Help a Senior In and Out of Bed Safely
Getting in and out of bed safely is one of those things you never really think about. You just climb into bed, go to sleep, and wake up rested.
But, as we age our body starts to change to the point to where we begin to do things differently. We may walk a little slower, we use stairs more carefully, and maybe we sleep a little longer.
Change is Good
Making your home free of fall hazards and adapted to your physical mobility needs just makes sense as you get older. You may already have such safety equipment such as nightlights and suction grab bars to assist you.
In the bedroom, abiding by some safety rules when getting into and out of bed is wise. It is possible to slip and fall when trying to sit on your bed and end up with a broken hip. I know because that’s exactly what happened to my mother-in-law. I also know that it doesn’t take near as much time and effort to make your bedroom safe as it does to recover from a broken hip.
So, let’s look at a few things that might help you get in and out of bed safely.
- Bed Height
Make sure the bed is low enough for the user to easily sit without having to “climb” up and into the bed. We had a hospital bed provided for my mother and we were able to remove the wheels to get the bed lowered to a safe height. The correct bed height is also important to the caregiver who would be assisting the patient.
- Non-slip Flooring in the Bedroom
Try to eliminate slip-hazards around the bed. Even a small slip can cause a loss of balance which in turn may result in falling. Make certain that carpet or rugs are stable on the floor and will not bunch up. Be mindful of trip hazards including shoes and clothes on the floor and place them out of the walking path.
- Bed Rails
Using a bed railing on both sides or one side of the bed can help when getting in and out of bed safely. Consider the different sizes (lengths) that might best help. There are the full-length types that are generally intended to keep a person in bed as they sleep. There’s also the half-length type which can provide valuable balance assist and hand hold for the user when sitting or standing. Also consider how the railing lifts and lowers and make sure that both the caregiver and the patient know how to do lift and lower the rail.
- Bed Coverings and Linens
How many blankets, sheets, quilts, etc. are on the bed? Piling on the covers may cause difficulty when the patient tries to move off or on the bed. It might be best to choose fewer bed coverings that can be easily moved aside.
Does the patient wear nightgowns or pajama pants that could be stepped on and cause them to trip? Is the clothing too heavy or too light for the room temperature so that the patient is uncomfortable in bed?
How often does the patient have to get out of bed to go to the toilet? If toileting is frequent, it might be best for him to have a bedside portable toilet, so trips to the toilet don’t require a long walk down the hallway when he is sleepy
Help of a Therapist
Finally, it is helpful to ask for a physical or occupational therapist to evaluate the patient’s sleeping arrangements, such as bed height and their ability to move on and off the bed. Such therapists are able to assess the user’s abilities and suggest modifications and equipment that may be needed. Talk to your doctor about a referral for a therapist.
Learn more about Fall Prevention in the Bedroom.
If you are a caregiver who assists a person in and out of bed, you need to be sure that you don’t hurt yourself. Be careful when performing that task. Here is an informative video from 24hr HomeCare that can help with a safe way to do that.
If you have any suggestions for getting in and out of bed safely, please let us know. Just use the comment section below.