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bed steps for elderly people

Bed Steps for Elderly People: Safely Getting In and Out of Bed

Getting in and out of bed is easy when you’re young and healthy. It’s something you do every day. Usually without even thinking about it. But sometimes when you get older, this once easy activity becomes difficult and even dangerous. Weakness in the body, illness or stiffness makes it difficult for seniors to lift their legs into the bed. They may also have trouble maneuvering into a safe position for sitting on the bed. There are a number of aids that can make this every day part of life easier. These aids will also help to protect your senior from injuries or falls during the nightly routine. If you or your loved one has trouble at bed time, try bed steps for elderly people who need a little extra help.

Comparison Table: Best Bed Steps for the Elderly

Photo
Kings Brand Dark Cherry Finish Wood Bedroom Step Stool With Storage
TOP PICK!
AdjustaStep(tm) DoubleSafe Deluxe Step Stool/Footstool with Dual Handle/Handrail, Height Adjustable....
Safer Option
MTS Medical Supply Two Side Rails Bed Step System
Design 59 inc Acacia Hardwood Step Stool / Bed Steps / Plant Stand, NO ASSEMBLY REQUIRED
Rubbermaid RM-P2 2-Step Molded Plastic Stool with Non-Slip Step Treads, 300-Pound Capacity, Black...
Product
Kings Brand Dark Cherry Finish Wood Bedroom Step Stool With Storage
AdjustaStep(tm) DoubleSafe Deluxe Step Stool/Footstool with Dual Handle/Handrail, Height Adjustable....
MTS Medical Supply Two Side Rails Bed Step System
Design 59 inc Acacia Hardwood Step Stool / Bed Steps / Plant Stand, NO ASSEMBLY REQUIRED
Rubbermaid RM-P2 2-Step Molded Plastic Stool with Non-Slip Step Treads, 300-Pound Capacity, Black...
Mini-Review
One of the more decorative choices of bed steps but caution should be used with slicker, wooden finishes.
The step on this stool is anti-slip and adjustable in height. The dual handles are adjustable too or a custom fit. A bit more clinical looking though.
A portable staircase for your bed. Two handrils and non-slip carpeted steps make these one of the safest options. But, a bit pricier than the others.
Well built and sturdy solid wood steps with a welded frame. Supports up to 650 lbs.
Inexpensive, entry level bed steps solution. Sturdy construction with non-slip steps but no handles or balance support.
Photo
Kings Brand Dark Cherry Finish Wood Bedroom Step Stool With Storage
Product
Kings Brand Dark Cherry Finish Wood Bedroom Step Stool With Storage
Mini-Review
One of the more decorative choices of bed steps but caution should be used with slicker, wooden finishes.
TOP PICK!
Photo
AdjustaStep(tm) DoubleSafe Deluxe Step Stool/Footstool with Dual Handle/Handrail, Height Adjustable....
Product
AdjustaStep(tm) DoubleSafe Deluxe Step Stool/Footstool with Dual Handle/Handrail, Height Adjustable....
Mini-Review
The step on this stool is anti-slip and adjustable in height. The dual handles are adjustable too or a custom fit. A bit more clinical looking though.
Safer Option
Photo
MTS Medical Supply Two Side Rails Bed Step System
Product
MTS Medical Supply Two Side Rails Bed Step System
Mini-Review
A portable staircase for your bed. Two handrils and non-slip carpeted steps make these one of the safest options. But, a bit pricier than the others.
Photo
Design 59 inc Acacia Hardwood Step Stool / Bed Steps / Plant Stand, NO ASSEMBLY REQUIRED
Product
Design 59 inc Acacia Hardwood Step Stool / Bed Steps / Plant Stand, NO ASSEMBLY REQUIRED
Mini-Review
Well built and sturdy solid wood steps with a welded frame. Supports up to 650 lbs.
Photo
Rubbermaid RM-P2 2-Step Molded Plastic Stool with Non-Slip Step Treads, 300-Pound Capacity, Black...
Product
Rubbermaid RM-P2 2-Step Molded Plastic Stool with Non-Slip Step Treads, 300-Pound Capacity, Black...
Mini-Review
Inexpensive, entry level bed steps solution. Sturdy construction with non-slip steps but no handles or balance support.

