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She gets so angry at me and yells for days that there is something wrong with the unit. We have tried every way to explain why it is so high but she will not hear it. Any ideas about a better way to handle this? I am an only child so I have to deal with all the caregiving and I have read & studied this diease enough to know how fast things can change but until we get to summer I don't see this situation changing. Any suggestions?

Also, silk scarves. Drafts down the neck make the whole of you feel chilly, and a well-tucked scarf makes all the difference. And I don't care how old and eccentric I have just proved myself to be.
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BarbBrooklyn Jan 23, 2019
I'm going out to buy at least one tomorrow! Thank you!
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There are a few things you can do to help keep an elder warm and still reduce the heating bill. Some of these might be helpful for your mother.

A humidifier (either whole house or a couple of stand alone units) will make the house feel warmer at a lower temperature since heat dries the air.

Keeping the skin well moisturized with lotions and cremes reduces the body's heat loss.

Layered clothing helps too - either wearing a silk legging lying close to the skin under pants and a sweater or two shirts (usually one short sleeve and one long sleeve) or a throw blanket over the legs when sitting. The layers don't need to be heavy, just one layer close to the skin and a second looser layer over it.

A small ceramic heater placed in the room(s) your mother occupies most can raise the temperature in those rooms.

Close off the vents and shut the curtains and doors on extra bedrooms when no one is using them. Close curtains or blinds over all the windows during cold nights.

A programmable thermostat that reduces the house temperature 6-10 degrees overnight when everyone is beneath the bed covers can have a significant impact on the bill. If your mother gets up at night but stays in her bedroom, use the ceramic heater to keep her room and bath warm.

Is there an exterior door that feels cold to the touch or has a draft? Use a push-rod (they make them now with a piece that will fit into the space between the door and frame) to place a curtain and cover the door to the floor, all winter if you don't use it much or only at night if you do.

As my mother aged she began to dislike any air flow directly on her (even heated air) so you may want to consider covers that direct the vent air away from your mother.

If funds and energy are available, consider installing energy saving blinds or curtains (particularly over large windows), replacing drafty windows or add some new winter stripping to exterior door. Some older steel doors do not have much insulation and a $200 insulated new door in colder climates can pay for itself in one winter.
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Judysai422 Jan 25, 2019
Great ideas except for the ceramic heater....they are huge electricity drains.
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The problem is your mom sees the bill. Does she pay online? If not, setup her utility bill so that it no longer comes to the house. Let mom know that you spoke to the utility company about her high bill and they agreed to address her concerns. If your mom is true to form for most older folks with dementia, she will have very little interest in it once it’s not her task to complete. When she brings it up occasionally, like “was my bill high this month again,” you simply say “no, it was the correct amount.”
i had a terrible time getting control of my dad’s finances, but the second I did, he lost interest in it altogether. He won’t even open junk mail now. He just sits everything in a pile for me.
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Sanibel01 Jan 25, 2019
Great solution IsntEasy! We have found the same to be true with my m-i-l. Once something is not her responsibility or in her line of sight she has no interest in it.
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Frustrating. Seems like a lot of elders like to complain. AND to be warm! Any way you could keep her from seeing the high bills so she doesn't have to get so upset and can just enjoy being warm?
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We had to buy a lock box to cover the thermostat when my parents still lived at home. My father was constantly fiddling with the thermostat with disastrous results.

I dress warmly (long sleeves or thin jacket) inside my house during the cold days and use an area heater for the livingroom. I agree, a light scarf can do wonders to keep the body warm all over. I got my mother a warm fluffy bed jacket (you know, the old-fashioned kind) to wear at the nursing home. I liked it so much that I got one for myself.

There have been so many good suggestions given already. The question is, will your mother be open to implementing any of them?
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vickyl Jan 23, 2019
thanks for all the good advice the only problem is just like you asked and that's the really big problem, she is not open to any suggestions right now, her only solution is to get mad and say something is wrong with the heating system which we have checked and it is only a couple of years old. so hoping warmer weather will be arriving soon or she will be fixated on something different next week. again thanks for the feedback.
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Well you’ve gotten all kinds of practical advice. And I hope some of it might work, like the silk under layers, etc. However it seems you want to know how to handle her anger. Why does she even see the bill? Can you have it sent to you or even better, electronically not via snail mail? Your mom will NEVER understand any amount of reasoning on her part due to the dementia. Also her dementia causes her to perseverate on the matter to no end. So my advice is to get it where she won’t see the bill. You can easily sign up for electronic statements and have it sent to your email. Then read up on how to handle diffusing these kinds of discussions. Statements like,"yes that is high mom, I’ll look into it for you". Even though you may have to say it over and over till you’re ready to kick the cat, you are addressing her concerns. Otherwise she thinks you’re arguing with her. Believe me..I’ve been round the bend on the thermostat issue with my dad who could fix anything but couldn’t for the life of him figure out the thermostat in his unit. Reasoning is useless as is arguing. I sure hope this helps.
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disgustedtoo Jan 25, 2019
NO KICKING THE CAT!!!!! =^..^=
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My Moms always cold and the best I’ve found for her is to wear a thermal camisole under her sweaters. For her cold little hands I bought a pair of gloves with with the fingers cut off like young girls wear. $3.50 on sale at the drug store and they work great.
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This might not be a popular answer but you can buy a lock to cover the thermostat.  You see these in businesses so staff and clients can't mess with it.  They have clear ones that lock with a key.
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You can buy a programmable thermostat for around 35.00, but she can override the programming and even mess it all up pushing buttons.

I would do a couple of things.

1st - get more healthy fats in her diet, this will increase her metabolism and help her feel warmer.

2nd - get a good quality space heater, infrared technology is safe, you want something that has a low fire risk, I use radiant heaters that shut off if they get overheated and squawk if they are tipped, however, they get hot and I wouldn't use anything that gets hot to the touch around seniors or children. Do some research online, you'll find a good unit that is cost effective to run.

Maybe get one for the bathroom and one for her bedroom, that way you can heat the areas she is in while she is in them and turn the house thermostat down, as well as turn the units off when not needed.

It takes a while for us to get chilled if we are nice and cozy, so unless she spends her day throughout the entire house, this could be a good solution.

You will spend anywhere from 100 to 250 for a good, energy efficient unit, but they pay for themselves quickly in comfort and savings.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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there are some really ultra thin, silky long johns that slide off and on easily, look good and keep you warm underneath whatever else is piled on top. My mom liked the silky feel so much she didn’t grumble about wearing them.
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freqflyer Jan 23, 2019
My Mom use to buy Duddl-Duds, very light weight and they worked :)
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