How to Improve Bedroom Safety and Prevent Falls in the Bedroom?

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Bedroom safety is critical to the wellbeing of seniors while aging in place. It is where you spend a lot of your time in a day, and keeping it hazard-free is necessary. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries among older adults. Each year, 3 million people over 65 admit themselves to the ER due to fall injuries. However, falls are mostly preventable. The elderly and their caregivers can prevent falls and injuries by taking the following simple precautions.

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Bedroom hazards and safety measures to take

You can easily make a bedroom hazard-free by using simple precautions such as bedside steps stool for the elderly, appropriate lighting, and clutter-free floors. Let’s delve into some of the common risks and how to mitigate them using appropriate aids.

Getting in and out of bed 

The task of getting in and out of bed can be a challenge for seniors with restricted mobility. Often, this can lead to falls due to poor balance or reduced spatial awareness. Hence, it is essential to use aids that help the elderly to get out of bed. Here are a few tips to add safety to your bed: 

  • Install a Bed Rail
  • A bed rail is probably the simplest tool to install and use for bedroom safety. Bed rails or handrails provide additional support by placing your body’s weight on the rails as you try to get in or out of bed. While you can install bed rails between the mattress and box spring, other handrails are portable and have a step that help with higher beds. These are called step stool with handrails. 

  • Use Personal Transfer Devices
  • Personal transfer devices are mobility aids that give you the independence of getting in and out of bed without the help of another person. There are many options. A leg lifter helps position your legs before moving. A wooden transfer board greatly improves safety for transferring to and from a wheelchair. And a swivel cushion is another simple yet innovative tool to position your body correctly from a sitting position. 

  • Use a Step Stool to Get in and Out of Bed
  • Choose a bedside step stool that fits comfortably with your bed. It is one of the most common and well-appreciated mobility devices for bedroom safety. High beds may make it difficult for you to lift your limbs and balance as you try to get in. Similarly, while getting out, your feet may not touch the ground completely, causing you to lose stability. Hence, investing in a bedside step stool with handrails, non-skid feet, and a wide landing is wise. Moreover, sturdy bedside steps for the elderly can be effective in preventing falling out of bed. 

  • Find Transfer Aids for Caretakers
  • Not only seniors but caretakers need to ensure their safety as well. While assisting the elderly, caretakers can use transfer aids like belts, blankets, or lift slings. These have multiple handles that can help caregivers either lift manually or with the help of a powered lift. Moreover, you can use a transfer handle for those who can move around but require additional support.

    Mobility Aids for Caretakers

    Sitting up in bed 

    Sometimes debility in seniors can make sitting up in bed a daunting task. Often older adults recovering from surgery, facing extreme fatigue due to illness, or dealing with weakness cannot sit up and require additional support. Thankfully there are a few easy ways to make this safe for you or your loved ones. 

  • Get an Adjustable Bed or Bed Frame
  • You can sit up and lie back with a touch of a button when you opt for an adjustable bed. Although it might be an expensive investment, an adjustable bed can be a critical addition to bedroom safety for those with limited mobility. Adjustable beds come in various types. Some allow you to raise the head to a sitting up position, while others can adjust head and feet both, change mattress firmness, provide a massage using vibrating sensors, and more. Bed frames provide additional safety and act like falling-out-of-bed prevention.

  • Keep Aids Close to the Bed
  • This is a very simple and practical tip to ensure the safety of the elderly in the bedroom. Losing balance and toppling over is a risk if it takes a lot of effort to reach out to your aids. Your aids should be within reach and ready to use when you wish to sit up. For example, you should place the bedside steps for the elderly in the correct position of the bed. You can get one with padded grab bars and use them as leverage to sit up. 

    Navigating the bedroom

    Seniors can reduce the risk of falls and injuries by ensuring that the bedroom is free of potential hazards. Make sure to keep the bedroom clutter-free to enable movement without hindrance with these simple ideas.

    Store Walking or Mobility Aids Next to the Bed

    Walking aids and bedside steps for the elderly should have a designated space next to the bed. Keep rollators, wheelchairs, and walkers at a comfortable distance so that seniors can reach them in minimum steps. Position step stools for high beds in a way that they aid in stepping off with ease.

    Wear Non-Slip Socks

    Slipping on smooth floors is a danger that can lead to serious injuries. Make sure your loved ones use non-slip socks that give an excellent grip to reduce the risk of slipping. Slippers with treads also provide traction, but they can become a tripping hazard when left by the bedside. 

    Walker/Cane

    Your walker or cane should always be handy to minimize walking without support. Allow enough space in your bedroom to navigate using a walker. Remove clutter on the floor, such as rugs or wires that entangle in mobility aids. Make sure they have non-slip feet for added traction and safety.

    How do you prevent falls in the bedroom?

