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Hello all you dear caregivers!


Mom - 92
Lives with me and hubby
Original delusion was that hubby was shining lights on her in the night.
That one has stopped.
Now, she says he's blowing cold air on her. Says he put together a machine that he can flip on and off to do this.
Now we hear this all day long. Not just at night, like when she thought there were lights on her.
It's 60 degrees out, the heat is set to 70. She could have 4 blankets and a coat on. But her delusion tells her she has air on her and she is freezing.
I'm at my wits end because nothing I say or do helps her comfort level.
We have an electric heater near her. I make hot water bottles. I bought an electric blanket. NOTHING stops this delusion.
I really need advice or suggestions.

Ask Mom where she feels the air blowing on her. I can say that as I suffer from bursitis in my right shoulder the slightest air movement in the room can have me suffering. When we have the fans running in the summer we have to make sure they are directed correctly and forget using a ceiling fan. I can just about tolerate the A/C being on. At work they had to add air deflectors to the vents in the ceiling so I could sit at my desk. I sit at home most nights with a heavy blanket over that shoulder
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Reply to EllensOnly
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My mom has delusions - we have had tests run - it's delusion. I never know how to respond to her. Is she having a good day? Can we laugh? If I laugh, will I set her off? Why is her medicine in the fridge? Where did her medicine go?

Why are you mad that I took the car? You can leave the house or drive (ok - I shouldn't have said that one).

