Does My Elderly Parent Need a Weighted Blanket?

You may have noticed an increasing amount of information about weighted blankets and how helpful they are for children that have sensory issues, autism, and anxiety. Did you know that weighted blankets can also help elderly people as well? As a family caregiver providing home care for them, you owe it to your aging parent to see whether or not they could benefit from a weighted blanket.

Homecare in Markham: Weighted Blanket

Homecare in Markham: Weighted Blanket

What is a Weighted Blanket?

A weighted blanket is one that has dozens of tiny pouches or pockets filled with small amounts of a solid filling. Typically, the filling is poly beads, dry rice, dry beans, buckwheat, sand or a similar substance. The filler of the blanket is evenly distributed across the length and width, making the blanket heavier than a normal quilted one.

The weighted blanket simulates being swaddled, held or hugged. It provides a deep pressure touch to the body, which has been linked to stress reduction and relaxation. Deep pressure touch also triggers the release of several chemicals and hormones like oxytocin, serotonin, and melatonin. These are all related to lower blood pressure, slower heart rate, and good feelings.

Who Needs a Weighted Blanket?

Studies show that weighted blankets can be particularly effective for people that suffer from anxiety, sensory processing issues, sleeplessness, restlessness, nervous system disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders and other mental and physical challenges. Even people that are seeking a better night’s sleep can benefit from the warmth and comfort of a weighted blanket.

Elderly parents that face one or more of these challenges will definitely benefit from having a weighted blanket. They can have a great deal of anxiety in their lives, from illnesses and loss to injury and dementia. While medication and therapy should be the first level of treatment for anxiety in elderly parents, treatments like weighted blankets can really help improve their situation. It’s an easy and comforting way to start relaxing, and they only need a little help from family members or a home care assistant to get the weighted blanket settled properly.

What Kind of Weighted Blanket is Best?

Weighted blankets are not all the same, so it’s important for you to figure out which one might be best for your elderly parent. Determining the proper weight of the blanket is critical for its effectiveness, and it is based on the person’s own body weight. A weighted blanket should weigh approximately 5 to 10 percent of the elderly parent’s body weight, so a 150-pound person should have a blanket that is 7 to 15 pounds.

Always check with your elderly parent’s doctor before getting a weighted blanket. While most seniors would benefit from them, there may be issues if they have circulation problems or struggle to regulate their body temperature. Because the blankets can be very warm, they may also not be appropriate for use in really hot situations. Overall, there are few reasons why your elderly parent should avoid using a weighted blanket for reduced stress, comfort, and relaxation.

Elderly parents that have sleep disorders, anxiety, nervous system disorders, sensory issues, or any other condition that may benefit from deep pressure touch should try a weighted blanket to see if there is any improvement.

If you or an aging loved-one are considering homecare in Markham, contact the caring professionals at Staff Relief Health Care 24/7 at (905)-709-1767.


About Susan Di Michele

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