Declining muscle strength, deteriorating balance and fading endurance is a natural part of the aging process. And perhaps the biggest concern for individuals living with elderly parents or patients is their safety and mobility.
But it becomes an even more important concern when seniors are either bed-ridden or are physically dependent. In that case, transporting the elderly person to and from the bed can be a challenge. However, there are several assistive products that can help you deal with this situation and make mobility comfortable.
In this post, we provide tips on how to handle your elderly parents or patients when transporting them to and from the bed. You can also find out links to some useful YouTube videos along with recommendations for assistive devices that seniors can use to get in and out of bed on their own. So without further delay, let’s get started.
How to Help the Elderly Get Out of Bed?
Helping someone to get into and out of the bed may seem like a simple task, but when it comes to dealing with seniors, the job is a tough one. You need to ensure that both you and your loved one remain safe and that can only happen if you are careful about following the instructions and know about the right aids that can provide most support. So here is how you can help your elderly parents or patients to get into and out of their bed.
How to Lift the Elderly from Bed?
Believe it or not, there is a lot that goes into lifting an elderly person from bed, and while individual circumstances may vary which can change the process slightly, here is what the generalized step-by-step process looks like:
- 1Proximity to the Edge of the Bed
The first step is to bring the person in bed close to the edge of the bed. However, make sure there is a safe distance between the person and edge of the bed.
- 2Roll onto the Side
Now that the patient is already close to the edge, assist them in rolling over onto their side. If a bed rail is attached to the edge of the bed, the patient can take assistance while rolling over. If there is no bed rail, the take care will need to physically assist the elderly person to turn towards their side. All you have to do is to support the shoulder that is furthest from the edge of the bed along with supporting the hip on the same side of the body.
- 3Getting into the Sitting Position
Once the person in the bed has moved to the side, now is the time to move the legs over the edge of the bed. If you are assisting in this process without the use of any aids, you need to support the shoulder that is on the edge along with helping the patient to bring the legs down to the ground.
- 4Continue to Cue Them
If the person in bed can understand and follow instructions, continue to cue them throughout the process. The more you communicate, the better the process will be for both of you. However, in case the patient cannot follow instructions, you as a care taker may require more support.
How to Transport an Elderly Person from Bed to Toilet?
Perhaps the most challenging aspect of dealing with an elderly person with limited mobility is to transfer them from bed to the toilet. Here are two possible scenarios and an explanation of how to deal with each situation.
For Partially Mobile Patients
Using the above steps, once the person in bed is sitting upright, you will need assistive devices to help partially mobile patients get to the toilet.
For Completely Immobile Seniors
For completely dependent patients who cannot walk, there are three possible ways of transporting them to the toilet.
How to Transfer the Elderly from Wheelchair to Bed?
If you are using wheelchair to transport the elderly person, here is how to get the job done in the right manner.
Good YouTube Videos: How to Help the Elderly Into and Out of Bed?
If you are still not clear about how to help the elderly to get into and out of the bed, take a look at the following videos to get a better understanding of how to go about it.
Getting out of the Bed with Assistance (Without a Bed rail)
Getting into the Bed with Assistance and Bedrail
Bed to Wheel Chair Transfer
Transporting from Wheelchair to Toilet (with Assistance)
Transporting from Wheelchair to Toilet (with Assistance and Lift)
Products to Help the Elderly Get Out of Bed
While transporting the seniors can be challenging, but there are several assistive devices that can help them get in and out of the safely and comfortably. Some of the products that can aid in safe mobility include the following.
A hospital bed is usually recommended for patients that have multiple medical conditions. The bed allows for repositioning and weight shifting for people who have difficulty in getting in and out of the bed.
The height of the hospital bed can be adjusted. Height of the bed is important because if the height is too low, it is be difficult for an individual to get up from the bed. Moreover, they will be sitting low that can strain different parts of the body.
