Weighted blankets can help with the symptoms of Alzheimer’s by easing depression, improving the quality of sleep and reducing anxiety. Alzheimer’s issues can cause a person to become anxious and agitated and have difficulty sleeping.
How weighted blankets work
There are some benefits and drawbacks to weighted blankets for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. The right weight for the person has to be chosen because a blanket which is too heavy can be uncomfortable. On people who are more delicate, it can even cause injuries. So, a weighted blanket for a person who has Alzheimer's can't weigh more than twenty-five pounds. It needs to be about 5 to 10 percent of the person's body weight. Talking to a doctor before purchasing the blanket is essential to see if it is suitable for the person it's being bought for.
A weighted blanket works because of deep pressure therapy. It makes the person feel calmer, and they fall asleep faster. It also helps for quality naps in the afternoon. The other uses are for patients to help reduce panic attacks and mood swings. It can prevent the person, too, from overthinking about the disease they have.
However, using a weighted blanket on an elderly person has to be done with caution. If the person has a problem with regulating their body temperature, has a circulatory problem or issues with their respiratory system, this blanket isn't recommended. Plus, some people become irritated when something substantial is placed on their body.
A weighted blanket is designed to be used for restless leg syndrome which is common in adults. Restless leg syndrome is when a person has the urge to move their legs at night because of a creepy crawly sensation. The sensation has also been described as a pins and needles sensation. The weighted blanket feels like it's giving the legs of the person a hug with the constant firm pressure.
It can also help to relieve the symptoms of anxiety in Alzheimer's patients and people who suffer from anxiety. The deep pressure application can produce a relaxing and calming sensation. This helps patients with Alzheimer’s relax at night for a more restful and peaceful sleep.
Depression disorders can also be helped with a weighted blanket, in both dementia patients and people who suffer from depression. Since depression can lead to sleep disorders, it can aggravate the symptoms of Alzheimer's. When the weighted blanket is used, patients didn't move around as much and slept longer. People felt more refreshed in the morning and less depressed because of the night's sleep. When a person with Alzheimer's or dementia has improved quality in their sleep, then it reduces the anxiety and eases depression.
Stimulating the senses is a drug-free way to improve the quality of sleep, to calm a person with dementia nerves, and decreases anxiety. There isn't a treatment which will slow down or stop dementia development that is progressive dementia. But the quality of life improves when the level of care is top quality.