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Mom's House Is Sweltering



"My mother wears summer clothing and cranks the heat up in her house to 85 degrees. She says it’s the way she feels comfortable. Her utility bills are off the charts, and she cannot afford all the gas she uses.

I have made multiple suggestions for ways to lower her cost and still be comfortable. She rejects all of my ideas. I have appealed to her sense of right and wrong as it relates to saving the planet. She will not listen.

Visiting my mother is torture. It is so very hot in her home that I turn into a puddle each time I visit. I would like to help her out around the house a bit, but it is just too hot for me. I spend as little time as I can and get out. 

Do you have any suggestions?"



My first reaction is - bless you for trying. This is most definitely a tough situation.

Before you become preachy, it’s important to understand whether or not her health is a factor. Does she have a disease that is affecting her ability to regulate her body temperature? It’s best to find that out before you press too hard. Low body weight, anemia and hypothyroidism are just a few conditions that impact how cold a person feels.  With some diseases, an individual can be cold when it’s hot outside or inside.

Something else to consider is whether or not your mother is less mobile than before. We all get a bit chilled when sitting immobile during the winter months unless we have our heat quite elevated. She clearly is not used to dressing for the weather, even indoors. It is a rare individual who can wear a summer frock and be comfortable in most homes in the north during.

If she doesn’t need to wear a sweater or sweatshirt while indoors in winter, her heat is too high. There are a number of reasons to keep the temperature a bit lower. Human bodies perform better at a lower air temperature. Our metabolism is more active when we are cooler. We perform better on other fronts as well in cooler temperatures. 

Now, it’s not necessary to drop to 60 degrees. Most do best between 68 to 72 degrees during the day. 

Let your mother know that when reading or watching television, most people in a northern climate use a lap blanket to be comfortable. Make sure that she has a cover blanket at the ready and adequate cover ups for her shoulders. 

Getting your mother to change her ways will likely be quite difficult. The best you can do is provide her information and attempt to reason with her. You may be able to convince her to bundle up a bit when you come so that the temperature can be set to a palatable level when you are present. Do let her know that you are intolerant to the heat, which prevents you from doing too much around her home. 

I wish you well.


About this Post

Written By

Mary Haynor

RN / CEO - Emeritus

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