If you are a senior citizen or care for one, you will appreciate that cold is a constant predicament for the elderly. In some cases, even on the hottest of days, an elderly might feel cold. As we age, our metabolic rates tend to slow down, reducing the amount of heat we produce in our bodies. Additionally, the thinning of the fat layers reduces the effective insulation we experience. Finally, as the blood vessels lose elasticity, blood circulation decreases.
Consequently, our elderly loved ones are always in need of layering garments. Blankets for seniors come in all shapes and sizes and with a variety of features.
For instance, there are blankets optimized for layering up while sitting down, while others are lightweight and warm and, therefore, best used on the go. Lap blankets for seniors have been optimized for this particular purpose.
Let’s take a closer look at lap blankets for the elderly, covering everything you need to know as you purchase one for your loved one or yourself.
Why The Need For Lap Blankets
As mentioned above, the elderly are susceptible to feeling cold. In almost all cases, they need an additional layer to keep warm in the form of a blanket.
They keep the front of the legs and lap warm, therefore, protecting two of the most exposed body parts from being exposed to the cold.
Crucially, the lap blanket design reduces the need to use a full-size blanket, which can be cumbersome and less comfortable to use.
Types Of Lap Blankets
Lap blankets come in many different forms and are made of various materials for different applications and environments. Every type of blanket is unique, with unique features that serve different needs.
Some of the more common lap blankets include:
1. Thermal Lap Blankets
Thermal lap blankets are versatile and effective in keeping the elderly warm. You can use a thermal throw blanket to keep you warm during cool summer nights just as effectively as you would the blanket in the middle of winter for layering. Thermal lap blankets tend to be lightweight, breathable, and warm. Cover your legs with this blanket, and you can rest assured of staying toasty warm.
2. Weighted Lap Blankets
Weighted lap blankets are designed to keep you warm while also giving you a subtle hug. Besides having the perfect size to use while relaxing in your chair, the blanket contains a weight filling material that enhances relaxation a tad more than when using regular blankets.
RELATED: Weighted Blankets for Seniors
3. Heated Lap Blankets
These are lap blankets for seniors living in frigid climates.
When faced with extreme cold, layering up might not suffice to in helping you retain body heat. Aside from cladding your body to keep as much heat as possible, you need an additional source of heat. Heated lap blankets add another source of heat via the built-in electric heating coils.
There are even special heated blankets for wheelchair users too!
A lap blanket for a wheelchair is specifically designed for use by seniors on wheelchairs. As such, they have a design that takes advantage of the wheelchair’s form factor.
For instance, the best blankets for wheelchair users will have attachment hooks to secure the blanket on the wheelchair, negating the possibility of the blanket falling. Others have large lap pockets to help keep your hands warm.
What Qualifies As A Lap Blanket
One primary characteristic of lap blankets is their compact size. While there are plenty of lap blankets on the market, they all have a compact size suitable for use while sitting down. The right size for a lap blanket starts at about 30 inches X 39 inches. Such sizes will ensure your blanket can cover your legs and laps, thereby protecting you from the cold.
Additionally, lap blankets tend to be lightweight. Given you might have to move with the blanket every so often, you need a blanket that is not bulky and heavy. Lap blankets designed for the elderly need to have a lightweight construction without compromising its ability to retain heat.
RELATED: Lightweight Blankets for the Elderly
Uses Of Lap Blankets For Elderly People
The primary use of lap blankets is to keep senior’s warm. After all, that is the main purpose of any blanket.
However, lap blankets have a wide variety of uses beyond keeping you warm. Depending on the blanket’s features, a lap blanket can have more utility beyond keeping you warm.
In the case of weighted lap blankets, they enhance your mood by alleviating anxiety, improving your sleep, and even dealing with joint pains.
Of course, lap blankets can be used in all sorts of places from sitting on the couch, in the car while traveling, while stretched out in your favorite recliner, or even in a wheelchair.
Uses Of Lap Blankets In Nursing Homes And Hospice
The use of lap blankets in nursing homes and hospice is generally the same as it in other situations. Nursing homes, hospices, and palliative care centers use lap blankets to improve seniors’ comfort under their care.
Depending on the patient’s needs, they can either use heated lap blankets, weighted lap blankets, or lightweight lap blankets to put the patient at ease and comfort.
While some commercial lap blanket will suffice for use as a lap blanket for nursing homes or lap blankets for hospice, they need to be easy to clean. They also need to incorporate features that make them easy to use.
