Getting into bed can get harder as grow older.
Older adults may lose upper body strength, they may have flexibility issues or joint pain and medical conditions such as Parkinson’s or arthritis, or dementia to contend with.
That can mean that the elderly person in your life needs a little help to get into bed easier and if you’re wondering how best to offer that help?
Then we have some tips for you that can make a huge difference in their comfort and safety and yours.
Work Out The Ideal Bed Height (Based On Standing Position and Sitting Position)
We strongly recommend using an adjustable bed (you can find a list of our favorite adjustable beds here) as they make it super easy to help someone get into bed and to find the most comfortable angle to sleep at too.
You should also pick the best mattress for an adjustable bed or any other bed for that matter (find out how to get the right mattress here and then check out our list of mattresses too).
But before you spend any money, it’s worth knowing that for most people the height of their bed is ideally between 18 and 23 inches above the floor.
To help work out the perfect size, ask the person to stong on their floor, feet flat, while they have no shoes on.
Then you set the bed legs to raise the top of the bed to the point where it’s 2 inches higher than their knees (don’t have knees bent when measuring this).
Then ask them to sit on the edge of the bed and let their feet rest flat on the floor while keeping their knees and hips aligned and see that it’s comfortable (if not make some minor adjustments as needed).
If the bed frames aren’t easy to adjust, then don’t think you have to buy a hospital bed to raise the bed – just get some high-quality wooden blocks to stand the bed on. However, please be sure to fix the bed to these blocks very carefully, indeed.
Help Them In To Bed By Lifting Their Weight
Talk to the elderly people that you’re trying to help before springing into action to assist them. Unless the aging process has affected their mind, they can usually tell you how much support they need and it’s often minimal assistance rather than asking you to provide support for their whole body weight.
Take Into Account Any Specific Special Physical Needs That They May Have
If they don’t need much assistance ask them to sit on the edge of the bed, and then with their upper body partially elevated, you just want to help pick up their legs and turn them around. If they have a bed rail, they can grip this to help take some of the weight off too.
However, if they are in a wheel chair a mobility aid, or need a little more help you can use a bed assist device to make it easier than log rolling to get someone into the right position.
Use Bed Assist Devices – Going Beyond Bed Rails
There are three main types of assistance aid to help get an elderly person into their bed.
A transfer board, sometimes also called a transfer pole, is just a hardboard plan designed to help someone out of a wheelchair into bed with no hard work involved.
They are non-slip and very easy to learn to use. The senior shuffles onto the board and the user(s) grasp the ends of the board to keep it in place as the senior transfers from chair to bed.
A leg lifter is super cheap and ideal for seniors who would prefer to help themselves.
They slip one loop onto the hand and another onto the foot and then they use their arm strength to help raise the foot off the floor and into bed.
They then repeat the process for the other foot.
These devices are super cheap too.
Bed Assist Rails
An assist bed rail is just a handle that you attach to the bed that a senior can use to change position in bed or to get in or out of their bed.
They’re very easy to use, the senior just grabs the handle and then pulls their body around with upper body strength.
What Other Kinds Of Equipment Can Help With Bed Mobility For Seniors?
You can also employ other such devices as needed such as footstools, step stools, trapeze setups (very different from the circus). Whatever works to make your senior’s life easier is fine.
Final Thoughts On Helping A Senior In To Bed
You should not be using all your strength to help a senior reach the lying position, if you use the ideas above, you can help them deal with their painful joints, chronic pain, etc. when getting into bed, without needing an occupational therapist yourself.
We’d also recommend reading a safe lifting guide if you feel you’re lifting too much weight when helping out.
If you find that you need additional help, you should seek advice from a physician, don’t injure yourself by over-exerting yourself – then you won’t be able to help at all.