What are the different types of bed step stools and which one is best for seniors?

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Spending their golden years at home is a wonderful thing for seniors. However, often the biggest challenge with aging in place is dealing with limited mobility. Simply getting in and out of bed, especially at night, can cause falls and injuries. Studies show that falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries in older adults. Yet, the bedroom can easily become a safer place using the right mobility aids like a step stool for the bed.

mobility aids like a step stool for the bed

Table Of Content

Types of bed step stools

Bed steps for the elderly come in various types: lightweight plastic, elegant wooden, or sturdy steel. Some are folding step stools, while some are specialized for medical or industrial purposes. 

Let’s take a look at some of them:

Bamboo step stool

A bamboo step stool is a natural choice while looking for an eco-friendly and lightweight step stool. It is versatile, and you can use it anywhere in the house for children and adults. It may also be suitable as a step stool for seniors who have fewer mobility issues. 

Pros: They are environment-friendly, sustainable, and look stylish in the home. Also, if constructed well, bamboo is sturdy as well as lightweight. 

Cons: A bamboo step stool for bed may not suit older adults needing more support as they do not have rails or grab bars. Moreover, the load-bearing capacity of bamboo stools may not be suitable for heavier adults. 

Wooden step stool

Wooden step stools are stylish pieces of furniture that can help reach a high shelf or change a light bulb. They look elegant with the rest of the decor. Some wooden steps stools are foldable, while some even have storage. 

Pros: Wooden step stools are compact, maybe foldable, and offer a stylish addition to the rest of the bedroom furniture. Wood lasts long, and a good design can make it sturdy enough for most adults. 

Cons: Wooden step stools may skid on smooth-surfaced floors. Also, the step is not usually wide. Moreover, it offers little support to the elderly without additional grab rails while getting in and out of bed. Wooden stools are not suitable for large individuals and may become unstable with everyday use.

Steel step stool

The steel step stools are the strongest and safest bed stools for the elderly. Most steel step stools have a larger weight-carrying capacity and last longer owing to their stable steel frame. A well-designed steel bed stool comes with non-slip steps and handrails to aid in stepping up with confidence. Look for a bed step stool that has height adjustment to suit different individuals. 

Pros: Steel step stools are one of the safest ones to prevent falls. They have a greater weight-bearing capacity, durable steel frame, adjustable height, and handrails for support. 

Cons: Most steel bed step stools are not foldable and may need some form of assembly. They are not lightweight and hence difficult to carry from one place to another.

However, to cater to the specific needs of seniors, here’s one of the best step stools for the bed. The Step2Bed features a non-slip, height-adjustable, wide landing base, support handrails (grab bars), motion-activated LED light for nighttime safety, rubber tips to keep the stool sturdy, and more. This 20 lbs. bed step stool is easy to assemble and fits on any side of the bed.

Plywood step stool

Plywood step stools are stylish and lightweight pieces that one can easily stow away under the bed when not required. They are commonly used in spas and salons and increase the aesthetic appeal of any space. 

Pros: A Plywood bed stool step comes in various designs to suit the décor of the living space. It has a versatile use in the house, and you can easily carry it around. 

Cons: Lack of traction make plywood step stools slippery. They have limited weight-bearing capacity and may not be suitable for heavier adults. Moreover, for seniors needing additional support of handrails, this plywood step may not be ideal. In addition, you can’t adjust the height of such step stools. 

Plastic step stool

For a tight budget, plastic step stools are the cheapest option available. They are lightweight and come in various colors. The molded plastic step stools are sturdier than non-molded ones, and the foldable ones offer excellent portability and ease of storage.

Pros: Plastic step stools are lightweight and cheap. They come in various sizes and colors, and you can easily carry them around the house for multiple uses. In addition to being lightweight and portable, plastic step stools are easy to maintain. 

Cons: The biggest drawback of plastic step stools is their inadequate load-bearing capacity. Narrow landing can make it difficult and risky to use. Some may not have a non-slip surface. In addition, they do not have any hand support, and the material is not as durable as metal step stools. 

Industrial step stool

Industrial step stools, also known as step ladders, are used in workplaces that require access to higher shelves. They usually have two or more steps and have to meet various federal safety standards. They are made of aluminum or metal alloys. 

