“85 year old active senior dies in a house fire on December 28, 2010 in Walnut Creek, CA.” This is news none of us likes to hear.
Many of us love to get into a warm bed and since many seniors run cold, having an electric blanket is something many enjoy. However, it can be very dangerous for those with diabetes, paralysis from stroke, Parkinson’s disease or a dementia.
One issue is that many of these individuals have an impaired or delayed ability to receive information from the brain that they are overheated, thus they can be easily burned.
The other issue is that electric blankets that are folded over can cause the wires to become bent and to short out causing a fire that could start with smoke (a reason why seniors should all have smoke alarms in their bedrooms). When smoke inhalation starts, it can put an individual in a state of unconscious even before the flames of a fire break out. Those who have mobility issues would be more at risk and should avoid electric blankets.
It is suggested that those who are incontinent do not use electric blankets.
Two safe ways to have a warm bed are to use flannel sheets and down comforters – these can be light weight yet very warm. There is nothing wrong with the old fashioned warm water bag that Grandma used to warm her feet – as it cools naturally.
Do your older family member a favor and replace that electric blanket with down comforters and flannel sheets.