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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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Since mom is downstairs, her area is going to be cooler than yours - heat rises. We had a similar problem with our mother, but she would not dress for warmth so we had to bring in several electric heaters that she could turn on or off at will. Even in the summer we'd find her sitting in front of her heater, even though the room temperature was 79 deg. F. Her hands would feel like ice - her circulation was just so poor she could not stay warm. Try putting an electric blanket on her favorite chair so she can have a warm seat, and can pull the excess over the front of her body if she gets really cold. But eventually you are going to have to resign yourself to keeping an electric heater blowing right on her to keep her warm. The new electric heaters are very energy efficient; they won't be as hard on your electric bill as those old electric heaters.
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When I go visit my mom in independent living, I'm sweating like crazy and the folks there are in sweaters and jackets. So that's very common. I agree with everyone else. Get your mom some lap blankets (electric if she's really cold). I just ordered my mom some leg warmers, because her legs ache. My late dad had a shoulder that ached, so I got him a shoulder warmer thing. So find your mom some warmer clothes (my mom always wears a camisole under her blouses even in the 90 degree days of summer) and you'll all be happier.
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My Mother experienced the same issue. Maybe have her B-12 levels checked and/or thyriod. Conditions with health can make someone colder than normal. These are two that can really make a difference in the health and comfort of an eldery person.
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Good for you for taking your mom in, although it will be an adjustment as you are experiencing now. If she is cold and needs it warmer, this is more of a circulation (body) problem. How much does she weigh? If she is tiny, then layer her with clothing, have the doctor check her for anemia as one can have anemia with a low B-12 count as well as low iron. If her blood work comes back "normal" get her the gel filled blankets which will keep her warm. Most others have made good suggestions on how to keep warm here. Be sure to keep her feet covered as a lot of moisture is lost in the feet. Keep her hydrated as well, and put the thermostat at a comfortable level for you and your husband. She can always put more clothing on, she is living in your house, and you can only take off so much clothing. Tell her she can have all the warmth in coverings she wants, but you need to be comfortable too. She is treating you like a child you always were to her. Act like an adult and stand up for your husband and yourself.
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You don't say if your mom has any medical conditions, or where you live, which I assume is outside of the US (?) because you state temperature in Celsius. 20.5 is about 69 F, isn't it? That should be relatively comfortable but it depends on her health (as rich says: heart, circulation, blood sugar, etc.).

My mom had reduced kidney function & A-fib. Plus she was 94. She only had a two or three degree tolerance. Almost everything was either too hot or too cold. The Dr said it was part of her condition and part for age.

We lived in the high desert of Southern California where it can get very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter. We had to run the A/C or the heat more than folks might need to. For heating, we found the safest and most economical way to warm a room was with one of those oil heaters that looks a bit like a small radiator. They don't use very much electricity to keep the oil warm, which then radiates into the room.
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It's very common for elderly people to have a difficult time staying warm, as often their circulatory systems are slowing down and unable to keep their bodies at a regulated temperature. This is a normal part of aging, but can also worsen due to illnesses that impact the circulatory system, for example hormonal imbalances, heart disease, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and diabetes. Basically, the heart doesn't do so well at moving warm blood throughout the body, so extremities like hands and feet get cold very easily. You could mention this to her doctor, to see if this is a symptom of something serious, or if it is just a normal part of aging.
Everyone above made wonderful suggestions for layers, blankets, gloves and clothing, so I won't add anything more, except that it sounds like this situation has been stressful for you. It sounds like you are very supportive of your mum and are a wonderful daughter and caregiver- she is lucky to have your care and support. As you are beginning this caregiving journey, it might be a good idea to start out with seeking some support for yourself. So many caregivers wait to reach out for help and support until they are at their breaking point. Looking for support now might help you avoid reaching that point. Maybe there's a support group in your area where you can talk to others who have been in your shoes--they can offer suggestions of what to do, information on what you might expect, share resource information, or even just emotional support. It's amazing how helpful it can be to have someone listen when you are saying, "This is too hard!" "I can't do this anymore!"
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I have a suggestion for this problem.. keep the feet warm.. and the rest of the body will get warm, the feet are the most important area of the body to get warm. My suggestion is put heavy socks in the dryer to get them warm, put them on her feet and use feet warmers as well. If it's possible get her to eat many small portions throughout the day, that will help keep her warm, it doesn't always have to be about keeping the room hot. If she is able, get her to move around a bit and get the blood circulating. Good Luck!!
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I like it cold but keep the house at 72*. She uses several blankets on her bed since she doesn't know how to use the electric blanket anymore. My mom also has a small fleece blanket she really loves. She moves it from room to room draped over her walker. I do need to watch that she doesn't get it tangled in the wheels, but most of the time she doesn't remember where she left it and I get it for her. A warm robe helps, too. When I take her to daycare I turn on the heated seat so I don't have to crank up the heater. Hooray for modern car technology!
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Some things to try that kept me toasty warm when I had a circulation problem:

