Weighted blankets for seniors are a good idea just as they are for the rest of the population, and mainly for the same reasons, but with some cautions.

Older woman sleeping in a bed in a care facility

Issues like sleep, restlessness, depression, general aches and pains, and anxiety can all increase in the elderly compared to the rest of the population. These are all areas where a weighted blanket might bring relief and comfort.

The deep touch pressure (DTP) of a weighted blanket that contributes to the production of more serotonin can help with all of the conditions mentioned above and provide better rest and sleep.

Sleep, the Elderly, and a Weighted Blanket

According to the National Sleep Foundation, two-thirds of the people in long term care facilities suffer from sleep issues.

Many of them take medications and their rest is disrupted by conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease. Getting enough quality sleep at night is a challenge for many seniors.

Seniors Need Naps

And according to the Harvard Medical School, the elderly need naps to offset the effects of sleep deprivation during the night.

As long as they don’t interfere with sleep in the night, naps can be an excellent way to boost alertness and focus. 20-40 minutes is the recommended length, depending on individual needs.

Weighted Blankets are Good for Sleep and Naps

A weighted blanket can be a natural aid in the nighttime for better sleep and during the day to help with naps to regain rest and restore calmness.

A Weighted Blanket for Restless Leg Syndrome in Older People

Restless Leg Syndrome (also known as Willis-Ekbom Disease) is a condition where the sufferer experiences sensations like tingling and pins and needles in the legs, plus the uncontrollable urge to move them.

A woman rubbing restless legs on a bed

As you can well imagine, this irritating condition would be very disruptive to anyone trying to get adequate sleep at night.

Many People Have Restless Leg Syndrome

According to the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke, up to 7-10 percent of Americans have this condition.

It typically increases in severity at night and is usually most severe in middle-aged and elderly people. This condition affects quality sleep and can contribute to exhaustion, anxiety, and depression.

Some people find the pressure of a weighted blanket helps to hug the legs and keep them still for better sleep, also relieving the disruptive sensations.

A Weighted Blanket for Anxiety and Depression in Seniors

Anxiety and depression can be just as common among the elderly as any other age group, so it needs to be considered in their overall care.

Anxiety Is Common in Elderly

Anxiety was sometimes thought to be less because of greater emphasis on physical concerns in the aging population. Conditions like Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia can also contribute to anxiety levels in the elderly.

The calming effect of a weighted blanket can make an excellent natural method for comforting seniors at any time of the day or night.

They can use them on their beds at night or as a covering for naps in the daytime, or even as a wrap when they’re sitting.

Cautions for Using a Weighted Blanket with Seniors

Even though a senior can use a weighted blanket the same as anyone else and benefit from the deep touch pressure, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

Closeup of white pillow on the bed

Weighted Blankets Should Not be Restrictive

You must be certain that the blanket is not restrictive. Older people often lose some of their strength and agility, so it’s very important to make sure they can get underneath and out from under a weighted blanket on their own.

They should always have complete control of using the blanket and moving it around or throwing it off.

The Blanket Must Be Accepted

They should also be monitored to ensure that the feeling of the blanket is not distressing. They must be accepting of the weight and derive comfort from the weighted blanket or it will serve no purpose.

Be Cautious with Weak Bones

Another thing to bear in mind is that some older people develop weaker bones as they age, sometimes to the point where they break easily.

The effort to move under a weighted blanket could be enough to cause a fracture if their bone density has deteriorated too much.

Take Care with Sensitivities

You’ll also want to be careful of sensitivities or allergies. If the senior has these concerns, some manufacturers use organic materials and hypoallergenic glass beads for weight. Research the products to find the best choice.

Finally, we do not provide medical advice. Check with a physician before using one of these products with a senior.

It’s important to determine that it has the potential to comfort them and not cause any physical or emotional concerns.

Try a Weighted Lap Pad

If a full-sized weighted blanket is not suitable for use with an elderly person, you could try using a weighted lap pad instead.

Weighted lap pads are like a small weighted blanket that rests on the lap of an individual when they’re seated. But they can provide many of the same comforting benefits as a full size weighted blanket.

Some seniors spend a fair amount of time sitting, so a weighted lap pad is perfect to lay across their lap while they are resting in a chair.

It’s less weight than a regular weighted blanket and they can likely manage it quite easily on their own.

A Weighted Blanket Gift for a Senior

Weighted blankets make an excellent gift idea for a senior that is still independent at home or one who lives in a care facility.

A young girl holding a large gift wrapped in red with a white ribbon and bow.

If you can’t find an idea for a present, consider one of these or a lap pad to bring them comfort and good rest.

If you have a friend or relative who is older and you feel might benefit from one of these products, check out the two reviews highlighted below. It’s a great idea for birthdays and Christmas.

They also make a thoughtful gift for any time, and they’re a nice thing to donate to a care facility in memory of a loved one if you want to remember them that way.

We have reviews of the two popular weighted blankets that make the top of our list. The Degrees of Comfort product is the one we chose for our son, and YnM is a top-rated manufacturer, too:

Weighted blankets for seniors can be as beneficial as for anyone else. Just keep in mind there are a few cautions when you use them for this segment of the population.

20 thoughts on “Weighted Blankets for Seniors”

  1. Awesome write up you’ve got here. I’ve learnt that stressful thoughts can make sleep almost impossible and in older people, a lack of proper sleep has been linked to stress, irritability, and depression. There’s is this misconception that being retired and out of the hustle and bustle of the daily grind means you naturally experience less stress. That’s not totally right. It’s good to see how beneficial weighted blankets could be when it comes to issues like this.

    Thanks for this informative post.

