Body temperature

My husband has vascular dementia and I am gradually working my way through a variety of issues to do with caring for him and his altering behaviours alongside running a self-employed business and dealing with the constraints of the Covid pandemic!

He now tells me constantly that everything is cold to the touch and that he feels cold even when the house is warm. I understand that this is to do with his body not regulating his temperature properly but I am at a loss to know what to do about it.

I keep the house at a constant temperature throughout the day and increase it slightly in the evening when we settle down for the night. Simply increasing the heating doesn’t seem to have a particular effect except it makes me feel overheated and ill!!

I try to keep him active and encourage him to wear extra layers (usually resisted) and he has a fleecy throw to put over his lap when sitting but it doesn’t seem to help much. Some times his hands feel icy cold even when I feel the house is very warm.

I’m sure this is a common problem so any hints for how you’ve dealt with it or any practical suggestions gratefully received.

Hi Joy,

Sounds like you have a lot to juggle.

I have been working at home and I find I get cold if I sit for too long - so keeping him as active as possible at regular intervals may help. Also hot drinks.

Have you considered one of those electric throws or electric fleecy blankets. A friend of ours had a stroke and as a result feels the cold, she loves hers.


My mother, physically disabled, was always cold, the house was so hot it made my eldest son and I feel ill at times, we used to try to wear the lightest possible clothes.
I’m not sure there is any answer to this one.

I really feel for you. When I visit my mum it’s so hot than it makes me feel ill. Is there any chance you can keep one room cooler for you to escape to?

What a nightmare! One of my brothers clearly had the beginnings of vascular dementia and also diabetes and always felt cold. He mainly lived in one room though. It had an extra electric fire with fake flames built into the fireplace. It was far too hot. The cat spent most of her time there too. When the house was redesigned for two wheelchair users he used to wash in the kitchen, and he had a wall-mounted electric fan heater of some sort attached to the wall so hot air was directed at him. Not sure this would help you. I like the electric blanket idea.

Hello Joy, you say ‘his feet feel icy cold even when the house is warm’. This sounds like he has very poor circulation. Ring the District nurse or GP to get some advice. This could possibly be to do with his medication.

Thanks folks. Not sure I’ve got to the bottom of the problem yet but things have been a bit easier. Apologies for the length of post but this is what I’ve done and what I’m doing - just in case it helps anyone else!

Firstly I wanted to check out whether the house temperature was actually changing throughout the day. To do this I remembered that the digital thermometer I have has three modes. One to check body temp, one to check room temp and one to check surface temp. I had a very entertaining 10 minutes running round the house measuring all the room temps and even some of the wall temps. Much to my sons amusement as he was on the phone writing them all down for me. Interestingly the actual temperatures were about 1.5 degrees higher than that shown on the room thermostat.

Step one - I then waited until husband did his favourite thing of taking the rubbish out and leaving the front door open in the process. I checked the room temp where he sits immediately afterwards and it had dropped by almost 2 degrees in as many minutes!! As we live on a main road our main access is from the rear and is directly into the living room via patio doors As he is always ‘popping out’ to the shed or letting the cat in/out it makes sense that the heat will dissipate more often. Also he sits next to the door and the glass surface remains cooler than a brick one. I now encourage him not to open the door unless absolutely necessary. He sulked when I first mentioned it but when I showed him the evidence he grudgingly agreed I had a point.

Step two - Unfortunately it’s a difficult room to change round furniture wise being L-shaped and needing to keep a clear access but I have made some changes so that there is another seat the opposite end of the room where he can sit in the daytime unless he wants to watch the tv. He also has a snuggle fleece to hand for his lap which the cat thinks has been provided specifically for his use. Daft though it sounds, because the cat has now taken to being on my husbands lap whenever he can, it acts just as good as having an electric blanket - but cheaper LOL

Step three - I also made a note of when he said he was feeling coldest and as to be expected it was generally after long periods of inactivity. Still working on that one but as he doesn’t have any hobbies to occupy him and the weathers not good enough to get him outdoors and doing things it’s a hard one. I have however asked him to ‘help me’ by doing the dusting, vacuuming, dish washing etc which is something.

Step four - Then I realised that the central heating was coming on at around 7.00am but in fact it’s rare that my husband gets up before 8.30/9.00am. So I have changed this to only come on at 8.30am in time for him getting up. I’m usually up around 6.30/7.00am and quite often working straight away so this means I get an hour or so without the heating on. So far he hasn’t noticed and I haven’t told him LOL. I’ve also reset the other timings so that it only shuts off for about 20 minutes at lunch time and goes off a bit earlier of an evening. I’ve also set the thermostat at what I think is the right minimum temperature so that I can simply add a degree manually as and when needed. This means that the house is at a more constant heat all day and he seems to be much more comfortable. At least he isn’t complaining of the cold quite so much.

It still gets a little warm for me at times but as I am often working upstairs during the day I can at least open a window and it doesn’t seem to have made any difference to the overall temperature downstairs. And at least I no longer feel like the wicked witch of the west forcing him to live in a fridge!!

Oh well done. Us carers often have to be detectives.