** Electric lap blanket. Be sure to check the temp as these can get very warm and you don't want to roast your mom. If you don't want an electric one, try a flannel sheet folded in half.
** Layers, layers, layers. A silk undershirt, a warm sweater.
** Gloves with the fingers cut out. You'd be surprised how much heat you lose thru the back of your hand. Cutting the fingers off lets you still grip things. If she has trouble picking things up with cloth gloves, try good fitting leather ones.
** A microwaveable heating sack. Sometimes you find them for bread baskets, but a cloth bag with rice in it works too. She can put it'd in her lap and rest her cold hands on it.
** Keep her core warm. I found that it worked better to warm my core than to concentrate on just my hands and feet, which is where I felt the cold. Do when my feet were cold, I put on my electric blanket and toasted all the way up to my chin.
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This is a problem for me also but I just figure she can put a sweater on, there is only so much that I can take off.
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The best part about LL Bean is everything is 100% guaranteed for life. So if you want to return any item you will get money back. Just save receipts or if not you will get store gift card.
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LL bean an American clothing company for the outdoors has wonderful shirts that have thermal underwear sewn into the shirt as a lining. 100% cotton soft. It's a godsend. Google them they are from the state of ME. They are not cheap but they last forever getting softer. Today in Pennsylvania it's 70 degrees fahrenheit. I have the heat set for 75. My Dad still complained. I put on the shirt, he is comfortable and I turned the heat off. Good luck
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Suet59, yes it is a major adjustment to have one of our parents move in with us. My mom has been in our home for a month now and there are major adjustments all around, especially when they have dementia.
We live in Oregon, in the high desert area so we will have snow on the ground for a couple of months here. I’ve invested in layers. A vest to keep the core body warm for her, some long sleeve light sweaters, some long johns to put under her nightgown at night, hat, gloves, a big sweater to wear in the house if she needs it. Basically try to use layers. It is cheaper than the heating bill.
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Luckily my parents stayed in their own home and we went there to care for them. When we arrived we all stripped off our clothes. I would go with a skimpy top on so that I could throw off any jackets or sweaters. We would walk outside to get a breath of air. They just loved the heat and on top of bundling up and wearing layers (leggings under pants and layers on top), they had their favorite blankets in each room where they sat so they could throw the blanket over their legs, even in the car.

Just saying, this sounds normal. My heart goes out to you. You have the good fortune to share your home. It's a puzzle and I'm sure if you all work together, keep talking with each other, you will find solutions. Best wishes to you...
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Yes, the having a parent move in is quite a change--and not just in temperature! But as for the heating/cooling aspect, I found that layers worked well. When my dad still dressed himself, he often put on three button-down shirts. I still don't know how he managed to get all of them on. At first I turned up the heat, and took off some of the extra clothes. But it was too hot for me and the electric bill was higher than I wanted it to be. T-shirts, long-sleeve shirts, sweaters, blankets (unless tripping is a concern). Also, any movement that your mum could do will help keep the blood circulating and improve warmth from the inside out. One reason Dad has been so cold is because of poor circulation.
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I would leave the temperature at 20.5 as your mom agrees and let your mom use lap blankets, sweaters, etc. to help her feel comfortable. We have a similar problem in our household with air conditioning since we live in Houson, TX. My son and husband need it to be cooler than by dad finds comfortable so he just wears more clothing, long pants and sleeves and a sweater when we are in shorts and tshirts. My dad has been with us about a year and the first few months were the hardest. I seemed to be upset a lot and my husband was the rock. But I think that may be because my dad isn't his dad. I find it very sad when I realize how much my dad has aged because he was the person I always looked up to, went to with my problems, etc. My husband was never my father's child so it does not affect him in the same way. It took me a longer time to get used to the new normal for our family and I am coping better now partly due to the help on this website. I hope your situation will also improve as everyone adjusts to your family's new normal.
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