Why is my mom cold all the time?

Asked by

My 90 yr. old mother is living with my husband and me. She has her chair by the sliding glass door which I like leave open for fresh air and a cool breeze, but not too cool. She is always cold. With summer coming I like to open up the house in the morning. It doesn't help when I have hot flashes and I'm just warm all the time. Why is she so cold all the time? Even when it is hot. She does take a lot f Tylenol for pain. Could that be it or is it something else. I hope someone has an answer because I am ready to move her to assistant living. She does have dementia, maybe the 2nd stage. But she drives me crazy sometimes. I have a choice to take in my grandson who is 10 yrs old with ADHD, bipolar and depression. Which would be worse to deal with? I also have mild depression. Thanks and have a great day

Answers 1 to 10 of 25
Top Answer
One fact of life is that old people get cold. Many will crank up the thermostat to 90 and try to kill everyone else around them in their quest to stay warm. I went through this with my father (age 89-91) and now my mother (86). There are several reasons. First, the metabolic rate goes down, so they are not generating as much heat as they did when young. Second, they are less active, so not generating heat. Third, they are not eating as much bulky food -- a source of heat when being digested. And last, blood flow to the distal parts (hands, feet) is suppressed, making them like ice even when it is warm.

A bad thing is that many older people won't wear jackets or use blankets to stay warm. If it is their house, chances are great they will just turn the thermostat up. One of my favorite examples was a story of a family going to visit Grandma during a blizzard in the north. The kids wore their shorts. :) I can relate.

Around here I keep the vents to my room and my rabbits' room closed. That way she can have her heat and I can hide out in my cooler quarters. I dread summers here, though. It is always a battle when I need air conditioning. I do the best I can for me and my rabbits one day at a time.
When I go visit my mom in her independent living facility and it's 90 degrees outside, the folks walking around have on sweaters and long-sleeve shirts. So your mom is normal for her age group. My 93-year old mom sits with a wool blanket on her legs most of the time, because her legs get cold and ache.

So just provide your mom some sweaters and afghans to put over her. Or even consider a heating blanket for her. You can be comfortable and so can she!
Yes they are cold all the time as first commenter stated reasons. Same thing for me, I like the fresh air so I invested in several nice comfy throws n sweaters for her and in coldest months an electric throw. Even got her some mittens and fur lined boots n slippers, her feel and hands are the coldest!
Good luck!
Always keep them away from the thermostat, or just keep going behind them turning it up or down. If not you will be miserable. I think it is because their metabolism is lower, and the fat insulation under the skin is thin along with the skin itself. I can understand how they would be cold.
My Mom is always cold because of her thyroid... so you will see her with long pants, thermo undershirt, knit long sleeve shirt, sweater, scarf around her neck and also wearing knee socks/shoes. Dad on the other hand, is wearing shorts and a sleeveless undershirt [sometimes with no undershirt at all], and barefoot... at least in winter he goes to longer pants, t-shirt, and socks. Both are in their 90's. And their home feels like a sauna. No wonder they nap so much :P
Many older people feel the cold more due to medications, diseases such as thyroid, heart of diabetes or circulation issues. My dad is the same way. I purchased him lined slacks and flannel shirts for winter and he usually wears a t shirt under the flannel. Having taken care of a special needs child and a demented loved one, neither are easy. As a rule, a caregiver must make sure they care for themselves or they won't be able to care for anyone else. Having a child with ADD & bipolar is a real handful and would include behavior and medication management as well as doctor and therapy appointments. someone with dementia could also include behavior and medication management and medical appointments. As her dementia progresses, she may begin to wander or stay up all night-this could pose a serious problem. Only you know what is right for you and your family. There are programs that allow for in home help if she qualifies and programs that will help pay for assisted living if she qualifies. You could also look into an adult medical day care program for your mom. This would get her out of the home for a few hours each day. Assisted living can be a great place for a loved one to go, especially if they have dementia. You can have more pleasant visits when you are not stressed out over her care. You must prepare yourself if you decide to care for your grandson. Speak with his doctors his therapist, ask questions on what to expect, ask questions on behavioral management and medications. If that's what you decide to do, if one thing doesn't work, try something else. There are a lot of behavioral interventions, and remember your grandson will have highs and lows. With your love and support he can be a happy, well adjusted child that grows into a responsible young man. Good Luck.
Just FYI. The original post is almost 2 years old.
The woman who moved in with us was a completely different one than I remembered. Not only is she always cold, but she thought we should have turned down the A/C for her. This is SoCal, we've had a very hot year. Finally, I put a piece of plastic on her vent and opened the windows. She is finally happy with the 90 degree temp, but I dread what will happen when it drops below 80 degrees again, then she'll be asking for a space heater in her room with her four cats who also made the move with her. I'm so happy to know I'm not the only one with this problem, I thought I had gone insane. Thanks.
I found this post while searching for a reason my 88-yr-old healthy mother is always freezing....seriously. We live in FL and she still insists sleeping with the system on 80 degrees. As someone else said, she refuses to dress more warmly instead as I live in shorts and muscle shirts (at 68 yrs old!). I used to close the vent in my bedroom, close my bedroom door, and open the window when it's in the 70's outside but I'm learning this is bad for the circulation and air flow of the HVAC system. I even bought her a whisper quiet tower heater but she won't use it. So I am just suffering. As she is healthy, eats well, and is under her own power, this may be my lifestyle for many years to come. Thanks to this thread that allowed me to vent. Good luck to everyone. Sharon
I close things off so that I can stay cooler. I decided years ago that my health and comfort were more important than the system. My mother also closes off large parts of the house so she can concentrate the heat in certain areas. She closes off her bedroom during the day, then complains that it is too cold in the evening, so cranks the heat up. It's her house, her heating/cooling system. I just do what I need to stay cool enough. They requires for her to compromise many times, even when she doesn't want to.

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support