How do I help the caregivers with my mother-in-law's temperature issues?

2 answers | Last updated: Sep 14, 2016
Cleob asked...

My MIL, aged 93, is suffering from dementia. I believe she is in stage 2 of 5. She has 2 caregivers that alternate looking after her. They are with her 24/7 for one week, then the other caregiver comes in 24/7 for the next week, etc. My MIL will crank up the heat to 85 degrees because "she's cold". We've asked her to put on her a sweater and some warm socks, but she's refuses to saying "it's my house". She wears short sleeved tops and nylons, even during the winter. The caregiver find it very, very uncomfortable and many times have to go to their bedroom, close the door and open the window to get some relief. They are there to watch her, not spend time in the bedroom, but I understand why they do it. I know when my husband and I come to visit the minute we walk in the door we're blasted by the heat. We just recently got ahold of a friend in the HVAC business and he went over on the pretense of checking out her furnace before winter comes. He's changed out the thermostat so that it won't go above 75 degrees, regardless of what the display shows. Well, that very same day she called complaining that she's turned up the thermostat and the furnace won't come on and that's she cold. She also called the next day and the following day complaining that she wants this fellow out again to fix the furnace. We told her we'll be coming by next week and she'll have to wait until then. We've also reminded her that she could put on a sweater and socks. We don't know what to do now. Any suggestions?



Community Answers

Ladislav volicer, md answered...

It is too much of a change from 85F to 75F. You might want to lower the temperature gradually. I found that 82F is quite comfortable with little clothes. Remind also the caregivers that they do not have to dress very much.


Cleob answered...

Thanks for your reply. I guess I didn't explain things very well. The caregivers don't wear much. They dress as if it's summer (shorts and no sleeved tops). My MIL has called every day since the fellow installed the new thermostats complaining that she's cold. We finally had to call him and ask him to go and reset it. My MIL watched his every move....saying that's not 85, it's not reading 85. So he reset it to 85. Now the caregiver advises us that she had go go downstairs to the basement where it's a couple of degrees cooler just to get some relief, but they're supposed to be watching my MIL to make sure she doesn't get into any trouble. My MIL forgets that the doctor told her she's not to climb stairs unless someone is with her. She has tumbled down them twice....that we know of. So having the caregiver leaving her on the main floor while they're in the basement defeats the purpose of why they're there. We'll try the gradual turning down of the furnace, but with the old one, once she got the least bit cool, she cranked it up. Later the caregiver would go and turn it down. Later still my MIL would go and crank it up again. It was a constant cycle.