If your elderly family member is dealing with anxiety, pain, and other health issues, she may be looking for ways to deal with them without medication or other treatments that have side effects. One of the tools that she might consider could be a weighted blanket. This type of tool is incredibly simple and has no side effects that might be uncomfortable for her.
What Are Weighted Blankets?
Weighted blankets are blankets that have interior sections filled with glass beads that weigh the blanket down. These blankets come in a range of weights from very light, around five pounds, to quite heavy at 30 pounds. The pressure of the blanket is called deep pressure stimulation, and it’s been proven that this can help to reduce anxiety and even relieve some types of pain.
Your Senior Can Use Weighted Blankets During the Day, Too
While many people who like using weighted blankets use them at night while they sleep, your senior might find that she likes using her weighted blanket during the day instead. There are smaller types of weighted blankets or weighted lap pads that can have the same benefits. If being under a weighted blanket makes your senior uncomfortable, she might want to try it only on certain parts of her body, such as her lower legs.
Contraindications for Using a Weighted Blanket
Weighted blankets can be a useful tool, but there are some contraindications to their use. If your elderly family member has COPD, asthma, or other respiratory illnesses, then having something heavy on her chest is definitely not a good idea. Talk to her doctor before using a weighted blanket just to make sure that any of her existing health issues are not contraindicated.
Choose a Lighter Blanket to Start
It’s always better to start with a lighter weighted blanket from the beginning. If your senior likes the results that she gets, she can always go up in weight. But if she dislikes a heavy blanket that she tries first, she might not even want to try another. When you’re looking for the right blanket, pay close attention to the total weight listed for the blanket so that you get the right weight.
Weighted blankets are just one tool that your senior can use to reduce anxiety and deal with issues like chronic pain. Something else to consider is having a caregiver there with her to offer her help when daily tasks become too difficult.