The Best Lap Blankets
The Classy Pal Wheelchair Blanket is a lap blanket designed and optimized for use when in a wheelchair. This traveling lap blanket is made using lightweight ultra-soft polyester material, giving rise to a packable, comfortable, and plush blanket.
The cozy fleece on either side gives the blanket a luxurious feel. It also has four adjustable straps that fasten the blanket behind the legs and secure it in place using Velcro patches for a snug yet comfortable fit. As such, you do not have to worry about the blanket getting entangled in the wheels. The machine-washable lap blanket also lap pockets that keep your hands warm.
The 42” by 39” is perfect for traveling. It ticks all the right boxes you might want in your travel lap blanket. Not only is the blanket comfortable, but it is also easy to pack.
These weighted sensory lap pads are designed to help the elderly calm down more than to keep warm. While they are made of quality cotton and help seniors keep their laps warm, at 20” by 20”, they do not excel at covering the laps and legs and keeping you warm. Their main feature is the weighted filling.
Weighing at 6lbs, they are designed these lap pads are designed to help seniors relax and take away their anxiety. Combine this pad with your favorite throw, and it can help alleviate joint pain. As such, the Alzstore’s Weighted Body And Lap Pad is perfect for individuals suffering from anxiety, sensory process disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, dementia, and much more.
Having two fleece layers means that the Granny Jo Heavyweight Wheelchair Blanket is exceptional at keeping you warm. The soft blanket has an interior layer of Grey Sherpa Fleece, which is topped with a luxurious top layer of Navy Mink Fleece.
It also has four hooks and loop straps for attaching the blanket to the wheelchair. Once attached to the wheelchairs, seniors do not have to worry about blanket slipping and falling or entangling with the wheels. Another notable feature is its sizable front pouch for warming your hands.
Granny Jo Heavyweight Wheelchair Blanket measures 42″ by 36″, which is the perfect size to use in any wheelchair. And since it is made of 100% polyester, it is machine washable.
This lap blanket is perfect for the elderly living in cold climates. The double-layer and heavy-duty construction ensure the blanket can retain as much heat as possible, keeping you or your loved one warm.
This is another premium 42” by 36” lap blanket for wheelchair from Granny Jo. It has all the must-have features, including two Velcro straps on each side to secure the blanket on the wheelchair.
Users also have a front pocket to keep their hands warm. The two Velcro patches secure the blanket behind the legs for a snug fit. Crucially, the fleece material used to manufacture the blanket is soft to the touch and comfortable for the elderly.
Granny Jo’s Lightweight Wheelchair Blanket is perfectly suitable for use during chilly nights. Given its lightweight make, users have a higher degree of freedom. As such, you can use it as a travel lap blanket as well.
The Skil-Care Lap Blanket is a cozy lap blanket that keeps your lap, legs warm, and hands warm. It comes with two sheepskin-lined hand pockets that capture and retain the heat emitted from the hands. Additionally, it has a utility pocket that stores all your personal items, such as remote and glasses.
The universally-sized lap blanket is covered with a soft, cozy cloth for a soft touch. Attaching the blanket to a wheelchair is an easy task owing to its two Velcro straps on each side.
With an added utility pocket, the blanket is perfect for individuals looking to store personal items on their person. Not only will it keep you warm, but it will also ensure you have easy access to your glass and remotes.
While the Sunbeam Heated Throw Blanket is not optimized for use with a wheelchair, it is still a good choice for the elderly, especially those who spend much of their time indoors. This is one of the best electric throw blankets for seniors because it has hand foot pockets to keep your extremities toasty warm.
For added comfort, the blanket is made of micro-plush material that is soft to the touch. It has a lighted control unit that is easy to see and use at night. Finally, the Sunbeam Heated Throw Blanket is machine washable, making it easy to care for the blanket.
If you are looking for a blanket that not only keeps you warm but also allows you to control the level of heat, the Sunbeam Heated Throw Blanket will perfectly suit your needs. It has 3 settings allowing seniors to control heating levels precisely.
Whether you are enjoying your golden year of retirement or caring for an elderly loved one, a lap blanket is an indispensable item. It helps keep the extremities, which are prone to getting cold, warm.
This list of the top lap blankets has something for everyone. Our list of lap blankets is perfect for those looking for a lightweight lap blanket you can travel with or a heavy-duty blanket to use in the dead of winter; from our list above, you will find a blanket that will meet your needs and suit your environment.