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I’ve been reading how weighted blankets can calm anxiety and improve insomnia and get a more restful sleep. There seems to be proof it helps persons with dementia. Has anyone here ever used one for their loved one?

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My husband and daughter have Aspergers (on the autism spectrum) and I have made them weighted blankets. If you sew at all they are quite easy to make. I bought the plastic beads on ebay. Just google how to make a weighted blanket and you'll find all sorts of instructions.
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This is a great idea. Thanks for the tip. I'm going to check it out.
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Commutergirl I found many videos with that same title but watched a few. We have an iPod for my dad with music on it. Thank you for the suggestion.
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Not heard of the weighted blanket, however, I urge you to go to youtube and watch a video called Alive Inside. Have a tissue handy. I bought the headset for my mom when we go to dr. appointments, ride in the car, etc. to help keep her "with me mentally" on outings. You won't be sorry to at least watch the video. Best of Luck
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Harpcat, the MC is using an old electric blanket not plugged in *instead* of a weighted blanket. The weight of the cord inside the blanket is significant, but the fabric's also easily washable and replaced with others from Goodwill. My DIL made a weighted blanket for their oldest daughter using the weighted beads and it leaks in the dryer every time it's washed, so I think the electric blanket is a good compromise.
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Harpcat, thanks for the link. I signed up for the daily tips!
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I found this website and am sharing the link. There are tutorials to making them too. As jeannegibbs said, we’ve spent more than that on other items. They also make lap robes and wraps for the shoulders. I hadn’t thought about Temple Grandin but yes you’re right she figured out about the gentle pressure helping to calm. Much like the thunder coats they make for dogs who get agitated during thunderstorms. Here is the link which I hope is allowed.
dailycaring.com/weighted-blankets-in-dementia-care-reduce-anxiety-and-improve-sleep/
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Wow, this is really interesting. I worked 20 plus years in psych settings and never heard of this! Makes perfect sense and I will file this away for future needs.
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My teenage grandson was having trouble sleeping and a councilor suggested a weighted blanket. He did some research on it, thought it may help, and asked for one for Christmas. He has found it to be helpful.
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I’ve said it before - there are many similarities between Autism and Dementia.

Weighted vests and weighted blankets are commonly used to calm and soothe individuals with autism. If you can catch a meltdown before it hits full steam and apply the weighted item, it can be very effective at defusing.

I’ve never heard of these weighted items being used with folk with dementia but it makes sense to me as like I said - I think the haywiring that occurs in the brain in the two conditions have similar symptoms and thus possible similar approaches towards treating and dealing.

Rainman had a weighted vest during his school years. One of Rainman ticks is that he paces - and paces - nonstop and it can drive you nuts! The weighted vest greatly reduced his pacing - not because it was heavy and cumbersome but for some reason it calms him.

Temple Grandin is a woman with high functioning autism. She is fairly famous as an author and speaker concerning autism- there was even a TV movie about her - plus 60 Minutes, GMA etc. Temple is also a well respected animal behavior expert- her largest contribution comes from designing farm/cattle pens, chutes, fences etc that keep the animals calm. For this Temple used the theory of applying slight pressure or in other words - weight. Temple came up with this idea from her own life - she has designed “machines” for herself that apply pressure or weight - she finds it immensely calming.

Okay - sorry about that. Back to the point. Weighted blankets or vests need not be expensive - if you are the crafty sort and can sew. My mother made several weighted vests for Rainman over the years as he grew. School Special Ed classrooms usually has them but I liked that Rainman could have his own to wear whenever he needed it. If you know any Special Ed teachers they might be able to point you in the direction as to how one can make a weighted vest or blanket at home.
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Yes they aren’t cheap but if it works it’d be worth it. The quilted pockets are filled with plastic beads. The weight is determined by size and poundage of the person using it. @Surprise..when you said you used one were you referring to the electric blanket like your mom's r an actual weighted blanket?
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jeannegibbs Feb 25, 2018
Oh, well worth trying for someone who "needs" it. I certainly spent more than that on some items for Coy. For myself, it seems a little extravagant for a blanket. I'm still considering it, though.
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Seems they are very expensive, aren't they? When I read about them I thought, oh! I want one for me! until I got to the price. So I don't blame you for seeking feedback from others who have used them. I'll be watching to see the responses, too.
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The Memory Care uses one on mthr to keep her more calm. You can buy those made with sand/plastic beads as people use for autistic children. But our MC uses an electric blanket which is almost as heavy and has the same effect. They disposed of the electric cord since mthr is unable to tell if she's too hot, but it works well. I even used one all last summer and it is very comforting!
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Dear Harpcat,

I've never heard of a weighted blanket. I would be interested in hearing people's experience as well. As long as it is safe, I think everything is worth a try.
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