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Winter weather discussion - ask questions and share advice

SophieD

Administrator
Staff member
Mar 21, 2018
2,315
London
Hi everyone, and welcome to our discussion around living with dementia during the colder months.

It's no secret that the weather has been particularly cold lately. In fact, as I type this, it's currently snowing outside! Winter can be a particularly difficult time for somebody living with dementia. The bad weather and colder temperatures can bring their own challenges, and can sometimes make symptoms temporarily worse. People with dementia aren’t always able to recognise or communicate the fact they’re cold, which can make it even more difficult to manage.

Whether you have dementia, or you care for a loved one with dementia, this discussion is a chance for you to share how the cold weather affects you, ask and answer questions, and share practical advice with other community members. This way you can share your understanding and advice with others who understand and have lived experience to share.
 

WeeDido

Registered User
Feb 24, 2020
24
west of scotland
Hi everyone, and welcome to our discussion around living with dementia during the colder months.

It's no secret that the weather has been particularly cold lately. In fact, as I type this, it's currently snowing outside! Winter can be a particularly difficult time for somebody living with dementia. The bad weather and colder temperatures can bring their own challenges, and can sometimes make symptoms temporarily worse. People with dementia aren’t always able to recognise or communicate the fact they’re cold, which can make it even more difficult to manage.

Whether you have dementia, or you care for a loved one with dementia, this discussion is a chance for you to share how the cold weather affects you, ask and answer questions, and share practical advice with other community members. This way you can share your understanding and advice with others who understand and have lived experience to share.
Hi I believe that PWD who are frailer and have little mobility are certainly prone to feeling colder . My husband in this cold spell wears over the knee woolen leg warmers- his lower legs are like ice to touch- they are a godsend . he also wears a thermal bodywarmer and this is INDOORS as he never ventures over the doorstep. mind you, he's in a wheelchair all day. I always make sure he takes enough warm drinks and that the room he's in is comfortable heatwise. It's said that we lose most body heat through our feet and head so maybe we should all cover up those.
 

CWR

Registered User
Mar 17, 2019
186
It's not just winter; mum complained about feeling cold last June when it was in the mid 20s outside!
 

nae sporran

Volunteer Host
Oct 29, 2014
6,998
Bristol
It's not just winter; mum complained about feeling cold last June when it was in the mid 20s outside!
My partner is like that as well, CWR. I think other people have suggested its because their brains are not so able to regulate temperature properly due to dementia.
 

marionq

Registered User
Apr 24, 2013
6,117
Scotland
I also used to wrap John in a rug when he was sitting in his armchair. He loved to be cosy. In the hospital they gave him a woollen fidget mat and he clutched that to his chest. He started off liking the things on it but quickly just liked the warmth of it. Warmth and comfort is really important to some PWD.
 

White Rose

Registered User
Nov 4, 2018
679
Hi everyone, and welcome to our discussion around living with dementia during the colder months.

It's no secret that the weather has been particularly cold lately. In fact, as I type this, it's currently snowing outside! Winter can be a particularly difficult time for somebody living with dementia. The bad weather and colder temperatures can bring their own challenges, and can sometimes make symptoms temporarily worse. People with dementia aren’t always able to recognise or communicate the fact they’re cold, which can make it even more difficult to manage.

Whether you have dementia, or you care for a loved one with dementia, this discussion is a chance for you to share how the cold weather affects you, ask and answer questions, and share practical advice with other community members. This way you can share your understanding and advice with others who understand and have lived experience to share.
You do have to make sure they are well wrapped up when they go out - also always have to be looking after them when going indoors (e.g shops, cafes, etc) and get them to take coats, hats and gloves off as they aren't able to decide for themselves if they are too hot or too cold. I did wonder if weather has an effect on dementia, e.g my partner always seemed better when he'd been in the sun - we've had so little sun and his symptoms have become much worse, probably just normal progression of the disease because if weather was a factor it would follow that there would be less dementia in countries with sunnier climates. But I did read that light boxes/light therapy can improve symptoms, in which case maybe the sun does also help.
 

Sunshine2*

Registered User
May 16, 2019
97
Hi I believe that PWD who are frailer and have little mobility are certainly prone to feeling colder . My husband in this cold spell wears over the knee woolen leg warmers- his lower legs are like ice to touch- they are a godsend . he also wears a thermal bodywarmer and this is INDOORS as he never ventures over the doorstep. mind you, he's in a wheelchair all day. I always make sure he takes enough warm drinks and that the room he's in is comfortable heatwise. It's said that we lose most body heat through our feet and head so maybe we should all cover up those.
Hello, I agree with your comments. My husband is always cold despite having a thermal top, further top and thick jumper, thick socks and always indoor sheepskin gloves. He was fine, until he had Aplastic Anaemia and then we would have the heating on day and night. He wore thermal bottoms under his trousers, until he had to have an indwelling catheter and leg bag. I’ve often thought about leg warmers as his legs are very cold also. I would be interested to know where to buy these please. Obviously, all the other illnesses including 23 years of MS and MS Dementia and limited mobility haven’t helped. We can only do our very best for them.
 

