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How to Create a Safe & Accessible Bedroom for Seniors

Bedroom Safety for Elderly (2021): 8 Tips You Can Implement Today

By Maurice

How to Create a Safe & Accessible Bedroom for Seniors

As we age and our bodies go through changes, we may find that simple, everyday tasks are suddenly challenging. Some challenges can be dangerous if we're not careful. Activities such as getting in and out of bed and turning off the light switch can lead to unforeseen injuries. Thankfully, there are things you can do to reduce the risk of hurting yourself in your own bedroom.

Using an assortment of mobility aids, you can modify your bedroom to recreate a safe place where you don't have to live in fear of hurting yourself every time you get up to do something. In the article, we'll explore helpful ways and useful tools that you can use to make your bedroom an accessible place for older adults. After you've finished reading, you'll have a good grasp of the various types of mobility aids that are available to you.


8 Tips for Making a Seniors' Bedroom Safe and Accessible

Adjustable beds

Image: Adjustable Bed - Courtesy of  Amerisleep

If you have trouble getting in and out of your bed because it sits too low or too high, then it’s time to consider getting an adjustable bed. Your bed should sit at a height that doesn't make it challenging for you to get in and out of it. An adjustable bed will allow you to adjust your bed’s height to a position that’s comfortable and makes it easy for you to get in and out of bed.

Additionally, adjustable beds let you change the incline level to promote healthier and better sleep positions. Having healthy sleeping habits will give you a better night’s rest and lessen your chance of developing health conditions including sleep apnea, snoring, and acid reflux.

Bed tables

Image: Adjustable Overbed Table - Courtesy of Pinterest

Bed tables, also known as Overbed tables, are suitable for seniors who spend most of their time in bed. By using a bed table, you eliminate the need to rely on someone else to help you read, eat, or do and get the things you need. Most bed tables are easy to store, so you won’t have to worry about tripping over them when you get out of bed.

Conversely, bed sie tables offer an added layer of support to help you get out of bed safely. You can use them to keep you from falling down and as a way to take the strain off your knees and legs when you get back into bed.

Bed rails

Installing bed rails can keep you from rolling out of your bed while you sleep, as well as give you something to hold on to when you get in and out of bed. Bed rails can be used in nursing facilities and in your everyday home.

Adjustable bed rails

Hospital bed rails

Image: The Best Bed Rails for Seniors - Courtesy of Consumer Expert

Simply put, hospital bed rails are specifically designed for hospital beds or any other FDA-regulated bed. They prevent people from accidentally rolling out of bed, and they provide an extra layer of comfort and security.

Bed Steps

Image: Bed Step System - Courtesy of Kemper Medical, Inc.

Bed steps work similarly to bed rails - they make getting in and out of bed easier. If walking upstairs isn’t challenging for you, then you may want to consider adding this modification to your bedroom. They provide support and stability, but there are a few things you should consider before you buy bed steps.

  • Weight capacity: Light-duty bed steps can hold up to 200 pounds, and heavy-duty steps can hold up to 250 pounds. Also, keep in mind the weight of the steps because some of them can be quite heavy.
  • Number of steps: Most bed steps come with one, two, or three steps. One-step stools are good for people who don’t need that much assistance. Two-step stools are best for people whose bed sits up a bit too high. Three-step stools are for people who have moderate to severe difficulty getting into bed.
  • Folded or molded: Folded bed steps are easy to store, but they’re a bit more expensive. Molded bed steps can’t be folded, so it’s harder to store them. However, molded bed steps are cheaper than folded ones.
  • Materials: Bed steps are either made out of fiberglass, metal, and plastic. Plastic steps are the cheapest and weigh the least out of these three options. Metal steps are durable and long-lasting, but they’re more expensive. Lastly, fiberglass steps are lightweight, and they’re stronger than plastic steps, but not metal ones.

Pillows

Pillows can play a crucial role in your quality of sleep and life. Sleeping on the wrong pillows can cause an array of health conditions that leave your body weakened. That being said, I understand that it can be hard trying to find a pillow that's comfortable for you. Below, I've listed a few types of pillows that will bring comfort and relief to people experiencing pain, fatigue, sleep apnea, heartburn, etc.

Positioning pillows

Positioning Pillow - Courtesy of Win Health

If you have a condition that keeps you in bed all day, you may find it hard to stay comfortable when you’re constantly laying in the same position. Not only that, but when people lay in bed, they typically lay in a position that’s harmful and can cause various health conditions including sleep apnea, heartburn, acid reflux, and loud snoring. Having a positioning pillow can prevent this and promote healthy sleeping habits.

