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It's not cold but my 98 yo mother wants the heater on. Says space heater doesn't work and resists layering. It's so hot in here I'm sick to my stomach. How do others deal with this?

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You have to be comfortable in your own home, not just mom. Obviously you can't function if the heat is sweltering, not to mention the energy costs will be astronomical. Get mom blankets and long johns and let her know that's her option for staying warm, along with a space heater, which is reasonable. If that's not good enough and the resistance is too great, let her know she can move into Assisted Living where she can control her own thermostat for the monthly rate of $4500 or whatever the going rate is in your area. She has to be reasonable in order for both of you to continue living together. If it's not working for all involved, then it's not working. Comprise is required, sorry mom, so I'll be using the word No once in awhile now.

Remember...your comfort is important too, not just moms.....especially when it's easy enough for her to bundle up vs you feeling sick from the heat!
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Sgcinsd Nov 28, 2022
Thanks! I have already used a similar threat but for a different reason. Told her she either had to pony up the cash (she is financially comfortable) to remodel her 1967-era bathroom so it's safe and accessible or she could pay someone to come in 3 times a week to give her a shower because when the day comes that she needs assistance, I can't help in a shower that's the size of a phone booth. We're getting bids now for a remodel after the first of the year. :-]
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My mother wears thick fuzzy socks (with the rubber bottoms), leg warmers, fleece pajama pants, a shirt and a soft sweater every day. When she's in her chair, she has a blanket over her as well. When she complains of being cold, I give her some hot chocolate or warm her blanket in the dryer for a couple of minutes.

She seems to get along okay with all of that and I can deal with the temperature being somewhat warm but not hot.
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InFamilyService Dec 2, 2022
You are so lucky she will wear all that.
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This is not in her head. Her body really feels that cold. It doesn’t run well like it used to and she truly uncomfortable. Any tricks like lowering the thermostat one degree at a time aren’t going to be useful.

Get a heated throw or heated blanket for her to use in bed, on the couch etc. Despite claims that these are washable, they really don’t hold up well when washed, so care for them accordingly to prevent spills or damage.

Heated jackets which are battery operated are also effective, but pricey.
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Reply to ACaringDaughter
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imajwru12 Dec 2, 2022
Love your solution. Its resolving her issues as well as the caregivers. And giving the aged one the dignity of being listened too and making them comfortable. It gives the aged one the decision to layer or not layer and keeps the heating bill down. Individualized care and such an easy solution! Nice.
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I have dealt with this so I feel your pain. It is very difficult to do anything when the heat is so intense. Anyone that dismisses this situation has never been in it. What I did was start to move the temp down by like 1 or 2 degrees. I had to wear shorts and a tank top in the middle of northeastern Pennsylvania in the US. The temp can go below freezing for a few days in the middle of winter and is often at freezing for several months at a time. My husband was always upset because he had to get halfway dressed to go to work on the porch and he would be covered in sweat.

I didn't tell my mom what I was doing but I turned the temp down gradually while I also aimed a space heater at her from the other room. I asked about putting a space heater in the room with her but she has always been against them and I don't know all of the reasons. It's just her house, so she wants it as is. Well, things had to be done around her as we are taking care of her and have to be comfortable as well. My mom and sister also smoked for decades and when I moved in here it was both hot as heck and full of nasty smoke. I put up with it for about 2 years before I laid down the law about the cigarettes. They both had to quit.

My mom was too short and unable to maneuver to the temp controls so she didn't know it was going down 1 or 2 degrees a month. Then we put sweaters on her when she said she was cold and I aimed a space heater at her from behind her. Trust me when I tell you we were not being mean about this. The house had the temp set at 78F which in practice meant the house temp was in the low 80s. I also disabled the radiators in the rooms where my mom doesn't go. So now the heat bills are much less and the temp is still at what I consider a crazy hot 72 but at least it's not 82. The thing is, with age and perhaps a blood thinner, the elderly loved one is NEVER going to feel warm enough. So whether it's 82 or 72 they will likely still be cold.

The idea someone posted here about the heated jacket and stuff like that sounds good, but be advised that you have to be careful if she has diabetes. They tell you not to use an electric blanket on diabetic folks and that's because they might get burned and not notice if they have neuropathy or something like that. So keep an eye on that if you choose to warm her that way. I've never been comfortable with the idea of a heated blanket but I'm even more against it now due to the fear of an accident with urine. I just fear an electrocution. Some people tell you it's nothing to worry about but it's my own personal thing fear with those blankets. Also, they are more likely to catch fire the older they are. The average blanket that causes a fire is usually about 10 years old. I have no info on the heated clothes. But stand firm. Lowering the temp is possible.
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Reply to SamTheManager
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Hi,

I listen often to a researcher out of Stanford - Andrew Huberman - and he did a podcast this past year about heating and cooling protocols (it was mainly about cooling the body for better sports performance - but he also touched on heating). Here is a link to the section where he discusses heating the body. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaE9XyMMAHY&t=3044s