I'd give everything I have to take the mental aspects away. The doctors are assuring me that time and stability will help. No medical reasons they can find for the delusions. Yay?
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Reply to amicaring4mom
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My dementia afflicted 67 yo loved ones delusions were so extreme it was complete insanity.
Finally a psychiatrist put her on a low dose anti psychotic. This is the only thing that took them away. Pros & Cons of anti psychotic medication is an ongoing conversation, but I’m thankful she’s no longer having the delusions.
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Reply to Getkicksonrte66
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Has she been fully evaluated? My friend’s 85 year old mom suddenly became delusional. He took her to the ER, where she tested negative for a UTI. They wouldn’t do any further evaluation, so he took her to another ER and they admitted her. Scans revealed she’d had a concussion from a recent fall. They kept her several days and she’s now improving in re-hab.
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Reply to jakefix
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Don't assume it is completely a delusion that she is cold. My fiance was also always cold; when I reported it to his doctor she increased his dosage of thyroid hormone and it really helped (People with low thyroid are almost always cold. These are the people who wear sweaters in the heat of July!).
Also do what Margaret Mcken suggested and buy the warmest cap you can find. Walmart sold some thick acrylic caps that had two layers for only $5.98 each. Buy non-slip socks or thick socks that aren't too tight around the top.
Continue using the space heater, and also turn up the AC to 73 or 74 if you possibly can. Close the doors to that room so the heat stays inside. Check the seal of the windows because cool air may be blowing through cracks, especially at night.
Bedridden patients almost always lose a lot of body mass, which means that their metabolism isn't creating much natural heat for them. They may need double layers of clothing.
She may be fixated on the temperature because she's anxious. See if her doctor thinks Ativan or another drug for anxiety might make her sleep better. Have her checked for a urinary tract infection; often older people don't feel pain from them, but they do feel anxious.
Last, and this may be the very best idea of all: Look on Amazon.com for a product called HotHands. Another brand is called Little Hotties. These are small, disposable handwarmers that can be shaken for a few seconds and they start heating up. They last for hours and hours, and if they start getting cold, you can often reactivate them by shaking them again. They have been one of the best things I've ever bought—Jim goes to sleep with them in his hands every night, and he very rarely is cold any more.
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Reply to craftslady1
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MargaretMcKen Apr 23, 2020
Socks - my mother was in hospital and had cold feet. I went to the department store close by, couldn't find any socks that weren't too tight for stay-up reasons, asked for some scissors and cut the tops off. The shop assistants were just horrified! Perhaps they thought I was going to ask for a refund!
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Imho, a medication eval would be in order as many medications can cause hallucinogenic images. Not saying this is the case, just suggesting it.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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No-one has mentioned a cold head. We lose a lot of heat through our heads, and it is also where a draft is most likely to hit the skin. ‘Mama in her kerchief and I in my cap’ is the way it used to be even to sleep at night (from ‘Twas the night before Christmas’). Try a fluffy woolly beanie. She might like to chose the colour.
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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How about a weighted blanket? Sometimes when delusions or hallucinations are unpleasant to the elder, medication may need to be considered. I would suggest an evaluation by a geriatric psychiatrist for her delusions. Perhaps medication would give you and she peace. Good luck.
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Reply to Peanuts56
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I totally understand what you are going through. My Mother lived with me for 4 years, from 90 to 94 before she passed. Always cold. Said air was blowing on her in her bedroom. Here is what I did. We totally closed and taped up the vents with duck tape (hers was in the floor and one was right by her bed). I also put a heavy throw over the vent. I put a space heater (one that looks like a radiator) in her room and turned it on at night. That helped a lot. Kept heater at around 74 during the day in the winter with another radiator-typed space heater beside her where she sat and closed off any doors leading to that room. In the summer, kept the air around 76-78 (which is really warm but you get used to it). At night, I made sure the air did not come on and I used ceiling fans in the bedrooms. I got so used to being warm that I would freeze in the summer when I went to someone else's home. My mother would not wear a sweater or any really warm clothing. She did not like a throw on her and did not like heavy bed linens. She at least wore socks to bed. Always made sure at night when she went to the bathroom to get ready for bed that the air conditioner did not come on at all. I would even turn it completely off when she was in the bathroom because it would get cold in there. Hope this helps a little. I feel for you. Can't tell you the arguments we would have about hot and cold air in the house. But with all the changes I did for her, it really did help with her being warm. In the summer if she got too warm, she would turn on the ceiling fan. I forbid her to touch adjustment for the heat pump. Once she did, it was in early fall, I came in it was up to 86 degrees. I thought I would pass out!
Good luck.
Shannon
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Reply to ShannieC
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What kind of heating system does the house have? If it is a heat pump, then sometimes 70 F can feel cold because the air coming out of the system is only slightly warmer than the ambient air in the room. However, I would think the extra heater, extra blankets, clothes, etc. would offset what I've described above (if that's even the case.)
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Reply to jacobsonbob
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Yes, I love the idea of "dismantling the machine." That will hopefully help her feel validated. And meantime making sure she has something warm on top of her head. My Mom is always cold and she swears that cold air is pouring in thru the walls. Not sure if there's any truth to that but a scarf with a "hoodie" type thing on it really helps her. The wool cap is a great idea. I think a lot of body heat escapes thru the top of the head.
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Reply to Rosewood56
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The answer given to dismantling the machine is in my opinion brilliant
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Reply to beeje7623
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You can’t fight a delusion. If you can’t redirect her, give her another blanket

my mother was positive the cat litter box was “ growing” birds that were attacking the cat. Eventually she moved on to another one.
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Reply to Jannner
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Nothing you can do or say she does not hear you or understand. My mom is almost 92 living me and hubby going on 30 years now! I believe she stated having dementia long ago. But it is 3 & 1/2 years now if full blown Louie Body Dementia now. Nothing I say or do makes any difference with her she now makes non verbal sounds. Instead of asking for something she will make these sounds. So I just let her be. After awhile I will ask her if she needs anything, 99% of the time is an unreasonable request like yesterday, she wanted her parents, or to go home which is in her mind in the 1930’s. So all I can do is put her in her wheelchair and put her in another room. That seems to do the trick.
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Reply to Teeavilnor
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Also, have her checked for a UTI. My mom's delusions are heighted when she has one.
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Reply to Kimhoos
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I wish I knew. We are having problems combining my mother she is home and we have not brought her to New Hampshire! I’m just responding to send you a heartfelt cyber hug!
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Reply to Celladore
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Is dementia the cause for her delusions. I didn't see that listed on your profile. If that is the case, then, you know that there is no way you can convince someone that their delusion is false. They will just not believe you and continue to believe what they know to be true.