WeeDido

Registered User
Feb 24, 2020
24
west of scotland
Hello, I agree with your comments. My husband is always cold despite having a thermal top, further top and thick jumper, thick socks and always indoor sheepskin gloves. He was fine, until he had Aplastic Anaemia and then we would have the heating on day and night. He wore thermal bottoms under his trousers, until he had to have an indwelling catheter and leg bag. I’ve often thought about leg warmers as his legs are very cold also. I would be interested to know where to buy these please. Obviously, all the other illnesses including 23 years of MS and MS Dementia and limited mobility haven’t helped. We can only do our very best for them.
Hi @Sunshine2* My husband has virtually no mobility due a massive stroke 9 years ago. No amount of physio could help the bad circulation problems in both legs. He's been wearing compression stockings for about 7 years, always being advised to keep his legs raised but that's not possible due to him being in a wheelchair. The only time there raised is in bed (profiling) which means I can raise the foot area and leave it all night. What a difference this makes by the next morning. But of course, during the day, they're back to being swollen and,as I mentioned icy cold. I remember my oldest daughter bought these leg warmers(4 pairs in masculine colours i.e black and grey) in H & M stores. They've lasted really well but not sure if they still stock them(probably not fashionable! ha,ha) If not there, how about trying sports stores or retailers like MOUNTAIN WAREHOUSE or similar. My husband also has an indwelling catheter and what he prefers to wear is oversized fleece lined joggers with open hems of course. They dont restrict the tubing in any way and the looser hems make emptying legs bags a breeze. My husband 's only been diagnosed a year with vascular dementia and he's only turned 70. Your husband's had serious health problems a long time hasn't he! Do you have help with his care? I'm so grateful for the in-home care that he's had from the very beginning 9 years ago. Hope my suggestions are of use. Thanks xx
 

RosettaT

Registered User
Sep 9, 2018
497
Mid Lincs
My OH is always cold, always has been but then again he is built like a racing snake. His fingers and feet are always cold. He won't have a blanket over his knees but does wear thermal tee shirts, fleece lined trousers, heat hugger socks nd I've just bought him some leg warmers off Amazon. We'll try them tomorrow and see if they make a difference. He won't sit with his feet up either and his left foot in particular will swell.
His temperature is dropping duing the night too despite having a 10.5tog quilt, and 2 fleece blankets on the bed the only way to prevent it going below 35.5 is to put a woolly hat on him.
 

WeeDido

Registered User
Feb 24, 2020
24
west of scotland
My OH is always cold, always has been but then again he is built like a racing snake. His fingers and feet are always cold. He won't have a blanket over his knees but does wear thermal tee shirts, fleece lined trousers, heat hugger socks nd I've just bought him some leg warmers off Amazon. We'll try them tomorrow and see if they make a difference. He won't sit with his feet up either and his left foot in particular will swell.
His temperature is dropping duing the night too despite having a 10.5tog quilt, and 2 fleece blankets on the bed the only way to prevent it going below 35.5 is to put a woolly hat on him.
HI Have you considered one of those heat pads that fit under the bottom sheet?
 

Sunshine2*

Registered User
May 16, 2019
97
Hello, I agree with your comments. My husband is always cold despite having a thermal top, further top and thick jumper, thick socks and always indoor sheepskin gloves. He was fine, until he had Aplastic Anaemia and then we would have the heating on day and night. He wore thermal bottoms under his trousers, until he had to have an indwelling catheter and leg bag. I’ve often thought about leg warmers as his legs are very cold also. I would be interested to know where to buy these please. Obviously, all the other illnesses including 23 years of MS and MS Dementia and limited mobility haven’t helped. We can only do our very best for them.
Hello, Thank you all for your very helpful advice. Leg warmers talk takes me back in time! Yes, he needs some woolly ones that start on the upper thigh area (the indwelling catheter stops full thermals) and goes down to his ankles, refitting the leg bag over them should hopefully keep them in place. He has thermals and thick socks for bed, as well as a sheet, duvet, two blankets doubled over (equivalent to four blankets) and his thick dressing gown and still manages to have muscle spasms and snoring and choking type noises. The NHS have been brilliant considering the Aplastic Anaemia, the brain haemorrhage, epilepsy, MS, going into a sudden coma during a previous hospital admission, a mini stroke and the MS Dementia. Being disabled too with a Zimmer indoors and me pushing him outdoors in a manual wheelchair has its difficulties, along with the optic neuritis and nystagmus, but I do think he is doing amazingly well considering. Everyone is so helpful on here and I thank you very much.
 

