One of the things most people take for granted is the ability to get in and out of bed easily. However, as you get older, this simple task will become quite dangerous.
Unfortunately, many seniors experience falls by simply trying to get out of their own bed. As a result, it is best to install bed rails to prevent falls and related injuries.
We will now take a closer look at exactly what are bed rails, the various types, concerns most people have about them as well as product reviews of the best bed rails for seniors.
How Do Bed Rails Help Seniors?
Bed rails which are also known as bed assist rails, bed handles for seniors or bed safety rails are essentially rails that are installed on the sides of the bed or near to the bed which helps persons to easily and safely move into or out of the bed. These type of rails are not only good for seniors but also persons in wheelchairs.
The main purpose of bed rails for seniors is to help them get into bed, get out of bed, move around while in the bed, prevent falls in the bedroom or as a safety guard rails if they tend to roll around a lot during sleep.
There are many signs that a senior may need a bed rail. Some of these signs are: reduced muscular and body strength, joint and muscle pain, reduced endurance, general weakness and tiredness, issues with balance or vertigo etc.
In addition to particular signs, there are many illnesses that severely weaken older persons which may require them to use bed rails. Some of these illnesses include cancer, arthritis, COPD, fibromyalgia etc.
Besides preventing falls and improving mobility, bed rails give seniors a confidence boost and feeling of independence. Even if a senior has a caregiver, they most likely still want to feel a sense of independence or may feel bad to call a caregiver for help in the middle of the night.
Bed rails will certainly help seniors feel better about themselves and more capable during the night.
Are There Different Types Of Bed Rails?
There are actually many different types of safety bed rails for seniors available on the market. For the most part, these bed rails are easily installed and are easily held in place. However, each different type of bed rail offers slightly different functionality and we will now take a look at closer at each one.
1. Bed Rails With Support Legs
Bed rails with legs as the name indicates are bed rails that have two legs that rest on the floor. These legs provide support when the user exerts force on them. This type of bed rail also has a horizontal part which fits under the mattress of the bed to hold the rail in place as well as provide stability. This is a great bed rail if you typically have problems getting back up after being in a laying position.
2. Bed Rails Without Legs
These type of bed rails have an L shape without any supporting legs. The horizontal part of the L fits under the mattress and is best suited for king or queen sized beds. If you have a light mattress or a smaller mattress then this type of bed rail is not suitable since it may raise the entire mattress when force is exerted on the rails.
3. Fold Down/Swing Away Bed Rails
Fold down or swing down bed rails are moveable rails and there must be enough space next to the bed at all times for them to work properly. These bed rails actually swing as the name implies, outwards as well as downwards. This allows you to easily move the bed rail out of your way whenever needed.
4. Bed Handles
These are simply handles which are attached to the sides of a bed at a fixed point. They are very minimalist and easy to install.
5. Bed Rail With Pivoting Handle
As the name suggests, the bed rail easily pivots outwards perpendicularly. Due to this functionality, it allows for easy sitting and getting out of bed movements.
6. Adjustable Height Bed Rails
This is the perfect type of bed rail for people who have never used a bed rail before. This is because they allow you to adjust the height so that you can find the perfect height for you.
7. Portable Bed Rails
These are collapsible bed rails that are easy to store in luggage. As a result, you can use them while traveling.
8. Dual/Double Sided Bed Rails
These are two bed rails where there is one for each side of the bed. They both have cross bars which are joined under the mattress for extra support.
9.Wall Mounted Bed Rails
These rails are mounted to the wall next to the bed and the extend from the wall. They allow you to easily hold onto them when getting into and out of bed.
10. Other Types Of Safety Bed Rails For Seniors
The bed rails listed above are among the most popular and most commonly used bed rails on the market. However, there are many more types which include, cross bar bed rails, floor to ceiling pole rails, floor support bed rails etc.
Should I Have Any Concerns About Using Bed Rails?
One of the most important things you need to note when purchasing and installing bed rails is that they should not be used in combination with straps to strap seniors or any other person to the bed without proper medical supervision.
This is not only extremely distressing for the individual but also very dangerous and can lead to entrapment, psychological distress, neglect, injury etc.
Additionally, whenever installing bed rails, make sure they are properly installed. If this is not done, then there is a high risk of injury.
What Should I Consider When Purchasing The Best Bed Rails For Seniors?
When looking for the bed bed rails for seniors and adults, there are many factors that need to be considered.
Weight of the User
An important consideration is the weight of the person who will be using the bed rail as well as the type of bed and mattress the rail needs to be used on. Bed handles for seniors have specific weight capacities, so make sure that you select one that can comfortably support the senior who needs it.
Mattress Type and Thickness
The type of mattress is also important because certain types of bed rails need to be used with heavy mattresses. Also, if the senior has an adjustable bed, there are many bed rails that don’t work with adjustable beds, so you’ll have to use a different bed rail type.
Location of the Bed in the Bedroom
The position of the bed within the bedroom is another thing to keep in mind when bed rail shopping. If the bed is in the middle of the room, then you’ll need to purchase two bed rails or double sided bed rails. If the bed is positioned where one side is against a wall, then you’ll only need to install a single sided bed rail.
Abilities of the User
The condition of the senior is also important when purchasing bed rails to prevent falls from the bed. Unfortunately, many seniors suffer with Alzheimers and dementia and installing a bed rail may cause confusion. This can result in them trying to remove the bed rail forcibly or even trying to climb over it which can result in injury.
RELATED: Senior With Dementia Falling from Bed?
A final important consideration is your price range since bed rails typically cost between $50 – $200. Typically speaking, if you require bed rails with lots of functionality with a higher quality build, then you can expect to pay in the upper range of the above budget.
