Grandma is Always Cold

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by blu, Oct 23, 2019.

  1. blu

    blu Registered User

    Mar 21, 2019
    My 94 year old grandmother who lives with me always complains she's cold. Although, in the bathroom, she often gets warm and rolls up her sleeves due to the work she's doing (actually moving around - walking, pulling down her pants, etc.).

    Our household is in disagreement about what our thermostat should be set to. I've already compromised and keep it warmer than I did before she moved in, but if I kept it as warm as she'd like, I would not be able to tolerate it. Right now it's 20 degrees Celsius in the house and 17.7 degrees outside and she's cold. I'm comfortable. Another family member turned the heat up a smidge and I thought I was gonna die, luckily I turned it back before it got too warm. But now my face is so hot it feels like it's burning.

    My argument is that since I'm the primary caregiver and I do ALL the work and everyone else just sits on their rear end all day, the thermostat should be set as high (warm) as I can tolerate and everyone else should put on more clothes or blankets. Unfortunately, I can't have a little space heater or heated blanket for grandma due to safety concerns. I'm looking at a few things I can do to generate more heat in the room but it still won't be as warm as she'd like. Considering she sleeps most of the time, I don't think she needs the room that warm.

    I'm interested in knowing how others handle this type of situation? I'm sure this is a fairly common problem during the cooler months. In case it matters, she is on a blood thinner (Xarelto) and has hypothyroidism which she takes medication for. She wears a long sleeve t-shirt with a sweatshirt or sweater over top. She wears fleece pajama pants all the time and socks.
  2. nitram

    nitram Registered User

    Apr 6, 2011
    North Manchester
    She may feel cold even if she is warm, not much you can do about that.

    However feeling warm is not directly related to ambient temperature.
    You can feel warm in the sun but cold in the shade even though the air temperature is the same.
    A given indoor ambient temperature can feel OK in summer but cold in winter, this is because the interior walls are colder in winter than in summer, the walls are acting like the sun, hence the advantage of cavity filling.
    Moving furniture to provide radiant heat from radiators (bad name in most cases heat is convected) can increase the feeling of warmth even if ambient temperature does not change.
  3. Jessbow

    Jessbow Registered User

    Please dont underestimate how hypothyroid, even treated, affects body temperature.

    I have a long sleeved T shirt AND a brushed cotton shirt on, a knee length sweater, Jeans and two pair of socks on ( and bootee slippers) . My thermostat is set at 19 and I am not over warm, and I am mobile, not just sitting.

    I find a soft fleece blanket over my legs when i sit does keep me warm.
    Feel her hands and feet, mine are always freezing.
    Being cold is miserable

    What about a well wrapped hot water bottle in the small of her back in the chair?
  4. CardiffGirlInEssex

    CardiffGirlInEssex Registered User

    Oct 6, 2018
    My parents (84 & 92 years old) have their thermostat set at 24 degrees. They wear thick jumpers over a couple of under layers and despite this, dad is just comfy and mum is always cold. When I visit I wear t shirt and shorts indoors, and in my room I turn the radiator off and open the window. They are not mobile much at all, especially mum, so they feel cold. Interestingly, my husband (who is close to them in age, nearly three decades older than me) has also begun to feel colder in the last couple of years despite being very fit and healthy so I think it is at least partly age related.
  5. Beanie01

    Beanie01 Registered User

    Dec 4, 2017
    Do your radiators have individual thermostats? Could you turn down the radiators in some rooms and close the doors so that you at least have somewhere cooler to escape to? Obviously, given your grandmothers age, health, and reduced mobility, she will find it much more difficult to retain heat than you.
    You could also consider her wearing a thermal vest and/or long johns as an additional layer. More thin layers are warmer than fewer thicker layers. Hope you resolve your dilemma!
  6. Jaded'n'faded

    Jaded'n'faded Registered User

    Jan 23, 2019
    High Peak
    Hot water bottles with a fluffy cover. (Mine is a green crocodile...) Or there are ones you heat up in a microwave - not dangerous at all.

