I'm very new to caregiving and probably have a lot of questions I could ask, but one very important one at the moment is how to handle my mother being so cold all the time. I hear a lot that this is something the elderly seem to experience as they get older and it's their internal thermostat so to speak that gets out of whack. My mother will be 80 the end of April and just about a year ago she noticed she was no longer always feeling hot so easily (which describes me) but now always feeling so cold. She is living with me now so that I may be her caregiver. Her bedroom is always kept toasty warm (too hot for me); however, the rest of my condo isn't going to be kept that way. I have to live there, too. When she comes out into the living room, for example, I tell her she can sit with an electric blanket wrapped around her if she'd like. But she's always complaining how the whole place is so cold to her. But it's not really. Do I just let her complain or should I be doing something else? Even in her bedroom, she likes lots of blankets on her bed.
My grandparents are the same way; especially my grandmother. At first we tried to keep the house comfortable for them; but we were so miserably hot, we had to make a change. The heat made us sick and grumpy, and that was not good for anybody. So, now the house is comfortable for us, and we keep throws and blankets around to cover them up when they complain of being cold. Hats, wrist-warmers, socks and slippers also help. Remember, layers can always be added to make her comfortable. Besides, you don't want to have to go around naked to keep cool
The only thing constant in life is change.
Some causes of being cold are: anemia, thyroid, circulation and/or weight loss.
It hurts to be cold. A few years ago I lost 65 lbs. and almost froze that winter. Prior to that I was always too hot. Finally broke down and bought some "Cuddle Duds" longjohns at the department store. Hated to pay the price but it was well worth it. Cuddle Duds are light weight but warm as toast, smooth and comfortable.
She can also wear a sweater, my m-i-l did. A small electric heater placed near the chair where she sits would be good, will keep her area warm but not make the whole room too hot (depending on how efficient the heater is). A heating pad under feet will help also. A heating pad in her lap will help.
Rule out health problems then start using some of the above.
Uh, be careful about heating pads and heaters--if she has bad circulation she could have decreased sensation too, and could burn herself before she feels enough pain to get away from something that's too hot. You have to put your own skin in contact with whatever you're going to put in contact with hers (or put your hand in front of the heater), and keep it there for a couple minutes, so you know it's not going to be too hot after a while. Otherwise you could end up with sunburn-type burns, which can be pretty painful.