    Preventing falls in the bedroom begins with evaluating the space for tripping hazards. Take a good look around the bedroom. If you find anything that may cause a potential threat to your balance or stability, eliminate or replace it with safer alternatives. Here’s a list of some of the most common hazards that you can remove to ensure bedroom safety. 

  • Remove any throw rugs that you may have placed on the floor. These act as one of the most dangerous hazards and can make you trip if you are not cautious. Also, they hinder the smooth navigation of wheeled aids like rollators or may entangle with walking canes. Although you can secure them with non-slip backing, it’s best to get rid of them for your safety.
  • Relocate pet beds, crates, and toys to another part of the house. They take up space and make navigating the room difficult as you try to dodge items on the floor, or your pup, who comes running to its bed. 
  • Tuck away all cords, cables, and wires to avoid hindering the space for movement. Wires should not crisscross across the room as they act as one of the most common tripping hazards.
  • Remove bed skirts. These decorative additions become threats for falls waiting. In addition, throw pillows should be off the floor and stored in a closet.
  • Don’t use oversized duvet covers or comforters, as the extra material can pose a tripping risk if/when they twist around your legs or feet.

  • prevent falls in the bedroom

    Other Common Bedroom Hazards

    While bedside safety and fall prevention are easy, with a few tips and tricks, a comprehensive evaluation of your bedroom can help make more structural changes to reduce falls. Here are some crucial pointers. 

    Flooring

    You may want to consider various options for the flooring to ensure that it is anti-skid, easy to maintain, and clean. Different types of flooring have their pros and cons. For example, carpets collect dust and allergens and may pose a health threat. Moreover, they aren’t very comfortable for wheeled mobility aids like wheelchairs or rollators. Hardwood floors are aesthetically appealing, while laminate floors can withstand spills and accidents. However, both tend to become slippery, and you may require non-slip socks or shoes. Choose floors wisely to ensure bedroom safety.

    Lighting

    Lighting is crucial to avoiding falls and injuries. Bedrooms should be adequately lit — neither too dark nor too bright. This helps in maintaining good vision and minimizes the risk of accidents in the dark. Motion-activated lights are a boon for seniors. You can also opt for bedside step stools for the elderly with motion-activated under bed lights. It is a handy feature for navigating the room at night for frequent bathroom visits. Other options are clapping lights or remotely activated lights that let you switch on and off easily without having to leave the bed. 

    Windows

    Fit windows with alarms if you live on the ground floor for safety against intruders or if you do not wish your loved ones to leave a window open accidentally. Also, all windows must be easy to open and lock from inside.

    Furniture

    Keep only essential furniture in the room to navigate the room without any obstructions. Choose step stools, nightstands, dressers, and closets to fit the space in the room. Often oversized furniture can reduce the space in the room, making maneuvering difficult. 

    Doors & Doorways

    Check if thresholds of doorways are intact or suitable for movement. If you use a wheelchair or mobility scooter, you may need to widen doorways to ensure unrestricted movement. You can also secure doors with easy opening handles. 

    Final thoughts

    While most seniors prefer to age in place, you must modify the living space for the safety of your loved ones. A few simple precautions can go a long way in preventing falls and injuries in the elderly, ensuring they spend their golden years in health and safety.

     

    FAQ: 

    What is the hazard in the bedroom?

    A hazard is anything that can cause tripping or falls, such as oversized furniture, carpets, wires, or broken thresholds. Falling by slipping on smooth surfaces is also a potential hazard. Getting in and out of bed, especially high beds, without the support of aids like bedside steps for the elderly can be a potential hazard too, especially in elders with mobility issues.

    How can I make my elderly bed safer?

    You can make beds for seniors safer by installing step stools with grab handles, bed rails, under-bed lights for navigation at night, adjustable beds to aid sitting up in bed. Personal transfer devices and similar aids also help safely get in and out of bed for the elderly. 

    How do you prevent falls in the bedroom?

    You can prevent falls in the bedroom by using devices that provide additional support while getting in and out of bed. Also, evaluate your bedroom to avoid any potential tripping or slipping hazards like rugs, wires, clutter, broken thresholds, slippery floors, or furniture that blocks the walkways.

    Vince Baiera

    Vince Baiera is the founder of step2health, a mobility aids and wellness company for older adults. He is a former ICU Nurse of the Cleveland Clinic and Duke University Hospital in the Cardiac ICU. With years of working on the frontlines, Vince noticed the struggles of older adults and people with mobility issues that became an impediment for both patients and their caretakers. He then designed and created the patented product, Step2Bed (and its variants) that helps seniors and those with mobility issues safely get in and out of bed. His philosophy concerning aging is to plan ahead and start with simple home and life modifications to avoid being overwhelmed at retirement.

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