How Seniors Can Use Heat Pads To Keep Themselves Mobile And Independent
As we age, our bodies become more susceptible to various types of pain. According to a 2019 study, 25%-85% of older adults deal with chronic pain. Stiffness, cramps, and aches can limit a senior’s mobility and independence. To keep the body in good condition and treat sore muscles, seniors can exercise, undergo therapy, or use inexpensive therapeutic devices like heat pads. Though most people use them to keep warm during the winter months, heat pads can help older adults live a more comfortable life. Here’s how seniors can use heat pads to keep themselves mobile and independent.
How heat pads function
There are lots of tech devices that can help a person age in place gracefully, and gadgets such as percussive massage guns, massage chairs, and electrode massagers can all help to relieve pain. However, seniors who want to do a more holistic approach for pain relief may want to consider using heat pads. Heat pads relieve muscle strain, body aches, and joint pain by boosting blood circulation. Applying a heating pad to the affected areas will dilate the blood vessels. Dilated blood vessels deliver nutrients and oxygen to an area treated with heat. As a result, inflammation begins to decline, pain signals sent to the brain are reduced, and muscles become less stiff.
Exposure to very cold temperatures can negatively affect a senior’s ability to live independently. According to John Hopkins Medicine, seniors have lower body temperatures than young adults. Having a low body temperature may result in various symptoms, including coordination problems and memory loss, which can severely impact an older adult’s ability to live alone. Additionally, they are at a greater risk for developing hypothermia (a condition wherein the body’s temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit) due to poor circulation and compromised heat retention. Hypothermia causes the blood vessels to constrict and leads to premature death if not treated quickly. Using heat pad jackets and warming blankets can help stave off symptoms of a low body temperature and may prevent hypothermia.
The cold can also negatively impact a senior’s health and wellbeing. As you get older, the fat layers under the skin get thinner. Aging skin experiences a 65% reduction in its global lipid content. Consequently, it becomes harder for an older individual to retain body heat. To stay warm, seniors need to limit exposure to low temperatures and cold surfaces. A cold floor, for example, can lead to cold sensitivity and cold feet. In this instance, seniors can treat their cold feet with a heated foot wrap, and they can use a warming blanket while resting or taking a nap.
Decreases Joint Pain
Heat therapy devices can help alleviate joint pain, a common condition among seniors, and make daily tasks easier to complete. Most seniors over the age of 85 experience joint pain and its symptoms, which include redness, stiffness, and loss of flexibility. These symptoms can reduce an older person’s mobility and make them more likely to be dependent on family and friends. Luckily, a simple treatment for joint pain, like heat therapy, can improve a senior’s ability to age in place. According to a Medical Science Monitors study on the effects of applying heat to the anterior and posterior cruciate ligament in the knee, participants saw improved joint flexibility and reduced inflammation after the treatment. Hence, heat therapy helps seniors move a little easier, and it enables them to stay active.
Heat therapy products can help to reduce body pain, increase mobility, and restore flexibility to stiff joints. Consider letting an elderly loved one try heat therapy to improve their overall quality of life.
Article Written By: Jennifer Ellen