Sunshine2*

Registered User
May 16, 2019
97
Hello, the wider fleece lined trousers are a good idea too. I did suggest them a few years back, but he wouldn’t have them. However, he may be more agreeable to them in this cold weather. I had forgotten about them, so thanks for the reminder, they will also be helpful regarding the leg bag and emptying, as he’s always preferred the chinos, which are quite narrow. He still likes to be stylish now he’s in his fifties, but needs must. Thank you all, very much appreciate all your advice.
 

Roseleigh

Registered User
Dec 26, 2016
323
My OH is always cold, always has been but then again he is built like a racing snake. His fingers and feet are always cold. He won't have a blanket over his knees but does wear thermal tee shirts, fleece lined trousers, heat hugger socks nd I've just bought him some leg warmers off Amazon. We'll try them tomorrow and see if they make a difference. He won't sit with his feet up either and his left foot in particular will swell.
His temperature is dropping duing the night too despite having a 10.5tog quilt, and 2 fleece blankets on the bed the only way to prevent it going below 35.5 is to put a woolly hat on him.
I must say I'd be chilly with a 10.5 cover🤣 15 tog for me and a cover to trap the bottom in and a hot water bottle by my feet!!
 

Mydarlingdaughter

Registered User
Oct 25, 2019
125
North East England UK
I tried to check Mum was getting her Winter Fuel Allowance and cold weather payments from DWP. This led to a discovery that all the benefits were being paid into her post office account, which she had forgotten all about!
So its worth checking yoyr PWD is getting the benefits they are entitled to so can afford to put the heating on.
Mum wouldnt do direct debit so when she became physically incapacitated couldnt get to the shop to do her regular payments, she got into debt with the utilities.
Mum was always freezing cold to touch but reluctant to put the heating on because she had no awareness of feeling cold.
Now Mum is in a CH she is warm, feels warm and is warm to the touch. I dont know how they managed it but some CH magic was worked.
 

Rob_E

Registered User
Feb 1, 2015
191
Liverpool
Mum has always been someone who feels the cold but since dementia took hold, it's been on another level. She always has layers of cardigans on at all but the very hottest of days. The lounge where she spends most of her waking time is too hot for most of us to spend more than half an hour. She's always feeling the radiator and complaining if it's not hot including during the summer months or later in the evening when it goes off for the night. She sleeps with two duvets and her electric blanket on all year. She'd have the heating on more but couldn't afford to. She has no concept of the fact that it has to be paid for.
 

Wifenotcarer

Registered User
Mar 11, 2018
297
Central Scotland
No one has mentioned so far the effects of cold, dismal, wet weather on the Carers. It was during January last year that I suffered carer breakdown and this year, although OH is now happily settled, nearby, in a wonderful care home, I have been plunged into the depths of gloom, since mid January. I always feel better when the sun shines and I can get out to work in the garden for a while. However on the cold, wet, snowy, dark days, cooped up in the house alone, I feel dreadful, unmotivated, unable to face tackling the outstanding household and financial tasks that need urgent attention and frustrated by difficulties e.g roads closed due to flooding. I have been to the GP and had a few sessions with a Councillor. My daughters have been so kind, visiting often and taking me out, but I feel so guilty for becoming a burden on them, when they have problems of their own and busy lives. I live in hope that as the better weather arrives, I will perk up.
 

nae sporran

Volunteer Host
Oct 29, 2014
6,998
Bristol
I know how that feels, @Wifenotcarer. Escaping to the Mendips with a camera helps me unwind and when the weather is constantly wet and cold that is not a good option. Keep at the counselling, and maybe move on to CBT to help you find ways of coping with it. Have you tried SAD lamps on dark mornings ? I have one and 20 mins of brighter warmer light does take the edge of depression in the middle of winter.
 

Ramblingrose

Registered User
Feb 2, 2020
17
Mum has always been someone who feels the cold but since dementia took hold, it's been on another level. She always has layers of cardigans on at all but the very hottest of days. The lounge where she spends most of her waking time is too hot for most of us to spend more than half an hour. She's always feeling the radiator and complaining if it's not hot including during the summer months or later in the evening when it goes off for the night. She sleeps with two duvets and her electric blanket on all year. She'd have the heating on more but couldn't afford to. She has no concept of the fact that it has to be paid for.
 

Ramblingrose

Registered User
Feb 2, 2020
17
Yep, my mother is always cold whatever the weather. I dread going round to visit as she constantly moans about the room being cold when to others it isn't. Then she will sit round half undressed and no amount of nagging by my dad will make her dress properly. Other delusions she has is that she can feel rain when it is bright sunshine and the clothes she is about to put on are damp which they aren't. She has no idea how to switch the CH on or where the controls are.