    Fluffy fleece blankets - you can get big really soft ones from Home Bargains and elsewhere. And a big fluffy dressing gown she can put round her - Primark have some good ones.
  7. silver'lantern

    silver'lantern Registered User

    Apr 23, 2019
    I think at 94 she will feel colder than you, especially as she is not mobile. Being tired also lowers body temp. I personally would rather grandmother was cosy toasty warm and comfortable. As has been suggested already light thermal layers might help too. and keeping one room at a lower temp so you have somewhere comfortable too. Is you thermostat mobile? Could you move that to a smaller cosy room for grandmother wrapped in thermals, blankets and cosy pillows and maybe have rest of the house cooler by turning down rad stats having the thermostat in her room with closed doors will keep it at a more stable temp for her. and the rest of the house be cooler for yourself
  8. Dimpsy

    Dimpsy Registered User

    Sep 2, 2019
    Grandma needs warmth inside her body not just warmth from clothing/blankets/water bottles/central heating.
    Encouraging her to drink warm fluids will make a difference as well, tea, cocoa, soup; my mum likes warm squash, whatever she likes and warm food at mealtimes will hopefully stoke the fires from within.
    Is she able to exercise at all? It sounds as if Grandma is mobile, so if she can do some gentle exercises sat in her chair maybe, you can all join in and make it fun, that will help her circulation and warm her up as well.
  9. Normaleila

    Normaleila Registered User

    Jun 4, 2016
    Hi. I'm turning into the old lady who's always cold! I need a scarf at my neck most of the time. And a fleece blanket over my knees - even in the car.
  10. Linbrusco

    Linbrusco Registered User

    Mar 4, 2013
    Auckland...... New Zealand
    My daughter has auto immune Hypothyroidism.
    If your grandmother hasnt had her levels checked in a while it may be worth checking.
    Rather than layers of clothing, with dementia it can also be the perception of warmth - like visually seeing the sun, a heater or fire, hotwater bottle or heat pack.
  11. Lawson58

    Lawson58 Registered User

    Winter months, I set the thermostat for 22 degrees but my husband always turns it up a notch or two as he does feel the cold more than I do. I have seen his fingers go white with cold even in temperatures of 23 degrees.

    I understand that you do ALL the work but at the end of the day, your grandmother is 94 years old and at that age, she probably doesn't have very good circulation so I think her comfort and welfare should be your main concern. I think it would be horrible to be that age feel cold all the time.

    Perhaps you might try leaving off a layer so that you don't get so hot.
  12. Lyd

    Lyd Registered User

    May 27, 2019
    As a menopausal woman i feel your pain. Its unbearably hot looking after someone who needs the heating up. Then i find myself falling asleep on the sofa the moment i sit down :eek:
  13. Bunpoots

    Bunpoots Registered User

    Apr 1, 2016
    We had this problem when my dad stayed at my house for 2 weeks after an operation. We were boiling while dad was freezing. He refused to wear extra layers or use a blanket and insisted that the room he was in was freezing. Due to safety concerns I didn’t dare make up the fire for him so I bought a small oil-filled radiator which I placed out of sight, behind a screen in a corner of the room. It made a massive difference to the temperature in that room and I felt it was safe enough to leave dad unattended with. It was small enough that it could have been placed behind his chair if necessary and had a thermostat.

    If a heater is definitely out of the question then I’d go with layering of clothes including 2 pairs of socks and a hat/hood if your grandma will wear one. Also blanket and hot water bottle.

    Everyone in our house has a blanket. I keep the thermostat at between 19 and 20 most of the time.
  14. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    I know you feel aggrieved but the brain disease that is dementia also plays havoc with the temperature regulation in people. Whether she should feel warm is not the point - she doesn't and you need to help her. As others have said, it's not just about another fleece on top, it's also about hot food and drink making a difference. Try keeping her room warm while turning the heating down in the others? Have you ever been to a day care centre or a care home? They are recognising this by being tropical and I had to strip down to a t-shirt in them even in winter. It's just the way it is.
  15. Sirena

    Sirena Registered User

    Feb 27, 2018
    You need to find a way to keep her room a bit warmer than the rest of the house. Good idea from Bunpoots about the oil filled radiator, they are pretty safe and they put out a lot of heat. There is no reason to overheat the entire house if she is mostly asleep in one room.

    My mother's care home is always warm, but it's not uncomfortably hot. My mother sometimes complains she's cold - I once visited during a heatwave and found her wearing her heaviest winter jumper and sitting under a fleece blanket, despite it being 30 degrees outside! It's just a feature of the disease and you have to work with it the best you can.

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