Follow
Share

These include memory loss and Alzheimer's, stage 1. I am the complete package, including outside and inside home management.
She can still do toilet duties and dress herself... that's pretty much it, and I am fine with it. My responsibility, and I can handle it. My problem is, indoor temperature setting, She insists on minimum 80 degrees and she is happier with 82 or 83! In winter it is bearable, but in 90 degree and up days in summer, it gets so oppressive I can hardly bear it. I go to the basement or next door to neighbors when it is unbearable and at night I can hardly sleep. I know others have this problem and wonder how they handle it respectfully...

Put a lock on the thermostat.
I worked for an elderly couple in which the wife had Alzheimer's. She would crank the heat up even in the summer time and always complain about it being cold.
It drove her poor husband nuts. I told him that I would no longer work for them if something wasn't done about the heating situation. They went through so many caregivers because they couldn't keep any.
We installed a lock box on the thermostat. When they wife would start carrying on about it being cold (it would be the middle of July and roasting), I'd get her a sweater and blanket and tell her the heat was broke and the repair guy had to look at it.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to BurntCaregiver
Report

That is crazy to have it >80! I would be sooo uncomfortable and would never be able to sleep.

You need to get that temp down. Try 75 and get her dressing in layers so that she can keep herself warm enough. She can wear a hat to help keep her heat in! And fingerless gloves. And heavy socks. Long johns.

At night, the temp should/could come down even more.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to againx100
Report

In addition to warmer clothes, you might want to get one of those microwave hot cold gel packs. You need to supervise the temp before handing it to her. She can warm her hands and feet or have her put it between the clothing layers as she sits. Just supervise so she does not get burns
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to MACinCT
Report

We are able to open and close baffles in our ac/heat ducting in the attic. So in the winter, we open the baffles to my mother's room (and close down the baffles to our spaces) which then pushes most of the heat to her room, way more than anywhere else in the house. In the summer it's the reverse, we close her baffles so she gets minimal a/c but our baffles are wide open so our rooms are comfortable. So maybe talking to your ac/heat person might help you set up a way to have some comfortable spaces in your house.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to lshep3750
Report

My mom did that when I lived with her. Luckily, my rooms were in the basement, but while upstairs taking care of her, I baked. I tried different settings on the thermostat. She called the someone to fix it. I tried putting a locked cover over it. She had a fit and took a hammer to it. I told her the doctor said she was keeping the house too hot, but I forgot to warn the doctor and she called him. He told her she could keep the temperature at whatever was comfortable. I brought her sweaters and blankets all day long. She took them off. She wore summer clothes all winter and turned up the heat. Made me crazy frustrated.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to ArtistDaughter
Report

Extra layers for the wife might help. If possible, replace the thermostat with a model she can't read/figure out. My brother put in a Nest. Mom had the older style manual switch for heat/cool, but also allowed setting for certain times and manual override. The Nest she didn't mess with, and he could monitor it remotely via WiFi.

A separate room that you can keep at the temp you like would be better than running outside or to a neighbor's house. If you have baseboard hot water heat, close the covers - it will still get heat, but less. Put in a small window AC unit for summer.

If she wears more layers/warmer clothes, perhaps try turning the temp down, one degree at a time, and see how she adjusts. Trying to turn it down 10 degrees at a whack will be noticeable. A little bit over time might allow adjustment.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to disgustedtoo
Report

Your wife may have circulation problems. Dress her in an extra layer of clothing to help her stay warmer. Please talk to her doctor to see if she needs any adjustments to her medications.

Good for you that you can care for your wife by yourself! Please consider adding extra people to help care for your wife - family friends, members of faith community and/or paid help. I am not saying that you can't continue "doing it all", but life happens and you need back-up if you get sick or injured.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Taarna
Report

I am incredibly cold all of the time.

My thyroid numbers are monitored by a specialist. They are as low as they can go.

I CONSTANTLY freeze.

I live in Florida.

It is June, as I write this.

I am 57 years old.

I keep two blankets and a down comforter on my side of the bed.

I am not “stubborn”.

It is just how my body works.

I agree with layering your beloved, and dressing for the tropics for you.