What Are The Best Bed Rails For Seniors?
The first bed rail we will start with is the Stander Adjust bed rail. This bed rail can support persons that weigh up to 300 lbs and the actual bed rail is quite light at only 14 lbs.
It will ensure the senior doesn't fall out of bed since it has an adjustable length of between 26 to 42 inches. This bed rail is also foldable so you can fold and move it out of the way when it is not in use.
The overall design is quite modern and it is compatible with most types of beds, even smaller twin sized beds. However, do note that it can't be used on adjustable beds. Assembly is a breeze and when you purchase this bed rail, it comes with everything needed for installation.
This bed rail comes with a safety retention strap which keeps the rail from moving once installed. This provides additional support and safety for seniors to get into and out of bed more easily.
The great thing about this bed rail is that you can easily adjust both the height and length without needing any tools to fit a wide variety of bed sizes and heights. The hand grip is 20" wide which provides an easy and comfortable grip.
The rail can easily accommodate seniors that weigh up to 300 lbs and you can even purchase an additional bed rail storage pouch for extra personal storage.
In order to set this bed rail up, simply insert the horizontal part between the mattress and box spring and adjust the legs for proper height.
The Step2Bed Bed Rail is quite different from the other bed rails on the market.
It has a wide step in the middle along with two attached handle bars on either end. This makes it very easy for seniors to hold onto both bars with both hands and then gently step up and move onto the bed.
It also has a motion activated LED light which is perfect for illuminating the way at night for safely getting into and out of bed.
The height is fully adjustable and the height of the step is also adjustable from 2.5 inches to 7.5 inches. The step also has non slip tape to prevent any falls. This steel bed rail can also support seniors who weigh as much as 400 lbs but it has been tested to hold up to as much as 1200 lbs.
The Secure Adjustable Bed Rail is built with safety in mind to prevent seniors from falling out of bed and ensure they can easily move into and out of bed.
The bed rail itself is made out of steel tubing that is powder coated for a long life and heavy usage. The extendable part of this rail that goes under the mattress can extend as much as 3 feet inwards to provide stability and support as is required. It can also be used on all different types of beds, including adjustable beds.
This adjustable bed rail can be used by persons up to 300 lbs in weight and the height of the rail can be adjusted from 17 - 21 inches. Assembly is also very easy and doesn't require any additional tools or items than what is provided. Just slide the longer horizontal piece between the mattress and box spring and attach the safety strap.
The Drive Medical Home Helper is a standing bed rail with legs, however, instead of the typical two legs, this model comes with four legs for additional support. This bed rail will need to be securely mounted onto your bed frame and comes with the necessary mounting bracket to do so.
The maximum user weight on this bed rail is 250 pounds and the rail itself weighs 227 grams. The rail is 11 inches wide so that it allows users to easily hold onto it with both hands as needed.
The Maddak Double AbleRise bed rail is not just a bed rail but provides a lot of bedside storage. This is a dual bed rail where there is one located on each side of the bed. As a result, this is a great bed rail for couples.
The handles are non-metal and are comfortable to the touch. The handles are also 20 inches wide and they provide enough leverage to easily get into or out of bed or simply change positions on the bed. This bed rail can be used on all bed sizes from twin to king size.
It also exceeds all of the FDA recommendations and is extremely simple to install.
There is a single version available too
The Stander BedCane is a very neat and modern bed rail that comes with an ergonomic handle that is padded for extra comfort.
It can comfortably accommodate persons up to 300 lbs in weight and the height of the handle can be adjusted to anywhere between 16 to 21 inches. This bed rail can be used on most beds with the exception of adjustable beds including beds as small as twin sized as well as on larger king sized beds.
There is an included safety strap and organizer pouch that be used to store small items such as glasses, medications etc. The overall design of this bed rail is low profile so it blends into the bedroom without appearing too obvious.
Installation is very easy as there is a horizontal bamboo board that simply needs to be slid under the mattress.
This bed rail is not only meant to improve mobility and prevent falls but also provides support for standing. The great thing about this bed rail is that it can be easily folded and tucked away during the day so that it is out of sight when not needed.
The length of this bed rail is adjustable from 26 to 42 inches and it can pivot out and downwards when the senior needs to get out of bed. It can be used on most beds including adjustable beds and it comes with a safety strap. Do note that it can only be used with mattress that are between 12 to 18 inches thick.
Installation will only take a couple of minutes since only 5 bolts need to be attached and the tool to do so is provided.
This bed rail consists of a bed handle along with a hand rail that pivots for easy movement. This rail can support persons that are up to 300 lbs. The pivoting handle can be used to provide extra support when moving from a sitting position on the bed to a standing position.
The bed rail also comes with an organization pouch which has 4 pockets and is machine washable. The rail itself is very versatile and can be used on most beds except on adjustable beds. This is a very high quality bed rail that is also very easy to install.
The Drive Bed Assist bed rail consists of a tri-fold wooden board that improves portability and stability.
All you need to do is slide the board under the mattress and the bed rail is ready for use. The steel rail itself is powder coated and is completely removable when not in use. There is also a mid bar which allows for easy gripping and additional support when needed.
Installing this bed rail is very easy and no tools are required.
We have just covered everything you need to know about bed rails as well as a quick overview of the best bed rails for seniors and adults. Bed rails can also be combined with other bed fall prevention devices like fall protection mats and bed exit alarms to further reduce the chance of injuries. Another option to hard bed rails are fall prevention mattresses with raised edges that reduce the chance of a senior rolling out of bed.
So, be sure to use this information wisely to determine your needs or the needs of the senior you’re taking care of and select the best bed rail for your particular situation and requirements.