Last update on 2017-10-24 at 03:52 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Why Use Bed Steps?

Bed steps make it easier for seniors to lift themselves into bed. As seniors get older, they sometimes lose strength in their legs. Arthritis or pain in the joints can also make it difficult for seniors to climb into a high bed. Declining balance might make getting out of bed difficult. Bed steps are small and sturdy, and they can give you a boost that makes bedtime easier. They are typically made of wood or other types of strong materials. They can be particularly helpful if your bed is higher than usual or if you are short. Small pets such as cats and dogs may make use of them as well. The steps can be used to help the animal climb onto the bed without scratching the linen.

nice bed in big bedroom

Tips to Avoid Falls at Bedtime

Falls are often devastating for seniors. Seniors often have more fragile bones and can end up severely injured from falls. They also take longer to heal from injuries such as broken bones. And, sometimes, they don’t heal completely. This can lead to long term physical limitations and even complete dependence. To reduce the chance of falls, take note of the following conditions.

  • Light Levels: Seniors often have diminished eyesight, and darkness makes this worse. Check that their bedrooms are well lit and obstructions moved out of the pathways.
  • Keep walkers or canes near the bed in case your senior has to get up at night.
  • Make sure the slippers they wear at night are sturdy and have non-slip bases.
  • Remove rugs from the floor as they can bunch and cause feet or walkers to become stuck.
  • Assess your senior’s procedure for getting in and out of bed and provide aids if necessary. You can try leg lifts or support rails on the side of the bed to help them with the necessary movements.
  • Check the height of the bed. If it’s too high the senior will have to slide out of it. If it’s too low they may have trouble standing up again in the morning. This is where bed steps can help give you the small boost you need to reach the bed.
  • Talk to your senior and their doctor about what medications they take and any side effects. If some medications make them dizzy or sleepy, this can be dangerous at bed time.
bed in the bedroom

Professional Assessment

If you have trouble getting in and out of bed by yourself, you should consult with a professional. Physical therapists or occupational therapists can evaluate your movements and limitations. They can show you new ways to safely and easily get yourself into bed. They can also suggest a range of devices that may help. And, train you on how to use them correctly. If you have trouble, and aren’t sure what might help, this is the best source for reliable information.

How to Get into Bed

This will depend on you. It will depend on your physical limitations, on your physical state and on the layout of your bedroom. Try the following steps and determine how they work for your unique situation.

  • Move so the backs of your legs touch the bed. If you are too short, or the bed is too tall, use bed steps to give you a boost.
  • Hold on somewhere, a rail on the side of the bed is good here.
  • Bend your hips to sit.
  • If you need to, scoot backwards until you are safely on the mattress.
  • Use a leg lifter or other device to help lift or move your whole body onto the bed if necessary.

How to Get out of Bed

Many seniors have trouble getting out of bed. You may lack the core strength to move from laying down to sitting. Or if you are able to sit up, you may suffer from dizziness because of the change of posture. Talk to your doctor or other health professionals if any of these issues impede your movements. Until you can do that, here are several general steps you can try to make this easier.

  • Roll to the side of the bed and lower your feet over the edge.
  • Sit up. A bar or something else to grip can help with this if you don’t have the strength.
  • If you feel dizzy, remain seated until it passes.
  • If you use a cane or walker, ensure it’s in the right position.
  • Put your feet hip distance apart and lean forward.
  • Stand up. If you have trouble doing so, rock back and forwards for momentum.

Recommended Bed Steps for Elderly People

If you decide that bed steps are necessary, there are a few guidelines you should follow. First and foremost, make sure they are made of sturdy materials like wood or metal. If they collapse under your weight, the results will be extremely serious. Also make sure they are the right height for your senior and the bed. If you have to flop onto the bed from ones that are too high, don't use them.