Best wishes to you!
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to cxmoody
Report

I dealt with this with my Husband. I tried and could not convince him that he was "cold" because he was bundled up and sweating and once he would take off the jacket he would get cold because the evaporation of the sweat would make him "feel cold"
Enter Polar Fleece.
Slip on pants and tops.
They kept him "warm" but were also breathable.
Easy to wash, fast to dry.
Eventually he got used to not being layered.
Will your wife wear a hat? That will keep her warmer.
My Husband always had a blanket over his lap. Actually while he was in his recliner it covered his feet, legs and often he would pull it up to his chin.
A shawl might also help your wife keep warm.
If you are in a king size bed get Twin EX-Long blankets to put over her. It will cover her side of the bed and leave you to put over you what makes you comfortable.
If you place a waterproof mattress pad on her side it will also reflect heat back to her. Many have a "plastic" layer that will keep her warm.
If she has no nerve problems a heated blanket or heated mattress pad will also help. (Don't use one if she has nerve problems as she may not be able to detect if it is burning her. A friends husband used an old heating pad and got severe burns)
If she is looking at the thermostat and can read the numbers place a piece of tape over the face of the thermostat with the number 83 written on it so if she looks to see if the temp is the way she wants it it will look like it is set to her liking. You can then set the temp to what will make you feel comfortable.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Grandma1954
Report

For reasons that don't make sense, old people want to cook themselves and it is going to kill you and destroy your life. I know in this case it won't work, but put a heating pad on her lap and it will keep her warm and you cooler. I did this years ago when the heating bills were off the charts and I was cold in my house. Worked great. I doubt she will allow this so either keep her in ONE room where she can have it as hot as she wants or you must place her into a facility. There really is NO other choice. You should not live this way because of her stubbornness.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Riley2166
Report
disgustedtoo Jun 16, 2021
I hardly think it will kill anyone or destroy their life... a bit melodramatic there.
(0)
Report
My DH is ALWAYS cold--and he simply wears a sweatshirt and even a light coat when he is home. I do all the housework and yardwork and his job is 100% sedentary, so he doesn't work up a sweat, ever.

I have to be in a COLD room to sleep well, that's always been the case. So I moved out of our bedroom 10 years ago and we'll never share a bed b/c even in the hottest summer months, he has 2 down comforters on the bed and often sleeps with a hot water bottle. He's 69, hardly old...but is always freezing. It hit 100 here yesterday, I hid out in my basement craft room and sewed all day--he was upstairs watching TV all day and his room was probably 90 degrees. I told him he should go live with his mother during the summer as she keeps her house super warm. Indoor temps over 75 make me actually sick.

DH has had complete physicals, he is on thyroid medication, but I don't think it helps at all. I'm sure he's chronically dehydrated which is a problem too, but I just can't force him to take care of himself. I just pile the blankets on him and walk out the door.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Midkid58
Report
CaregiverL Jun 16, 2021
Hi Midkid! Maybe his thyroid meds need adjustment. Tell him to make an appointment & go with him to talk to dr…because he’ll tell dr he feels fine & there’s no problem. Hugs 🤗
(0)
Report
My mother is freezing year-round, and my dad (a complete saint) had to keep the house similarly hot. When I came over and the heat would kick on in the middle of a Southern California August, I'd put my foot down and Dad would turn it off for the day. Mom never died from frostbite.

Does your wife move around at all? I think my mother's cold issue was mostly due to the fact that she was completely sedentary. She'd get up, have breakfast, then retire to her comfy chair and go back to sleep until lunchtime. Dad was always up and tearing around.

Get your wife some sweaters (Mom lives in the acrylic cardigans from The National catalog -- and acrylic does nothing to keep you warm), a fleece blanket to have on her lap, and turn the heat off.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to MJ1929
Report
disgustedtoo Jun 16, 2021
"Mom never died from frostbite."

That got a chuckle from me!!!
(0)
Report
If it would be acceptable to you and your wife to sleep in separate rooms, a single room air conditioner could make sleeping much better for you. We run one in our bedroom so we aren’t air conditioning the entire house unnecessarily. It could also give you a room to retreat to when you get too warm. Sometimes at my mother’s I have to go outside to cool off as she keeps her place at those high temps, too.

An electric blanket for where she sits and sleeps, too - as others have suggested - might let you move the thermostat down a bit.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Goddatter
Report

Has she had a recent thyroid test? Ask her doctor for a complete thyroid panel, not just a simple screening test.