The repeating is also another symptom on dementia. Sometimes, it comes due to the person forgetting that they have already told you the story 25 times that day. To them, it's the first time. And, telling someone that they have already told you won't work or stop them from repeating, because, they forget that you told them that. So, it's a matter of just listening and pretending it's the first time you've heard it. Eventually, this stage will pass. With my LO, it lasted about a year, but ,people vary.

I would CHECK WITH HER DOCTOR about her being cold. It could be her thyroid. When you have low thyroid, it can make you freezing cold and nothing helps. Have they checked that lately? OH, I would NOT allow a person who has dementia to use an electric blanket. Their brain cells are damaged and she may not realize she is burning her skin. I'd avoid her being by an electric heater too. Her judgment may be impaired and she could touch it and burn herself.

I'd also inquire what is causing the delusions and memory loss, if it's not dementia.
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Reply to Sunnygirl1
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Her original delusion about the lights has stopped, this one will eventually also. However, she needs to be evaluated to determine what's causing the delusions. Is it psychosomatic? Is it dementia, and if so what's causing the dementia? Delusions are difficult to treat because the person truly believes what they experience, they're not very receptive to seeing a psychiatrist.

It doesn't appear that layering clothes will work, neither does denying that the problem exists. Try this... tell her your sorry but your husband thought she would like the cool air but apparently it's too much. He's dismantled the machine/fan and put it away.

If she believes it exists, she may believe its been removed.

This delusion will eventually fade but may be replaced by another. She needs to be evaluated. Bring it up at her next doctor's appt. Good luck.
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Reply to sjplegacy
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As usual, lealonnie1 gives excellent advice. One of the things that stands out is for you to remember that to her, she is not imagining things. In her final years, when her dementia was really advanced, my mother lived in a world of delusions; too many to even go into. One of the most fantastic was that they had moved her whole brick and mortar facility and all it’s occupants to Russia overnight. I never, ever tried to dissuade her of her delusions. If she became upset and anxious, I’d speak with the nurse and ask if she thought a mild sedative would help.

Its so difficult not to become annoyed and accept the way our loved ones are now.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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Well, I assume dementia/Alzheimer's is involved here, even though you are not listing your question in that category. Delusions of this nature are common with brain diseases such as those and medications are available to help. She'll need an evaluation by her doctor and a MOCA or SLUMS test to see where she falls on the dementia spectrum right now. Then you'll know what you're dealing with, and how far along she is with the disease. The doctor can then prescribe medications to soothe her anxiety and calm down her delusions.

In the meantime, if she's truly feeling cold, that's a pretty easy fix; dressing her in layers is the key. Get her long underwear, first of all. Over the long underwear, put a down vest on her:
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=down+vest+women&crid=MIWB3SLDU6E9&sprefix=down+vest%2Caps%2C192&ref=nb_sb_ss_i_2_9

Be sure to put on a pair of down booties as well:
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=down+booties+for+women&crid=1PWLQ6TLQ4J3P&sprefix=down+booties%2Caps%2C200&ref=nb_sb_ss_i_3_12

Socks under the booties, of course, and something warm on her hands. A wool hat and scarf should help as well. Then you can put a warm throw around her to finish it all off.

She'll be sweating bullets in no time and then you can remove articles of clothing, one at a time.

Here is a link to an article on the subject: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/daily-living/keeping-warm-dementia

Remember, a delusion to you is real to her. Also take into consideration that a calorie = a unit of heat. Is she eating sufficiently? If not, this could be a contributing factor to why she's so cold. If her body feels icy cold, her broken mind is telling her the reason is because your husband is blowing cold air on her. She could also have circulation issues that result in her feeling so cold all the time.

And finally, go to Alzheimers.org and read up on the subject of dementia & Alzheimers. YouTube videos by Teepa Snow are also very helpful in finding effective ways to communicate with her and to understand the disease yourself. Knowledge is power!

Wishing you the best of luck!
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Reply to lealonnie1
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