To summarize, we have areas of the body - the face, palms and bottoms of feet with what is called glabrous skin. Warming and cooling those areas most efficiently heats and cools the core of the body. So, to most effectively warm the body, you would get warm socks, gloves and try to warm the face (or just the forehead). They have used this post-surgery, when patients are super cold - as opposed to putting warm blankets all over them - and found great results. I have not tried this, but it's worth a shot.
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Clairesmum Dec 2, 2022
So, warm woolen socks, fingerless gloves, and a warm woolen or synthetic hat should do the job.
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Put a lock on the thermostat and your mother can put on a sweater. Or get her a small, portable table heater that she can use. These go right on a little table next to where the person sits and they provide personal heat to them. Not heat to the entire house. Not even to the entire room.
Let her know that you cannot and will not live in a sweltering hot greenhouse even though she likes it that way. And that if you move out because you literally cannot take the heat (LOL on that pun) she will have to go into a nursing home.
I think the mention of the possibility that you'll place her will be enough to get her onboard with putting on a sweater and layering warm clothes.
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Clairesmum Dec 2, 2022
Suggesting that you will place an elder because of comfort issues seems harsh to me.
The original poster can also adjust her own comfort by wearing layers when visiting her mother.
Someone who is less mobile does get colder easily, and this increases with age and loss of body fat for insulation. Suggestions about layering and using heating devices or electric blankets with supervision make sense.
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Elderly persons do not have fat layers that they once did, that is why they always feel cold. To make matters worse they can't thermo regulate themselves much like infancy, it's just a physiological fact. You might have to do as I did with my own mother which was to get a smart thermostat which I can remotely check and regulate. If she complains that is too cold I offer her a choice if layering or another blanket. I have had to tell her she can't afford these high bills any longer, which is a truth. I've tasked other family members with the rules of heating her house. She in addition also wants ALL the lights on day and night but refuses to open the blinds to let natural sunlight in. Again I had to put my foot down. Maybe for me it was easier to do this because my mother physically won't get up to change the thermostat or turn on the lights, she would just scream for whoever was around to do her bidding. As a family we had to get on the same page but my nephew who lives in her house had a hard time telling her no to her requests. I had to put it to him as this, if he wouldn't turn off lights or lower the heat he would then pay for those bills. He then got on board. Unfortunately elderly persons need boundaries too as much as children sometimes. It's very hard but you will have to do it. Best wishes as you go forward.
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Bioman2 Dec 2, 2022
Hi Breezy, the older we are the greater the risk of Cataracts which gives us extreme sensitivity to sunlight so drawn blinds become a must have, has your Mother been checked for cataracts?
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At 98, her body probably doesn't produce sufficient heat to keep her warm. On Amazon, and probably other places too, I saw there are heated vests, heated jackets that operate much the same way heated blankets do, except with batteries. She can wear one of those heated jackets which will keep her warm for up to 8-9 hours on a fully charged battery pack. You might want to have extra batteries to keep the jacket warm all day until bed time.

For her lower extremities, a space heater should suffice, I hope.

Here's a link to a heated jacket on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/Venustas-Womens-Heated-Battery-clothes/dp/B08F511NL1/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?crid=OT25A19ORK7N&keywords=venustas+heated+jacket+women&qid=1669523185&sprefix=heated+jackets+for+women%2Caps%2C165&sr=8-2-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUExUVhWV0owSDhLTENRJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMjc2MTg3Mkk3RUhPNTdISDZSUCZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUExMDEzNzQ4MjFVWlBDUzEwOEo3TCZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2F0ZiZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=
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JoAnn29 Nov 27, 2022
Great idea. I get cold easily, always have been that way.
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Sgcinsd, I remember those days of entering my parents house, it was like walking into a hot flash zone.

There would be Mom with thermo underwear, shirt, heavy sweater, slacks, knee socks, shoes, with a throw over her lap. Dad, bless his soul, would answer the door wearing walking shorts and sandals, nothing else. The temp was set at 82 degrees. It was hard to breath in the house.

My parents were in their 90's. I couldn't figure out what ailment Mom had that would make her feel so cold. Or if it was a side affect of whatever meds she was taking. I know if someone has low kidney function that can make someone feel chilled.

While visiting, Dad would drop the heat once he remembered how to over-ride that complex programmable thermostat.

One secret is to make sure one's shirt is tucked inside of the slacks. If not tucked, it can make one feel colder.
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Sgcinsd Nov 28, 2022
Thank you. I know exactly what you're talking about. See my other responses.
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First I need to ask how hot is this overheated home? I've encountered a lot of people on line who keep their home in the 60° - 65° F range that complain about excessive heat, unless the home is above 75° I wouldn't consider it excessive for a person nearing 100 years old. My mom's legs and feet really did feel like ice to the touch, she wasn't delusional!
Do set the household thermostat at a reasonable temperature and lock it there .... programmable thermostats can be great for this because the pre-sets are nearly impossible to override 🙄🤣.
If you opt for a space heater make sure to be fire safe!
Get her up and moving as much as possible to increase circulation.
Put a hot water bottle on her lap if you're not into electric throws or heating pads. When using electric throws and heating pads be aware the cords may be a tripping hazard.
My mom loved her fleece sheets and electric blanket at night.
Hot beverages can make you feel warmer - coffee, tea and herbal tea, hot chocolate
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Sgcinsd Nov 28, 2022
In San Diego, I'd say 72 is a reasonable temperature. My mother says 75 or up. I bought her two space heaters that automatically shut off when they tip over. She says they only keep her feet warm and waste electricity (yes, I know, so does the gas heater, but mom isn't big on logic). I've removed just about every tripping hazard since I moved in 3 years ago, but that's a good point for others to be aware of. I got her a buckwheat microwaveable heating pad and that helps but of course needs to be reheated frequently and I need to be careful about burning her thin skin. Your point about hot beverages is excellent. For some reason, she drinks ice water. That's going to end starting right now. Thanks you.
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