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Stop the thermostat wars. My in-laws are always complaining about the cold, sometimes turning the AC unit off in the summer when it's near 100 degrees outside. I have let them know it's ok to turn up the unit when I'm at work so they don't freeze (today's claim) but I am breaking out in heat related hives and can only take off so many layers of clothing. Must I retreat to my bedroom and sweat under the ceiling fan? Is there a playbook I can borrow to learn how to keep us both comfortable? I know it's harder for them to be warm, but they have blankets, throws, jackets, hoodies, etc. why must I overheat to the point of nausea?

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We use a space heater and heated blankets for my mom.
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Is your house zoned or all on one thermostat? My parents house was all on one and I left a set of summer clothes in my old closet for when I visited. I also kept the door to the room closed and during the winter the vents almost closed. When we built our house we set up each bedroom as a separate zone and another zone for the general living area. When Mom visited we turned the heat up slightly in the common area but also told her to bring extra layers. We also have several blankets available on the couches to cover up with if you get cold.
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Get an electric throw blanket. I saw one at Target for $35 this week.
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My mother is always cold too, and hubs and I are hot. We got those Amish heaters .. she has one in her TV area, and she runs a space heater in her bathroom when she is in there. Not perfect.. but better than nothing!
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What I would do is if this is your house, put the AC on the coldest setting and send them to another room. Some people cannot deal with the heat whereas others cannot deal with the cold either so they should look at other living arrangements if they're living with you. If they're just visiting, then tell them to go home if they can't take the cold but you're not going to have a heat stroke just to make them happy. Hide the remote or just keep it with you but don't let them cause it to be hot in your house and risk your health. I have heat related issues myself and my doctor has since prescribed me to have an AC due to my unique condition. I would not have anyone living with me if they could not be where it must be kept cool. If they are just visiting they can go but my place must be kept cool during summer. Therefore, in your situation you're going to have to put your foot down and be firm with these people. If your doctor happened to have prescribed AC for you, then if the in-laws can take it, oh well! If they don't like it, they can leave and you can show them where the door is an even hold it open for them, then slam it behind them on their way out
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Playbook rules:
The elders could, quite likely, be cold because of the meds they take (think Coumadin, for one). Or they're cold because the body is not is motion.
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The main problem is their circulatory system is not functioning the way it used to.
As a person ages, and this becomes more pronounced as they decline, the body strives to keep the "important stuff" warm. That is the core and the brain. so the extremities do not get the circulation that they used to. So hands feel colder, feet feel colder then arms and legs.
If the person is mobile one of the electric throws works very well. There are problems if the person is not mobile leaving a heating pad, heating blanket or any other source like that can lead to burns. Again since the circulation is so poor it is difficult to tell when an area becomes too hot.
If this is not possible I found that the fleece type pants and tops helped a lot. And they are easy to wash and dry. (Do NOT use a fabric softener on any of the fleece type products.) They do keep you warm. And when it comes to it you may have to resort to hats, even in the house this keeps the top of the head warm where a lot of heat is lost and it keeps the ears warm, another body part that feel cold as circulation declines.
"Muffs" for the hands will also help. Since I have not seen many of these since I was a kid this might be an item that you have to make with some scrap material, maybe even cutting the leg from a fleece pant or the arm from a sweatshirt.
Another thing that I used was a small ceramic heater that I put next to my Husbands bed. I would put it at the foot of the bed and put it on low with a low fan and it would gently push warmed air over him. That seemed to work very well.
And the obvious, make sure they are clean and dry, clothes are dry as damp clothes will make you feel colder.
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I'm the one who gets cold. I can get so cold that my bones feel like they are frozen and I can't move. Adding on more clothing or covers doesn't get me warmer. It doesn't heat up my bones.

I have always had a problem with getting too cold. When I was 22, I ended up with a severe case of pneumonia simply because I had gotten too cold. I ended up being hospitalized. My doctor said that I survived because of my age.

What works for me: heated bed sheets, heated pads, heated blankets, individual heaters, hot baths, and making sure the extremities are covered. Hot baths are the best way to warm the inside of the body when it gets really cold, but the heat doesn't last long.

