You should spend at least eight hours each night sleeping, so your bedroom should be a place where you can relax. Your bedroom should not be a hazardous obstacle course during the day or the night. Every time you get up at night, sleepy and unsteady, moving around without your glasses in the dark, you are taking a chance on falling right there in your own bedroom. You can use some Fall Prevention aids to offset those risks. Take a few moments to survey your bedroom and prevent the nightmare that comes from an injury from a fall.
First, can you get out of bed yourself independently, or do you need help?
Is your bed too low for you to comfortably rise and stand? If your bed is too low, then when you sit down, you will notice that your knees are higher than your hips when you are sitting on the edge of the bed. You can increase the bed’s height by putting bed risers under the legs of the bed.
Or is the bed too high so you have to get help, or scoot and slide and hold on to something to drag yourself on top? If your bed is too high, your feet will not completely touch the floor when you are sitting on the edge of the bed. To solve this problem, get someone to remove the bed frame or use a lower mattress or box spring.
Do you have difficulty sitting up to get out bed, or are you unsteady when getting in the bed? Get a half bed-rail or a bed cane which is a bedside railing which fits under the mattress and above the box spring.
Do you use a hospital bed? If you find that the bed takes up too much of the space in your bedroom, then look at some options in hospital beds. You may or may not need full rails on the hospital bed. You might prefer a bed which adjusts in height from the floor, rather than one that is a fixed height. You could remove the wheels from the bed legs to lower it. Talk to your hospital bed provider and your physical or occupational therapist to find a bed that is appropriate for your needs and your caregiver’s needs, and does not limit your independence unnecessarily.
Once out of bed, what’s in your path? I hope it’s not a slippery rug that will wad up under your feet and cause you to trip. Get rid of that. If you want to keep your feet warm when you get out of bed, then wear some non-slip bed socks, and forget the rug.
Is there a nightlight or a lamp within reach so you won’t be walking in the dark? Adequate lighting within reach is very important. There are lighting options which use a remote control , so you won’t even have to get out of bed to turn on the light. Or, put a flashlight on your bedside table. Place at least two nightlights in the bedroom to illuminate the room at night. Add additional nightlights along the hall or path to the bathroom, as well as one or more in the bathroom.
Keep your glasses, tissues, night medications and phone on a table or shelf by the bed. Clear off the other clutter on that table. Run the phone cords behind furniture out of the pathway, or use a cell phone or cordless phone in the bedroom.
If you use a wheelchair or walker, can you get around the bedroom without knocking into furniture or getting stuck there? Clear a pathway that fits your needs, and move out furniture or clutter that blocks your path. It is essential that you are able to move around your own bedroom safely.
Make sure the furniture in your bedroom does not present hazards with legs that poke out at knee or toe level. Make certain that chairs are not too low or too high for you to sit in comfortably. It is helpful for chairs to have arms usually.
How about the closet in your bedroom? Can you reach what you need without tiptoeing or climbing a step-stool? There are many ways to make clothing more accessible to you by adding shelves, lowering racks, or improving the arrangement of the items. Ask an occupational therapist for ideas about this. Moving items from a closet into dresser drawers may be the simplest solution.
Fall Prevention in your Bedroom
It’s worth the effort to make your bedroom a safe, convenient and restful place.
Wishing you a good night in your safer bedroom,…
If you have comments, we would love to hear them.