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Mum and the house heating


Registered User
May 30, 2015

Mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer's several months ago, she's still in the early stage. For several months now she has had an obsession about the heating in the house, always feeling the radiators and saying that it's cold, and asking Dad to put the central heating on (they moved house a year ago and she doesn't know how the heating works). In reality the temperature is fine, it's far too hot to put the heating on. This is leading to a lot of stress and frustration for Dad. He has tried to gently say that he'll put the heating on, but then not do it, but still she persists. He has tried actually putting the heating on for a while but this is not really an option as the house gets swelteringly hot.

She does tend to feel the cold but we have suggested to her that she should put on an extra layer of clothing, but she won't. Does anyone have any ideas for any strategies we could try to deal with this? One idea we had was to put a fake switch somewhere that we could tell her she could use to give the temperature a boost (a sort of placebo switch). We're not sure that this would convince her though.

Sue J

Registered User
Dec 9, 2009

I have EO symptoms for 6 years now and my thermostat (body, not house!) is up the creek, coupled with other not pleasant symptoms I experience I have learnt that I cannot ignore the ones like getting warm if I feel cold but I also don't want to be up and down like a yoyo putting the heating on, or turning it off. I have several of those lightweight cosy rugs about the house which are light to pick up and just put on and they seem to warm me up quickly. If I don't attend to that need I find it can exacerbate my irritability etc. I often think the heating is off when it isn't. If a blanket doesn't suffice I do put the heating on but I live alone so only affects me.

Maybe you could try getting a couple of blankets as a gift and see if she may find it helps if she'd be willing to use it coupled maybe with saying the cost of gas has gone up very much;)

Hope you find a solution to what is a common problem for dementia sufferers.
Best wishes


Volunteer Moderator
May 9, 2012
south-east London
I agree with Sue - a lightweight cover of some sort seems to do the trick. My husband has early onset dementia and always feels the cold when everyone else is more than warm enough.

Just having a lightweight cover over his lap and legs makes a real difference - I think it was because his body was detecting the tiniest of draughts as a cold blast of air. Anyway, with a light cover he does not feel any kind of draught and is much happier for it.

The other advantage is that it is easy enough to just put the cover aside should he start to feel too warm.

He has also taken to wearing socks in bed - even in the summer, but it's not a big deal and he sleeps so much better as it helps him feel comfortable.


Registered User
Nov 23, 2013
Hi, Take your mum to the doctors and request a full blood check (including thyroid count). Thyroid symptoms can present similar to alzheimers/dementia and also include body temperature issues.

A simple blood test could solve a problem and/or rule it out.

My mum has thyroid issues along with dementia and her gp was not managing her thyroid meds. correctly. The house was so hot (the heating was on all the time and it was summer) it was not true - it felt like a green house - so we took her to see a consultant privately in order to try and sort the issue out. At this time mum was not interacting with people and was always cold.

The consultant increased her meds, the temperature in the house came down and she started to interact with everyone more.

Worth checking just to rule it out.


Registered User
Aug 24, 2013
I'll agree with the thyroid check the feeling the cold thing was the only symptom of what turned out to be a wonky (medical term I've picked up) in my wife.
There are electric throws, like an electric blanket but you sit with it over your knees, round your shoulders and they only use the same amount of electricity as a light bulb.
There are heated pads too you can put on your lap. I used to turn the falme effect fire on, just the imitation flame bit not the actual heating and seeing the flames seemed to make her feel better, again cheap and it solved the problem but do get the thyroid test done.


Registered User
Nov 4, 2014
One other point.the radiators are cold......therefore to a troubled mind the house is cold.
No answers, just a logical reason...sorry.:rolleyes:
You have described exactly what my mum thinks, she no longer understands about the thermostat turning them on and off to regulate the temperature. Luckily she has forgotten about the main thermostat in the hall so when she turns the radiator up I can still control the heat. Mum has a thick fleece throw for her legs but insists on putting it away in a cupboard, when her legs get cold she balances a cushion on them and when I mention the fleece she says that she doesn't need me to keep getting it out. :rolleyes:


Registered User
May 30, 2015
Many thanks for all your responses and ideas.

On the thyroid issue Mum does have an underactive thyroid but takes Thyroxine for this and this is monitored regularly.

I think cragmaid has made a very incisive point about what could be going on in Mum's mind.

Tommy Glasgow

Registered User
Jul 12, 2015
My mum has the thermostat setting very high. So the house is really warm. She has a blanket made up of knitted squares which is surprisingly cosy. If her hands feel cold it comes out.