I hate it when people who don't understand what it's like to get cold say to just put on more. That doesn't work!!
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All my life due to medical issues I have had to have a "cold" room, preferably with air conditioning so I can breathe more easily. If I get cold, I add an extra sweater. Wherever I have gone, it was always too hot and once you are down to pants and a bra and still are too hot, and your body feels horrible, etc., what are you supposed to do. Well, there is one simple solution you can take and it costs perhaps pennies and everyone is happy. If you are always hot and you are with elderly people who are always freezing, besides naturally dressing them accordingly, when they are seated just simply place a heating pad on their laps on low. Within about 20 minutes their body will feel warm and comfortable and they will NOT feel the cold. I also did this in years back when it was so cold in my office (which I had set up in the basement) and the cost of heating to the proper temperature cost a fortune, I put a heating pad on my lap and I was in sheer heaven and so comfortable. Try it - it works. Those people can add clothes but you can't peel your skin off your body. So keep it cool!
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If it's their home, and they live there, the thermostat should be used to assist them in being comfortable. My partner and I have worked out that certain areas of the house will be kept at his comfort level, and some at mine. I put window a/c units in those rooms I use most: kitchen, office, bedroom. The rest remain unairconditioned. If it gets too hot, I put a fan on and blow it into his room. For winter, I have the safe-switch types of ceramic heater in his bathroom that blows in and warms his bedroom. I have electric blankets but he doesn't like that feeling; most elders don't. In the living room, I have a pad on his recliner that heats and vibrates. It has auto-shutoff which is essential so they don't burn themselves. Putting on and taking off clothes is literally painful for the Elders. It's easier for you to shed, then for them to do so, and if you haven't bought them easy-access clothing, it's even worse. I've changed out all of Bill's sweaters to button front and donated all his pullover types. It's just too hard for them to raise their arms. So the bottom line is, each of you have to respect the areas of the house that are "yours" and "theirs" and as their Caregiver, make sure they are the ones who are comfortable. They have a/c units you can roll up and plug in, and vent right out a window, without a big install. Try one of those, or one of the small ventless ones. It's all about the Big C: Compromise.
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Catrisler,

Feeling your pain as my siblings and I also deal with this with our elderly parents.

Several suggestions that may help:

1). Do your in-laws have hot water bottles? If not, they're inexpensive and to prevent accidental burns some come with a fabric cover. They work great while they're just sitting watching tv etc. Placed on their lap is a great spot to help keep them warm. You could try that when you're with them, so you can refill as needed.

2). Hotties: Those are the heat packs normally used in socks or gloves. They're individually wrapped and you just shake them to activate the heat. The ones used in gloves can easily be tucked in underneath a sleeve. But again, with sensitive skin you may need to wrap in a piece of cheese cloth before placing it next to their skin. If they're used in the wrist area that is the best spot, as that helps to heat the blood circulating through that area.

3). Fingerless gloves. Provides a way to keep their hands warm, yet fingers are free to move about. It also works as a place to hold a Hottie against the wrist.

4). Heated throw. If their favorite chair is near an outlet that will keep them cozy!

Now of course any of those solutions have to be removed for when they need to do their toileting, but if you can raise the temperature of their blood, their environment will seem warmer to them.
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Omg I feel your pain!!! Mid summer in pa was 90s+ this year I am perimeno. So..... yea "it's cold is all I heard ALL SUMMER LONG the hubby put an a.c. in our room and in the winter she jacks the thermo. In her room at night to 90!! $300 electric bill and we pay the bills but "its her effing house" so the battle continueslmao.......
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My boss and I had thermostat wars until I decided to just close the vents in his office in the summer and open my vents to get the air conditioning..... in winter, his vents were open for the heat, and mine were closed. Has worked out great.