Pros: They are durable and stable tools for reaching higher spaces. Industrial step stools have to adhere to federal ladder safety norms. They come in various sizes and are foldable.

Cons: Industrial step stools are not quite meant for bedside use. They are bulky and heavy for carrying around and may be too high to step into bed.

Stainless steel step stool

A stainless-steel step stool is ideal for medical purposes to minimize the risk of contamination caused by rusting or corrosion. Such step stools have welded joints making them durable and sturdy. In addition, they have a greater weight-bearing capacity than wooden or plastic.

Pros: Stainless steel does not corrode or rust, making these step stools long-lasting. They are stable and may come with height adjustment. Some step stools have additional safety of handrails for support. 

Cons: Most steel step stools are not foldable; hence portability is an issue. They are more expensive than other types of step stools due to their sturdy material build. In addition, they are heavier than other metal stools, such as aluminum, steel, or metal alloys. 

Here you can Find out the best bed step stool for seniors in 2021 !

Step stool for mobility

Get the right bed step stool for seniors

Research shows that 21% of falls in the elderly occur in the bedroom. One way to make the bedroom safer is by using a stable bed step stool for the elderly to enter and exit the bed safely. There are many types of steps stools to suit various needs. However, here are some of the crucial factors to consider before selecting an appropriate one:

  1. A step stool can have a structural failure if its design is unable to carry a load. For example, a plastic step stool meant for a toddler might give way when used by an adult.
  2. Often the problem with step stools is the lack of support to balance the body while stepping up. Grab bars or railings can offer greater support to hoist oneself on a step stool. 
  3. Engineering design flaws can make step stools unstable. At the same time, materials used to make step stools have to be sturdy and long-lasting to bring stability to the device. For example, a steel step stool is stronger and sturdier as compared to a plastic or wooden bed stool.
  4. One also needs to consider the space in the bedroom before investing in steps for a bed for the elderly. While some might prefer foldable ones, large metal step stools offer excellent stability and safety.

Which bed stool step is best for seniors?

Consider these crucial factors before choosing the right step stool for seniors:

  1. Greater load-bearing capacity is essential for older adults to keep them stable and well-balanced while getting in and out of bed. Lack of support and a firm grip may lead to falls and severe injuries. In this regard, steel step stools offer the sturdiest support compared to wooden, plastic or plywood step stool.
  2. A large stepping area and landing base ensure that both feet can comfortably and safely rest on the step.
  3. Non-slip surface offers traction and reduces slips and falls.
  4. Handrails and grab bars aid seniors while stepping up and getting down.
  5. Non-slip rubber tips on the feet of the stool reduce the chances of the stool slipping on the floor surface.

Expert recommendation

Vince Baiera is a former ICU nurse of The Cleveland Clinic and Duke University Hospital in the Cardiac ICU. After years of working on the frontlines, Vince encountered mobility issues among seniors first-hand and decided to address the problem. As an expert in this field, he invented the Step2Bed—a safe and easy device for seniors to get in and out of bed. The design of this innovative product keeps in mind the various needs of older adults. According to medical testimonials and reviews, it is one of the best options for individuals with Alzheimer’s, dementia, joint pain, and other mobility issues. 

Final thoughts

While many of us bounce back from a fall, seniors take longer to recover and are more prone to severe injuries. However, taking certain precautions and following a healthy routine goes a long way in improving mobility for seniors and keeping them safe and active at home.

Here is your next step - how to choose the best bed step stool for the elderly.

FAQs:

What is a step stool used for?

Step stools are a common household device that help individuals reach high shelves, lofts, and other places around the house more conveniently. 

How much weight can a step stool hold?

The weight-bearing capacity of a step stool depends on the material used. Usually, metal step stools bear greater loads of up to 400 lbs. while wooden ones can handle 200 lbs.

Are wooden step stools good for seniors?

Wooden step stools can help seniors who have good mobility and balance and do not require extra support like handrails. However, they do not provide enough traction and might be slippery. Hence, we recommend you to keep all safety and convenience factors in mind before choosing a bed step stool.  

Are steel step stools good for seniors?

Steel step stools are best for seniors who have mobility issues and need stability and support. Such stools usually have handrails, non-slip surfaces, and greater weight-bearing capacity than other types of step stools.

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