Many nursing homes, hospital acute psychiatric wards and Occupational Therapists already use weighted blankets to help calm agitated patients. We came across two interesting articles we thought we’d pass on to you in case you are a caregiver of a dementia or Alzheimer’s loved one.
A special note to the many wonderful caregivers out there:
Mosaic Weighted Blankets® would like to acknowledge the challenging work that so many caregivers do each day. It is tough “work”, even when caring for a loved one… and although we know you’ve heard it a million times before, please take care of yourself! Make sure you take some respite time, eat well, get enough sleep, exercise and keep your own social connections. If you don’t, you will burn out, and then you won’t be of help to your loved one or your own family, or yourself! We personally think that you owe YOURSELF a nice weighted blanket!
We hope you are utilizing all of the great support services available should you have Alzheimer’s loved ones… for example, the Alzheimer’s Association has an incredible website with all sorts of helpful information, as well as community (support) forums and many helpful tools to assist you with your loved one’s care.
The first article is actually from a report of a panel discussion for Occupational Therapists (OTs) in Canada which provides discussion and suggestions as to how OTs can better help people living with dementia. It focuses on how to share best practices for working with the growing number of dementia patients and talks about how the Alzheimer’s Society or other groups could help OTs understand the importance of patients being able to better process information via diminishing senses, through use of various things like weighted blankets or special sensory rooms. It is actually a very interesting read if you are a caregiver for an Alzheimer’s patient.
The second article is from eHow.com and talks about using weighted blankets as a simple way to bring anxiety relief to an agitated patient with dementia. From the article:
Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Nothampton, Massachussets, began using weighted blankets in its psychiatric unit in 2006. The hospital reported that using weighted blankets when patients felt agitated reduced the use of restraints.
Harvard University also piloted weighted blankets at McClean Hospital’s Geriatric Neuropsychiatry Unit. Again, using weighted blankets when elderly anxiety and dementia patients felt agitated reduced their stress and calmed them. The hospital also found weighted blankets helped some patients get better sleep.
The scientific data on weighted blankets is still mainly smaller studies and (many!) testimonials from both patients and the medical community who have used them. So we clearly all need to continue to spread the good word! Don’t forget to let us know when you read interesting articles that our community might find helpful…thanks.