I realize it is easier to deal with with an office setting, but pick and choose what vents will be open/closed in the house. Like if the folks spend a lot of time in the living room then close those vents.... and if there is a family room, keep those opened for yourself.  And so on and so forth.
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Get a programed thermotate. You can set it to change temps throughout the day. By having one, you can set it to go down at the time you leave the house and come back up when u are coming home. Same with Winter. MIL should realize how about Menopause and post Meno. If they are cold, they should put more layers on. I would also put a lock on the thermostat. Programed one don't have a dial. Yo don't want someone foolng with it. Maybe have it installed in your bedroom and disconnect the old one and don't tell them. They could play with it all they want and not make a difference. Remember thisbis your house. Another idea, have the thermostate set back in the wall and put a picture over it. Only u will know where it is.
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Oh how I so want a Nest...but the cost of the units (we have two, that's the way the house was built), plus installation, plus explaining WHY we need one to the elder who is always cold it seems hopeless. Not to mention that I don't have a phone that would handle the app. Living with dad (100) and mom (95 with dementia) is enough without this insanity. They want (or take for granted) caregiving tasks like cleaning and cooking which can't be done comfortably in the heat of summer, yet it's not even cool enough to SLEEP comfortably. Window unit is out as I have the crank out type window so I can't vent it, and a floor unit...well, room is congested as it is being 100 sq ft. (bedroom). Every night mom goes to bed around 9:30 and touches /plays with both thermostats on her way. With the dementia there have been times when she sets it at 68...which results in my getting comfortable...and then obviously TOO cold LOL. So then I'm up to adjust it...unless it hasn't been an hour yet...then Dad goes up to bed, and HE has to play with it, check it out because mom has. Worse, they've taken to opening the little door and switching it from cold to OFF or on some days/nights HEAT!!! In warm weather! Of course the heat won't kick on when it is 80 degrees!
Then we have the fridge thermostat. Oh the frustration of dealing with this is both exhausting and maddening, not to mention a food safety issue. Yes, locking the fridge has come to mind, but as mom is still capable of getting herself some food, I don't want to block her access. She constantly was turning it to make the fridge too warm and in the beginning, a couple years ago she claimed dad did not like his orange juice cold (!). We believed since she was so tight with money, that she thought she was saving money. I covered the dial with white duct tape, which lasted a few days. A couple years ago she was in the hospital for a week, and all was well...day she came home I put a tray of ice cubes in ; next AM they were LIQUID in the freezer. Called repairman. He reports the unit was turned OFF. Completely...and that while both had dials, it was the freezer dial that was primary to the unit. So the game continues, to this day...in spite of the fact that even the manufacturer had no ideas...but one day in rage over it happening yet again, I just yanked on the dial...and it came off in my hands. Just like a stove knob, straight off. But still there is a little part under it that is able to be manipulated and she is. I know things are amiss because I have thermometers in both sections. I try to remind myself it is the disease, but it is so hard to live with.
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I have the same problem. My mother is always cold and she turns on the heater when it is 90 outside. Unfortunately, my only resource is to go to my room where I have purchased a small portable air conditioner and if she doesn't want to be alone she will put on sweatshirts and her pajamas or bathrobe whatever so that she is warm otherwise she knows I will go in my room. She can see me perspiring and I get migraines when I extremely warm. Luckily so far it has worked and when she does turn the heater on I turn it off immediately. Eventually I win.... Good Luck!
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We too dealt with this issue in our home. FIL was miserly before his dementia set in and that coupled with thinking he’s freezing to death if the thermostat is set lower than 80 was causing much angst.
Hubby and I would set it to 74 and he’d change it as soon as we were out of sight.
We had decided to get a cover to put over the thermostat and lock it but he managed to short circuit the a/c unit by messing around with all of the buttons (he forgot how to set the darn thing).
After a costly a/c repair bill which he was aware of, he left the thermostat alone and has forgotten all about being cold.
In the long run we got lucky the thermostat wars issue was resolved with out further action on our part.
Good luck dealing with your situation - I’d check into options suggested by other posters here, I always get great advice reading up on how everyone resolves their issues!
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The thermostat has been a huge issue with my FIL. When he was still at his home he had gotten to the point that he could not figure out the thermostat and would call my husband who would patiently explain up button, down button, temp on the left is the actual temp, temp on the right is the set temp, multiple times per day. This went on day after day. Then my husband would go over to FILs house and find heating/cooling off, or set to some insanely high or low temp. The same thing went on when he was hospitalized and then in rehab. He'd call and ask my husband if the heating/cooling was ever going to come back on/go off again. Now he's living in our home and I have been very firm about the thermostat being off limits. We've adjusted a couple of degrees above our preference but there is no way that we can do all the things that need to be done in a day suffering in a house/sauna. He normally wears a flannel type shirt and has a light jacket that he puts on or takes off. He has two blankets that he can put on or take off. But the thing that has really helped is a heating pad. He can use it or not, turn it on/off etc and have some local control of his temp without making the rest of us unbearably miserable.
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Nest thermostats work for us. We have one for each A/C and heat zone. Settings control timing of heat/air according to usage patterns and motion detection near the thermostats. I can control from my phone so many issues are alleviated. A several degree “lock” prevents hubby from making extreme temp changes. My utility bills are consistent, the house is more comfortable and hubby still wears fleece jackets and shorts year round. Life has improved as his Parkinson’s and Lewy Body dementia progress. I am no longer the thermostat police, the Nest does the job and hubby is more comfortable he says because the thermostat listens to him. He walks by the thermostat and his motion causes the unit to light up acknowledging his presence. It encourages exercise too as he goes by often to let it know he’s there. And I’m a bit saner with one less battle to negotiate.
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There is often a lot of hyperbole surrounding the thermostat wars, those who are sensitive to the heat are dying when the temp is above 72 and those who feel most comfortable in the tropics are frozen solid at the same temperature. Living with mom I was fortunate to be a "cold" person and had no problem keeping the house warm, but common sense has to prevail and a reasonable median - 75? - set.
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Lol, my memories of the AC/Thermostat wars of our childhood was one of the reasons that we thought that mom would be healthier and happier in a facility.

