Buying the right bed becomes even more important if you’re over 65. This is because your health is deteriorating, and the wrong bed will make it worse. It’s time to get rid of the regular bed you may be using and invest instead in one that is more suitable to your physical needs.
Major Types of Beds for Seniors: Adjustable Beds and Hospital Beds for Home Use
This section describes the two major types of beds for seniors; adjustable beds and hospital beds for home use. Adjustable beds and hospital beds share only one common feature, that is that both have adjustable platforms for your head and feet. Apart from this one feature, the two are quite different. We describe what each bed is, how it works, its benefits, and its pros and cons.
Adjustable Beds for Seniors
Adjustable beds are designed to look like traditional beds, but they offer several benefits for certain sleepers, especially the elderly who have health concerns. These beds are also ideal for people who suffer from therapeutic injuries or chronic conditions.
Adjustable beds come in all sizes - twin, full, queen, and king, and the mattresses made for such beds are designed to withstand different adjustments. The bed adjustments are controlled through either a wired or wireless hand control. Depending on the model you get, you can have basic or more advanced controls, where you can add certain adjustments to your “favorites,” which means that those adjustments will just be a touch away. Some models even include heat and therapeutic massages, which is a huge plus for the elderly since it provides added comfort and relief from pain.
Benefits of Adjustable Beds for Seniors
Many elders suffer from various sleep conditions that affect their general well-being. An adjustable bed helps with chronic sleep conditions like sleep apnea, chronic snoring, and insomnia, so they can have a peaceful full night’s rest and an active day ahead.
One of the ways an adjustable bed relieves pain is by means of head or foot elevation, which works on different body zones and helps alleviate pressure from problem areas. This also distributes the weight of one’s body evenly over the bed and consequently saves the sleeper from back pain, as well as pain in the shoulders, knees, the hips, and joints.
Pros of Using Adjustable Beds
Cons of Using Adjustable Beds
Hospital Beds for Home Use
Hospital beds are for people who have serious medical issues and are usually accompanied by a medical caregiver. One feature that hospital beds have that adjustable beds do not is that they can be lowered to floor level or raised upward towards the ceiling. This serves two purposes; the first is to give the caregiver’s back a break, and the second is to prevent injuries to the patient or the elderly person in case they fall out while sleeping or when trying to get out of bed.
These beds also have industrial wheels that make them very mobile and easy to move, in addition to having in-built side rails that have the bed controls. The mattresses used for hospital beds are also different; they’re made of thick vinyl, which makes them easy to scrub and disinfect. Hospital beds generally have an industrial look with bulky frames that can look off-putting next to the rest of your furniture, and they only come in twin sizes, which means you cannot sleep with your partner.
Benefits of Hospital Beds for Home Use
The height adjustment feature comes in very handy when dealing with elderly patients. By decreasing the height, you can keep them from suffering any real damage in case they do fall off. Adjustable height is also a useful feature for when Hoyer patient lifts are used for disabled people, for example, for moving them from their wheelchairs to the beds. Lots of elderly people are disabled and require this function, at which time having a hospital bed pays off.
Another benefit is its portability. Any other bed would need to be disassembled before it could be transported, but hospital beds can just be rolled off easily without even disturbing the person in it.
Since these beds are FDA approved, they are sold by recognized medical equipment sellers, which means they are normally covered under health insurance policies. Therefore, if you’re on a budget, this particular benefit can be a game-changer for you because insurance companies will pay for this bed for you.
If the lack of amenities and the utilitarian design does not bother you that much, and you know this bed might have to be moved around frequently, a hospital bed is the right bed for you.
Pros of Using Hospital Beds for Home
Cons of Using Hospital Beds for Home
Bed Equipment for the Elderly
In addition to the appropriate type of bed, there is also some equipment that seniors and their caregivers can use to help and protect them. Below, we describe the major types of equipment; bed rails, bed liners, bed sensors, and bed bumpers.
Bed Rails for the Elderly
Bed rails are railings that go along the side of a bed and come in many shapes and sizes. They serve two purposes. One is to prevent you from rolling off from the bed, and the other is to provide something to hold on to so getting up from the bed is easier and doesn’t require assistance.
