chair? My father uses one of the little arm/leg pedal devices. You may have seen them in rehab centers in the PT/OT rooms. They're essentially bike pedals but on a base that can be set on tables or floors. They can be pedaled by hand or by foot. My father paid less than $10 for his.

This is an easy way to exercise and it might help. Perhaps he could also do some arm exercises.

As to the a/c vs. heat, the only things I can suggest are

1. Create separate climates for them in separate rooms, or use a small heater for your father and a room fan for your mother.

2. Get some hunting socks, or thermal socks that are warm and heavy for your father. Elevate his feet so they're not always in a 90 degree angle, put on the socks, then bundle his feet in a blanket.

3. Get some double insulated jackets, such as those that are fleece lined, and get a nice warm hat with the furry flaps that come down over the ears.

4. Find some nice warm blankets or homemade quilts with cotton (not synthetic) batting. Put a lightweight quilt or blanket underneath him if he doesn't have a warm chair, plus another over him.

If you can warm him up, then it's less effort to cool your mother down.

It might also help to install a ceiling fan for your mother; they provide cooling (but not humidity control) and can at least counteract some of the heat effect.

As to dementia, my mother had some element of it but she had developed a chilliness long before the dementia. I'm inclined to think the coldness is more physical than mental.
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