When she lived in Independent Living, her apartment regularly felt like a sauna, although I had her doctor explain to her that she was putting her health at risk by keeping her abode so warm. I think it's probably one of the things that led to her stroke, which occurred in July.

Once mom was in a NH, her environment was temperature controlled and she was always dressed in a sweater, summer or not.

Silk underwear also helps retain heat.

You are not required to endanger your OWN health in order to care for your elders.
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That is a horrible situation. Can you put a lock on the thermostat or put it up higher? You shouldn't have to live like that. Set the thermostat to where you are comfortable, and if they are cold they will put on a sweater. You could get a window ac for your room. Put sweaters close by where they can see them. It might work, good luck.
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I feel your pain, catrisler. I compromise and keep the thermostat set on 80. Still in the morning and late in the evening she is too cold and wants to turn the AC off. In the afternoon and evenings, she is too warm and wants to turn it on. She drives me crazy about the temperature of the house. Really it isn't the house temperature that's the problem. The cold that comes toward the end of life isn't fixed by cranking up the house temperature. That just kills anyone else around the elder. That kind of cold is on cured metabolically and with exercise, but that is hard for elders to do.

The thermostat wars are probably one of the hardest things for live-in caregivers to endure. Sometimes I'm afraid to leave for a couple of hours because no one is here to protect the rabbit from heat stress.

I've learned it isn't possible to reason with older people about closing vents and putting on warm clothes when it is their house. Winters are okay. We can close the vents and open the windows. Summers are when it gets rough. For our own health, we have to force a compromise with them no matter how much we hear bad stuff yelled at us.
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We have that problem at my aunt's house. I give (and she does too) everyone permission to turn the thermostat down or on if she has turned it off. She wants them to be comfortable even if she isn't but she forgets and turns it off.
She claims she doesn't touch it but I see her do it on camera. It's almost like a reflex. She walks by and she turns it off. Then, she will get too hot and start taking off shirts. Then she will turn it on really low and the place will be freezing. Sometimes we will see that she has the back door open for her dog and the AC blasting away. It can be a real problem.
I bought a Nest thermostat which is designed to be programmed remotely. Can be adjusted with my phone. I haven't gotten it installed yet so can't tell you how well it will work but it comes with great reviews. The plan is to leave the existing control where it is, unconnected but with the batteries still in it so she can have the satisfaction of adjusting the control even though it doesn't affect the actual temp.
It will cost a bit more to run a separate line for the new one and to put it in a place out of her usual area. After I bought it (at the suggestion of a niece) I learned that the AC unit has to be compatible (late enough model) with the thermostat so I have that to check out. Just mentioning it here so if you decide to look into one, you also need to check that part out.
My aunt does wear extra clothing when she has people staying that require the temp to be really cool. She'll put an extra blanket on her bed, etc. Circulation gets bad in feet and hands and they do get cold. Wool socks, flannel shirts,cuddle duds, undershirts all help. Getting up and moving about is what they really need to do, not just creeping from one chair to the next. I give her chores to do when I need it to cool off the kitchen while I work. Like chopping celery or onions or carrots or peeling eggs. I notice she takes a layer or two off when she gets busy. I also use a stand fan at times when she has let the house get too hot. I can put the thermostat down but it is going to take a few hours before the house is cool enough to add more heat with the range or oven or dishwasher. I try to utilize the convection oven or the microwave or crock pot more during hotter months. I also check vents above her chair and bed to make sure she isn't in direct line for the coolest air.
They really are cold and you really are hot so you have to work together to find a solution. Call them before you leave the office and ask them to put the unit on 70 or whatever number you choose. That's when they can go put on an extra layer and get up and do a few chores. Set the table or water the plants, fold laundry, take out garbage (whatever their capabilities) or something that gets them moving. If you are like most women when you come home from work you start your second shift and want to make dinner, pick up the house and maybe do laundry so think about ways you can have less stress and not have to work as hard in the evening hours.
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well, I asked the maintenance staff at work about the thermostat. They just laughed and explained that they were ordered to run a certain program by the boss and that is what is going on. BUT they left the thermostat "available" but not connected. Or they could just "come clean" and explain that it is not workable, but I guess they don't want to admit that yet. Can you "lock down" a heating/cooling program and tell everyone that they have to adjust by wearing extra clothing as needed?
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