Rising from beds that are too tall give adequate support and the person in bed feels more confident about standing upright. Moreover, hospital beds usually have bed rails and in case there are no bed rails, you can easily attach them on the sides.
Furthermore, the headrest can be raised to a comfortable angle where the patient is already partially sitting. This makes standing a lot more easier.
Unlike a hospital bed that gives flexibility of the upper and lower parts of the bed, an adjustable bed can transform into several positions that have genuine practical uses for the elderly. Adjustable beds provide support to all parts of the body so the patient can position comfortably in the bed. Moreover, an adjustable bed helps patients deal with various sleep conditions, chronic pain and heart burn.
Similar to how an elevated headrest of a hospital bed works, a wedge pillow is designed to provide support to torso and upper body. For individuals who have difficulty in getting out of the bed, having a foam bed wedge under the pillow allows such patients to have their upper body partially elevated. This elevation aids in sitting upright. Moreover, the wedge pillow is inexpensive and portable means you can carry it from one room to another. However, foam wedge pillows need be replaced over time as they can deteriorate.
Bed rail is one of the most commonly used assistive product. Seniors that are weak and immobile have difficulty in rolling from one side to another. Moreover, they may need assistance is sitting upright if they are in a lying position. However, your elderly parents or dependent patients can enjoy increased independence using bed rails.
The assistive product can be attached to the sides of the bed or to the floor and walls and allow the user in a lying position to sit upright with minimal or no assistance. The product not just aids in mobility but also adds to the safety of the patient. There is a wide variety of bed rails available on the market and you can easily find the one that is most suitable to your needs.
A transfer pole is a fixed supportive device that is positioned vertically a few inches away from the bed and aids in pulling patients up from the surface. It is attached to the ground and is braced between plates on the ceiling. A transfer pole is installed by a professional however, it is fixed so if you plan to relocate the bed, you will have to relocate the transfer pole as well.
Many seniors rely on a gait aid for stability and balance. A gait aid can allow elderly people to stand easily from any surface while they are sitting. Moreover, it supports as they walk and even when they are not walking, a gait aid ensures that the individual gets constant support as they stand. You can find a variety of gait aid with varying support levels. Though a single point base provides support, it is best to invest in a tripod base, and quad base for better sustenance.
When a person’s physical ability is declining, a wheeled walker, also known as a rollator provides the required assistance. It is ideal for patients who have chronic conditions and have trouble lifting assistive devices such as gait aid. Since it is a walker with attached wheels, it provides support in getting out of the bed however, when used inadequately, the same assistive device can also lead to fall and injury. Therefore, it is best to invest in a rollator that has a larger base as it adds more to the stability of the equipment.
Another assistive device that can help the elderly person stand up comfortably is a grab bar. It works similar to how a transfer pole works but it is placed horizontally. Moreover, it is much shorter in length compared to a transfer pole. A grab bar can be attached close to the bed, but they are equally effective when installed in the bathroom as they provide adequate support from getting off the toilet and returning to a standing position.
When the bed is too low to the ground, it can be difficult for most seniors to get out of the bed. A surface that is too low can add a lot of pressure on the joints. Moreover, standing up from a low surface requires a lot of energy which the elderly people often lack. Ideally, a hospital or adjustable bed allows to elevate the surface but in case you are looking for a temporary and low cost solution, a furniture riser can be a great help. These are wooden blocks or plastic risers that can make you more capable of independently getting out of bed. And when you use furniture risers, you need minimal relocation or renovation in terms of furniture.
Reduced mobility is a natural and almost inevitable part of the aging process. And getting the elderly in and out of the bed safely remains one of the biggest concerns. However, if you are a care taker or are living with elderly parents, this guide will help you deal with the situation in a better manner.
There are easy steps that you can follow and a description of several assistive devices that can help you in the process. Make sure you use adequate support devices for a more comfortable transfer to and from the bed. Lastly, regardless of the equipment you are using, nothing can replace the human element. Continue to communicate with your loved ones as you transport them and when they are on board, you can surely expect a smoother transition.