    1. Hi Jordan;

      You’re absolutely right. There can be just as much stress in later years as there is at any other time of life. In fact, it can increase with health and other life concerns.

      A weighted blanket can be beneficial for seniors to help with sleep and anxiety. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

      Best to you,
      Stella 🙂

  2. Hi Stella! I’m glad I have found your post. I appreciate you have stated the benefits weighted blankets have for seniors. I didn’t know it can help with better sleep during the night but also during the day. But I also appreciate your warnings: these blankets shouldn’t be restrictive. I’ll do a test with an elderly relative to see if she has total control using the blanket.

    1. Hi Henry;

      Yes, weighted blankets can be a great comfort and sleep aid for seniors. They’re good at night and for naps or resting during the day.

      And, yes, absolutely make sure the person can move the blanket on their own. They should never feel restricted!

      All the best,

  3. This is the first time I am hearing about weighted blankets and it seems like a great idea for a great night of sleep. I am thinking that it might probably give that same feeling of a baby being swaddled however, as an adult you still have some control to move or shift it. I definitely like the idea of it having a calming effect and the role it can play in helping elderly adults deal with anxiety. The precautions are definitely helpful and provide a safe way to use these blankets overall and it’s definitely worthy of consideration as a gift for sure.

    1. Hi Vanessa;

      Yes, the feeling of sleeping under a weighted blanket is often compared to being swaddled or hugged. But, as you say, the person can move the blanket if they want to, on their own.

      If you have any elderly people in your life, a weighted blanket definitely makes a great gift idea, especially with the Christmas season approaching.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts,

  4. Hi Stella,

    I don’t have any direct experience with weighted blankets per se, but I have heard people mention them.  I think that the site is very informative.  Well-organized.  Easy to navigate.  I do know a bit about depression and that it is much more common in the elderly population than people realize; I think it’s often overlook because sometimes they have concurrent dementia, stroke, or other difficulty with communication.  They also tend to be a bit more stoic about complaining than the younger generations.  I have dealt with anxiety for most of my life, and I have a sleep disorder similar to restless leg syndrome, so I may have to try one of these blankets out.  I did see that there was one that helps with cooling, and I’m always hot when I’m trying to sleep.


    1. Hi Ian;

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. Yes, depression seems to be wide spread in many demographics these days. You may very well find that a weighted blanket helps with sleep and anxiety.

      If you’re a hot sleeper, like our son, you might be interested in our personal review of the blanket we chose for him. It has two covers (one for cooling) and has Coolmax technology.

      All the best to you,

  5. Hello Stella, I have made use of a weighted blanket, so I can tell how effective it is to help you sleep well without having that issue you get regularly that drives sleep away. It’s great to see some things here about making use of weighted blankets for seniors which I find really great because I am considering getting a weighted blanket for my mother and now I know the things to look out for when she starts making use of it. Best regards.

    1. Hi Benson;

      Glad you could get value from the information here and thanks for sharing your experience.

      All the best to you and your mother with better rest and sleep.

  6. Joseph Stasaitis

    Thanks for this information as I have heard of weighted blankets before but did not know a lot about them.  Deep touch pressure makes a lot of sense as I have been into natural healing for years.

    But I did not realize it induced a release of serotonin.  I do know a lot of people who have sleep issues in or out of any kind of facility and I will be sure to share this info with them.  

    Naps are something which I take and have encouraged others to take to regenerate themselves.  Even 5 or 10 minutes works for me.  

    There are many symptoms which can be effectively addressed with this type of weighted blanket.  Thanks for mentioning the cautions as well.  All the Best and your article is much appreciated.

  7. Hi, I know what it’s like to struggle with sleep. And it always effects my health.  Sleeping is when the body can get a chance to heal and recover.  So if weighted blankets can help this then awesome. 

    I am guessing they help keeping heat inside as well? Where could I get one?

    1. Hi Jake;

      Yes, weighted blankets help many people get better sleep and rest, which as you say, is important for so many things.

      Some people actually find that the heaviness of a weighted blanket makes them warm, especially for hot sleepers. This is where cooling weighted blankets come in handy. They are designed to reduce heat buildup. You can check out our post on cooling weighted blankets for more info.

      All the best,

  8. I just bought one of these for myself and I recently thought about how they could help my grandma who was just put into an assisted living home. She has never been away from her home and I know it is very hard on her. 

    I was doing some research on if there was anything to worry about getting a Senior one of these blankets as I want to get her one for Christmas. I am thankful to have come across this post because I never thought of these concerns. I had never even heard of the weighted lap pad until now either, great find!


    1. Hi Kara;

      Yes, it’s always hard on seniors when they have to make life changes like that. You might well find that a weighted blanket helps her to rest and adjust better. But, yes, keep the cautions in mind for her particular needs. And, many seniors do like a lap pad for when they’re sitting in the daytime. We have a post on the best lap pads, too.

      All the best to you both,

  9. Hi thanks for your post on weighted blankets for seniors. My Grandmother who is 95 next year loves her weighted blanket after having sleeping issues once she moved into a home. I think the blanket also helped with her anxiety although I can’t be sure but there was noticeable change in her behaviour once she started using the weighted blanket. 

    1. Hi Marc;

      It sounds like the weighted blanket may be helping your grandmother. It’s great if it is. She’s certainly attained a long life. We hope she finds her senior years peaceful. Thanks for sharing her experience.

      Best to you both,

  10. I bought one for my 72-year-old father, a senior and also a stroke victim. After a month of using, it started to smell like mud maybe because of my father’s odor acquired through farming so we want it to be cleaned to get rid of the odor. To clean a weighted blanket like this, what specific cleaning method do you suggest? Wet cleaning like those in laundry shops here or do we need to use special kind of cleaning like dry cleaning?

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