My mother always feels cold even when the temperature in the house is set at 20.5 degrees. Any suggestions? - AgingCare.com

My mother always feels cold even when the temperature in the house is set at 20.5 degrees. Any suggestions?

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My 79 year old mum recently came to live with us (hubby and me) and I am worried that she is always cold when we find the temperature very warm our house is well insulated and heated at 20.5 degrees. We have turned the heating up to 21/22 degrees but then we feel like there is no air to breathe. Mum has her own space downstairs to sit in if she wishes and also has a halogen heater in her room which she uses and has told us to leave the temperature at 20.5. On the over hand she insists on her bedroom being cool (which I find far too cold to sleep in). I am worried and feel guilty that she is feeling cold when we are comfortably warm. We are both still adjusting to her coming to live with us and sometimes its really hard and I get quite depressed and upset about it all (I broke down at the doctors the other day and at work). Is there anyone else in the same position that can share their thoughts on how to cope with a parent moving in. My husband is being a brick considering it is not his mum We love her to bits and would not want to upset her. Many thanks.

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VenturaGirl: Just as you cannot help being hot due to your physical condition, she cannot help being cold due to hers. But while your hot flashes come and go, she is cold all of the time. You can keep the room temperature comfortable by supplying her with things to help her keep warm. I know quite often the elderly do not want to wear layers or change their routine in any way. I even bought my mom silk longjohns, no weight to them at all, and she wouldn't wear them. An electric blanket she can sit on in her favorite chair will provide basic warmth; an electric heater that can blow right on her will be of tremendous help as well. You will need an electric heater for the bathroom, too, or she will stop showering in the winter because the feeling of cold is just too intense. Please understand the feeling of cold is very real, to the point of shivering and shuddering so badly as to cause muscle spasms. Also, if she won't take vitamins (my mom wouldn't), make sure her diet includes things rich in potassium and magnesium; a lack of those two minerals can also cause her to feel cold. Oh, and are you taking anything to help with your hot flashes? At the very least there are soy products that can help a bit; for really bad symptoms there is hormone replacement therapy. For me, menopause came and never left; I've been taking hormones for 15 years - you don't have to just suffer through it.
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If she's still capable, I'd consider moving out. You moved in to help with your dad and he's now in another place...

The only other thing I'd point out is my mom keeps the temperature at 78 degrees in her place and just had a nosebleed. I think it's because her place is so hot and dry. But I can't convince her to keep it cooler; she's happy where it is. Thankfully I don't live with her or I'd be having the same fight you are.
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I am currently living with my mother who is healthy but she is 82. I am 56 and going through menopause, so I have hot flashes while he is always cold. We have been arguing over the heater for a year now-- she wants it up and I need to have the house cooler to not start sweating. I have suggested layers, because it would be easier for her to put clothes on than for me to take my clothes off! If I take all of my clothes off and wear shorts or something I feel cold (my temperature is unregulated in the other direction)! She doesn't want to compromise, pointing out that this is "her" house. I came here to help her with my dad during the difficult time when he was living at home, she was his primary caregiver, and now he is living in a home. I help her still with housework and visiting Dad, so I feel like I am an equal here. I want to do the right thing, but this situation is driving a wedge between us. What should we do?
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Only thing missing from the suggestions above is maybe a sheepskin or lambskin for her main easy chair? - cosy, great insulation and they're said to help prevent pressure sores too. But she'll never feel "normally" warm if she's not moving around, is the thing. Stay in one position too long and we all feel stiff and shivery. Any moving around she can manage comfortably is better than nothing.
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There are times my mom wants the heat turned on when it's 85 degrees outside and the a/c turned on when it's 40. Yesterday she took her socks off b/c she said they made her feet too hot and then complained right away that her ankles were cold. Whatever it is -- it is truly baffling.
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How I hate snuggies. You have to keep pulling them up over your shoulders. A good shawl works much better.
No one has mentioned the head. We loose a fantastic amount of heat from our heads. I can't remember how much but it's a lot so wear a hat or at least have a light warm scarf around the neck. Wear sweats to bed, they are so cozy and pure wool socks if you are not allergic. Sheepskin slippers or boots are wonderful. Wicked good slippers from LLBean are well worth the investment.
Sounds as thought Mom is very willing to co-operate with you so as long as she has autonomy for the temperature in her area don't worry too much. Another thing that will make the temperature more comfortable is the use of a humidifier in winter and dehumidifier in summer. That way you won't have to adjust the temperature up or down as much.
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I have the same problem with my 89 year old Dad. I got him a electric throw. He comes to living room and sets in recliner and he uses it summer and winter. This way we dont have to turn heat up.
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Be sure to check thyroid. It made a HUGE difference when my husband got put on synthroid and his level evened out as it should be.
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Snuggie!
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Thank you all for your responses they have all been extremely helpful and supportive.
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