Bed Liners for the Elderly
As you age, you are more likely to lose control over your bladder. Not only can this be uncomfortable for you, but it also costs time and effort to wash the mattress every time. It might even have to be replaced. With bed liners, your mattress stays clean and safe, and you just have to wash the sheet.
Bed Sensors for the Elderly
Caregivers and family members often worry about the elderly with conditions like dementia, getting up from the bed, and not being able to find their way back. Seniors might also fall off and not be able to get back up. Bed sensors can help out here. They have pressure sensors, and when they sense that the weight of the user is no longer on the bed, they send a signal to the person in the other room.
Bed Bumpers for the Elderly
Bed bumpers can be placed on the sides of the bed to prevent falls. They are a softer alternative compared to bed rails. They also don’t have spaces between them, unlike rails, so you won’t get your arm or leg stuck there and cause discomfort or pain.
FAQs: Beds for Seniors
There are some frequently asked questions that seniors and their caregivers have about beds for seniors. Below we answer those questions:
One’s bed should be the right height to ensure that there is no extra stress on the body. For the elderly, this becomes even more important since they are more likely to be suffering from medical conditions such as arthritis. According to the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, the ideal height from the floor to the top of the mattress should be 20 to 23 inches.
However, this is not something definitive. What matters is that when you sit on the bed, your knees should be in line with your hips and your feet should be planted flat on the ground. If the bed is too high, you will have to jump on and off it and might be prone to serious injury. On the other hand, getting in or out of a bed that is too low puts too much strain on the muscles. For seniors with a higher risk of falling from the bed, lower bed heights work better.
The elderly should use a bed that is the right height for them. When they sit on the bed, their feet should be flat on the ground, and their knees should be in line with their hips. This ensures that they are able to get up from the bed without putting extra stress on their joints. The bed should also be wide enough, so they don’t fall off and injure themselves.
The senior population can benefit in many ways by using an adjustable bed, considering the changes our bodies inevitably go through as we age. An adjustable bed ensures more restful sleep, which is even more important for the elderly because they are more likely to suffer from the side effects of not sleeping well. They are also more likely to get chronic spinal pain. An adjustable bed helps to ease the stress on the back and prevent pain. It also helps to boost blood circulation and prevent swelling of the feet and legs by elevating the leg rest of the bed.
Even the simplest body movements can become difficult with age. Getting out of bed can take a lot of core and muscle strength, which the elderly may lack. The adjustable backrest can help you sit upright so you can swing your legs off the bed and stand up. This feature also comes in handy when they want to sit up in bed to eat, watch TV, or read.
Seniors falling out of bed is a big concern for their family members and caregivers since it can cause serious injuries, such as hip fractures, to their already fragile and weak bodies. Hence, it’s necessary to ensure they sleep on a bed that keeps them secure from potential falls that occur from a rolling motion during their sleep or while getting out of the bed.
While you can make do with your existing bed by installing bed rails, placing a foam pool noodle or pillows on the sides of the bed, and a fall mat next to the bed to soften any fall, replacing your bed with a hospital bed is a great option too. A hospital bed’s height can be lowered so it’s appropriate for your height, and falls can be prevented. They also come with built-in rails that can be raised and lowered as and when needed.
Depending on your particular health conditions and mobility, as well as the convenience of your caregiver, you can choose between a hospital bed and an adjustable bed. You can go through the list of pros and cons of each type of bed we have put together for you and figure out what suits you better. Either way, as a senior, a regular bed is not the most comfortable for you and can cause poor sleep and several physical problems.
Healing from a broken hip requires a lot of bed rest. Many complications can result from elongated bed rest that can prove to be life-threatening, such as pneumonia, bedsores, and blood clots. All of these can be controlled if the patient is moved around frequently. An adjustable bed allows that because its leg and backrests can be raised. It also helps the patient get out of bed, which is important for the healing process.
We hope this guide will help you make an informed decision about what type of bed to purchase that would be the most suitable for your particular needs, as well as some of the equipment that will increase your safety and comfort.