Sleep and Aging: Sleep Guide for Seniors
Learn how to treat common sleep problems for seniors.
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Bedroom safety is an important component for senior living and health care. Whether living independently or with the assistance of a home care provider, safety precautions are essential for older adults. Something as simple as a slip or fall could be fatal or lead to a serious injury.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), one out of every three adults ages 65 and older falls each year. This is one of the leading causes of accident-related deaths for seniors. Of these falls, 1 in 5 causes a serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury. In fact, 3 million seniors are treated in the ER for fall-related injuries and 800,000 are hospitalized each year for falls—with 300,000 being from hip fractures.
Since an older person spends a large amount of time in the bedroom, it’s imperative to enhance home safety by making the bedroom safer to support fall prevention for the older people in your life.
There are a variety of hazards that pose potential threats to bedroom safety for older adults. Various factors from the placement of furniture to common household items could pose health risks and be hazards for tripping, starting a fire, or causing a fall. It’s important to plan ahead for any and all hazards around the bedroom and home that could potentially cause an accident.
Since slips and falls are so common for older adults and they occur when least expected, it’s important to cover all of the bases. Secure all cords so they are not in any walkways. Carpets should be wrinkle free, and floors should not be damaged in any way, as these could cause a fall.
Scattered mats on the floor that aren’t grippy or slip-proof are also hazards. Even night clothes and robes that are too loose, bedding that is too long, and bed skirts could pose risks for trip and fall accidents.
Fire hazards can also be a danger for older adults, so you should ensure that old or potentially faulty electronics are never left plugged in as these could start a fire.
While we all may think of the bed as a safe haven, it can pose serious risks for accidents among the senior population.
Bed height should be carefully considered A bed that is too high, or even too low to the ground, could be a fall hazard. The ideal height for older adults should be around 20 to 23 inches high from the floor to the top of the mattress. While sitting on the edge of the bed, both feet should be able to reach the floor and rest flat. Bed height can be adjusted by choosing a different bed frame or purchasing bed risers.
Bed rails or bar grabbers can be used to help prevent rolling out of bed or falling. When choosing bed rails, make sure you carefully select which will be most beneficial for your situation. Some bed rails are meant to be adjusted by caregiver while others can be moved by the individual in the bed.
An adjustable bed may also be a good option to help make getting up easier on the back and joints of your loved one. An adjustable bed allows the bed to move into a sitting position so the transition in and out of bed is easier for those with limited mobility.
If you have a family member or loved one who is a senior citizen, it’s important to be aware of any mobility issues and hazards around the bed in case of an accident or need to get up and move around in the middle of the night. This is oftentimes when a majority of accidents occur.
Making improvements to enhance bedroom safety and support mobility is a good option for the overall health and wellness of your loved ones. According to Jordan Vellutini from Westline Electrical Installations & Repairs, those with limited mobility may require adjustments such as:
It’s also important to make sure that furniture is appropriately spaced to help prevent falls. Accidents from furniture placement can occur from reaching too far when it is spaced too far apart, and also from running into furniture when placed too close together. Bedside tables should be in a close distance to the bed so individuals can reach what they need with ease.
A soft chair near the bed for balance is another good option for fall prevention and balance. Nightlights and railings for not only bedrooms, but also hallways, walkways, and bathrooms can also help with mobility during the night.
For increased safety measures, it’s a good idea to have an emergency alert system and cell phone in the bedroom with emergency numbers in order to seek help during an accident.
Keeping older adults safe and comfortable in the bedroom is a matter we care deeply about. Taking precautionary measures initially to lower the risk of falls or accidents is worth the work.
If you’d like some support in making sure the senior in your life has everything they need for the bedroom, we’d love to help you all the way from finding the right mattress to creating an easily accessible space so your loved ones can get a great night’s sleep each night.
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