Body temperature regulation, either too hot or too cold, is a primary symptom of thyroid problems.

If Identified, treatment can be undertaken to help.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to AnnReid
Report
disgustedtoo Jun 16, 2021
None of the residents in mom's MC had thyroid problems, but they were ALWAYS cold, no matter what time of year. I found it perfectly comfortable, so it wasn't the facility being cheap on the heat or AC. This seems to be a common thing among many with dementia.

I arrived at my mother's condo once, in summer and the place was like a sauna! She had moved the switch from cool to heat. The heat wasn't running, but neither was the AC! I was sweating bullets in no time! My brother ended up putting in a Nest thermostat. She couldn't figure it out. He set it for various times, but could also check it remotely, via the WiFi.

Certainly it could be thyroid, but more likely it's the dementia.
(1)
Report
Make sure she always has a sweater on and a blanket over her lap.  The blanket can be an electric blanket to keep her toasty.  Then you might stand a chance at having the thermostat at a more reasonable temperature.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Jamesj
Report

My husband too was very cold natured all year long, which of course was a problem for me as I am the complete opposite. He was bedridden for the last 22 months of his life, and he just wore a sweatshirt with a hood on it, that he would keep pulled tight around his head. There were times too that he would wear a long sleeved shirt and a winter cap on his head. And he always required multiple blankets on as well, which I was fine with, as I wasn't about to roast to death in my home,(especially since I was the one doing all the work) and the fact that we live in NC, where we pretty much have summer temps 8 months out of the year, he was content just to bundle up and I didn't have to sweat in my own home.
Like I always told him(as he was cold natured for years before he was bedridden)you can always put more stuff on to keep warm, but I can only take off but so much to keep cool. So bundle your dear wife up in some warm winter clothing, and turn that thermostat down, so you can enjoy being in your own home, without sweating to death.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to funkygrandma59
Report
AliBoBali Jun 17, 2021
My father wears a hoodie with a winter scarf over the top of his head year round. I am amazed he needs that much layering even in summer but it's what he is comfortable in and I was just glad I could talk him out of changing the thermostat.
(0)
Report
I would get a new thermostat installed and have the old one disconnected from the system but, still be able to set the temperature. So she thinks that she is setting the temp at 82° and you can set it to a comfortable temperature for you. I would have the new one placed where it doesn't get her attention. This is usually fairly simple to do and shouldn't cost an arm and a leg.

Buy her warmer clothes, help her to layer when she is getting dressed. So she feels comfortable as well.

I worked in an office with penguins, 63° year round, and I married a lizard, 80° works, I would much rather try to get warm than be over heated. I finally converted my husband to a penguin and we installed mini-split units in our home. Now every room can be kept at the desired temperature. You could check out installing one in a room just for you. I highly recommend them and truly wonder why they aren't used more in the USA. They are highly energy efficient and if you clean the filter regularly, no maintenance necessary.

My heart goes out to you. I am not able to deal with stifling heat and I would collapse in 80° interior temps.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Isthisrealyreal
Report

I read reports of caregivers quitting caring for my grandmother and father in their house due to it being too hot. At one point, a care agency talked about putting a lock-box on the thermostat, which I knew would not go over well with my father. My grandmother was always cold and my father had wonky ideas about heat and AC settings. I worked it out pretty well by educating my dad on what normal indoor temp settings should be and got reinforcement from doctors and anyone else he would respect the opinions of. He stopped being so stubborn about it and I bought both of them a bunch of warmer, fleece and flannel pajama/clothes they could wear all day. It wasn't a problem for anyone in the house after that.

Would your wife benefit from fleece jumpsuit onesies, or similar, that would keep her much warmer? Maybe try buying 1-2 and see if it helps. Will she listen to respected friends, family, and others if they tell her that the thermostat settings are extreme? And there is an option of putting in a remote controlled thermostat, too. Do you think that could help if you could change the settings without her noticing, especially at night?
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to AliBoBali
Report

Who sets the controls? If it's you, this is one occasion when I would go along with the "therapeutic fib" and assure her that the thermostat is at the correct setting.

But if she says she feels cold, then she is cold. What about cosier clothes? - fleecy pyjamas, a warm cardigan, a shawl or soft blanket?

The thermostat wars, by the way, are a classic Mars vs. Venus battleground. You certainly aren't alone!
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Countrymouse
Report

Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter