by Nancy Pham
The bedroom is supposed to be a safe haven where one can sleep, relax, and curl up in a good book after a long day. However, the bedroom can also be a dangerous place – especially for your elderly parent. Medical conditions, limited strength, and balance issues can make every day activities, such as getting in and out of bed, difficult. The bed, itself, can cause rashes and irritation for those with fragile skin. The risk of falling and developing bed sores increase with age, so it’s important to make sure your elderly parent’s haven is equipped for bedroom safety.
Here are several ways you can modify the bedroom to make your loved one feel comfortable and more at ease:
- Install safety rails onto the bed. This accomplishes two things. First, it can help keep your dad from falling off the bed and injuring himself. Secondly, a bed safety rail provides a stable support for your dad to grab onto when he needs help getting in and out of bed, or repositioning in bed. This added support will reduce the chance of your dad getting a head injury, hip fracture, or dislocation.
- Ensure adequate lighting. If your parent has vision problems, you want to make sure that their bedroom is well lit. Touch-sensitive lamps are great for the elderly since there are no switches to pull, buttons to press, or knobs to twist. Use a nightlight so your mom doesn’t stumble and bump into things on the way to the bathroom or urinal in the middle of the night. Don’t forget to install lighting in the closet.
- Prevent bed sores using special pads. Skin care maintenance is vital for the elderly. If your parent spends a lot of time in bed, it’d be a good idea to provide a pressure prevention mattress, gel pad, or sheepskin pad that’ll help redistribute pressure on the body. Bed ulcers can be deadly, so it’s highly important to practice good bed sore prevention skills.
- Ease body aches with a bed wedge. For many elderly adults, simple movements can take great effort and can cause great pain. A bed wedge helps elevate the legs, knees, or other body part that needs pain relief. Pillow wedges are also great for congestion and respiratory problems.
- Upgrade to a hospital bed. Sometimes a regular old bed is just not convenient or safe enough for your parent, especially if they are bedridden. The top and bottom of a home hospital bed is adjustable to meet the individual’s specific needs. Hospital beds for at-home use can be manual, full-electric, semi-electric, or bariatric. You can even install additional assistive products, like a bed rail or trapeze, to help with proper positioning in and out of bed.
Nancy Pham is a passionate health blogger who provides valuable information on helping elderly adults feel safe and comfortable in their own home. She writes for Just Home Medical, a supplier of affordable home medical supplies. In her spare time, Nancy indulges in sushi and long hikes.