Positioning pillows can improve your spinal alignment when you’re sleeping on your stomach and side. They will also provide support for your head, neck, back, hips, and legs. These pillows relieve pressure from the hips and spine and evenly distributes the pressure throughout the body to take the strain off of those specific areas.

Wedge pillows

Side Sleeper Bed Wedge - Courtesy of Relax The Back

Wedge pillows are similar to positioning pillows because they also provide support and proper spinal alignment. This kind of pillow is designed to slightly elevate the body to reduce pressure and pain. Wedge pillows are typically multi-purpose devices, which means they can be used to help you sit upright, placed under your pillow for a better night’s sleep, or placed under your legs to reduce swelling in your legs and feet. If you’re confined to your bed for most of the day, or you’re having trouble sleeping, a wedge pillow can create a more comfortable experience.

Body pillows

Body Pillow - Courtesy of My Pillow

Most body pillows are ergonomically designed to support your entire body. Like wedge and positioning pillows, body pillows help you sleep better by providing the cushion and support you need to get a good night’s sleep. Body pillows are ideal for people who have neck, shoulder, back, and leg problems.

Because pillows can affect everyone differently, I would advise that you talk with your doctor to determine what type of pillow would work best for you.

Seat cushions

Best Seat Cushions - Courtesy of Elderly Falls Prevention

As we get older and our bodies change, our skin becomes more sensitive, and if you have a mobility disability, it can lead to skin problems. For this reason, you must be aware of the products and materials that come in contact with your skin. If you spend most of your time in bed, you run the risk of developing pressure sores from the constant pressure of laying in the same position. Luckily, there are specialty seat cushions that are designed to relieve this pressure when you can’t do it yourself.

Seat cushions are also widely used by people who are confined to wheelchairs. When sitting in a wheelchair, most people tend to slide a little bit and go into a pelvic tilt that causes poor posture and can lead to respiratory problems. Adding a seat cushion to your chair can prevent this from happening. You’ll want a seat cushion that’s made out of high-quality foam that doesn’t collapse under your weight. There are two types of seat cushions. They include:

  • Gel cushions: Gel cushions absorb the friction caused by slipping and sliding, and they’re made from breathable-materials so that air can flow freely.
  • Specialty cushions: Specialty conditions are made from different materials that are tailored to your specific needs.

Standing aids

vertical stander

Transfer Aids

Images: Courtesy of Independent Living

Standing aids provide support to make it easier to go from sitting to standing. Non-mechanized standing aids may include canes, walkers, arm guards, bed rails, and anything else that can be used to help lift you up. There are also mechanized standing aids that are designed for people who can stand for a long time but have trouble getting up. These devices lift you up for you so that you don’t have to exert too much energy or hurt yourself to stand up. What’s great about standing aids is they can be placed anywhere. You can use them in the living room, bathroom, bedroom, and car. There are several types of standing aids. They include:

  • Standing transfer aids: These are for people who can do some weight-bearing and only mild help getting up from their seat.
  • Vertical standers: Vertical standers are electric-powered and provide extra support for your arms, knees, hips, and torso.
  • Short distance transfer aids: Short distance transfer aids are shower-friendly and make it easy for people to get up from their wheelchair, toilet, or chair and back into the seated position.

Lighting

If you have limited mobility, the last thing you want to do is hurt yourself bumping into things because you can’t see your way to the bathroom. Lighting aids make it easy for you to see where you’re going in the dark. Even something as simple as a nightlight can keep your room dimly lit while you sleep. Here are a few more lighting aids that you should consider adding to your bedroom

  • Mattress lights: Mattress lights are LED lights that surround and fit under your bed to create a dim light that helps you see your surroundings when you get out bed.
  • Rocker light switches: Rocker light switches can be turned on and off using your hand, palm, or elbow, so you don’t have to fumble trying to find a tiny light switch.
  • Touch-activated bedside lamps: These lamps offer a safer alternative to reaching over in the dark to turn on your light. Having a touch-activated lamp eliminates the effort spent trying to find the switch and makes turning on the light as easy as 1,2,3.

Lighting aids can also have a positive impact on your health - if it’s the proper lighting. As we age, bedroom lighting becomes important because our eyes are more sensitive then they used to be. According to the Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program (MAREP), proper lighting can improve your overall quality of life and reduce your chance of developing worsening eye problems.


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