Finally, make sure your senior can use them. This will depend on your senior’s physical condition and abilities. If they don’t have the stability or strength to climb the stairs safely, bed steps will cause more problems than they solve. This could lead to severe falls and injuries. So, if you’re thinking about bed steps, ensure that your senior can use them safely.

Kings Brand Wood Bedroom Step Stool With Storage

Bed steps like these from Kings Brand look a bit more elegant than some of the other bed steps I recommend. They also come in a variety of finishes to match most bedroom decor.

These are basically a simple 2 step stool with no handle. Lifting the lid reveals hidden storage which most everyone can use. Very basic assembly is required before using. 

This style of bed step is best for seniors who have good balance and don't require the use of a handle. Do not use these with slippers however. The slickness of the wood finish may be increased with soft fabric slippers. It would be best to use these only while barefoot or add some anti-slip tape.

My Rating: 

Last update on 2017-10-24 at 03:52 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

AdjustaStep(tm) DoubleSafe Deluxe Step Stool - TOP PICK!

I really liked this adjustable step stool in my earlier post about safe step stools. And, I think it has a lot of use as a bed step also.

This step area of this stool has an anti-slip mat and  adjusts up and down. So do both the handles. This allows the user to get a custom fit based on the height of their bed. The dual handles offer support and better balance while climbing in and out of the bed.

The only real negative for this one is that it does look a bit like a medical product with the glossy white finish. It also may not reach high enough for extremely high beds. But, this is a highly functional bed step options especially for seniors with more advanced medical problems. 

My Rating: 

Last update on 2017-10-24 at 03:52 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

MTS Medical Supply Two Side Rails Bed Step System

These wooden bed steps literally look like a portable stair case. After some minor assembly, you can push them right up against the bed for quick use.

These bed steps have 2 laquered wooden stairs and are covered with anti-slip carpeting. The hand rails are also lacquered and sanded smooth. This setup makes it very easy for elderly people to get in and out of bed with 2 hand support. 

I recommend these steps for seniors and elderly with pretty bad balance or joint issues. The non-slip step surface along with having 2 hand rails to hold onto makes them extremely safe for these folks. They do cost a bit more than others.

My Rating: 

Last update on 2017-10-24 at 03:52 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Design 59 inc Acacia Hardwood Step Stool / Bed Steps

This multi-function device (step stool, bed steps, even a plant stand!) is made of welded steel and solid wood steps. Even better - it ships fully assembled!

​Because it is so well built, these bed steps support up to 650 lbs. So, they are a good choice to use with larger seniors who may not be able to climb up in bed due to limited joint mobility and other medical issues. 

These should work well for more active seniors who need a little help getting up and down. They do not have handles or rails however so they should not be used with elderly people who have balance issues. Like other wooden steps with slicker finishes, they should not be used with slippers.

My Rating: 

Last update on 2017-10-24 at 03:52 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Rubbermaid RM-P2 2-Step Molded Plastic Stool with Non-Slip Step Treads

These Rubbermaid steps are a good entry level idea for seniors who are beginning to have trouble getting in and out of bed. They are an inexpensive way to explore the option of using bed steps.

Being a Rubbermaid product, they are well built and sturdy, supporting up to 300 lbs. Each step has an anti-slip rubber mat for safety and to reduce the chances of them slipping off. 

Like some of the others above, these steps do not have handles or rails. So, they should not be used with seniors who have balance issues or advanced medical problems. 

My Rating: 

Last update on 2017-10-24 at 04:33 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Final Thoughts

Getting in and out of bed can seem like a simple activity. But for some elderly seniors, it can be downright dangerous. Weakness, illness or pain can restrict your movements and your overall stability. This can lead to falls and injuries such as broken bones or head injuries that have long-term repercussions. Using simple aids such as bed steps can make your night routine easier and safer. They can help you avoid serious injuries and allow you to remain independent as well as safe. If you have trouble at bedtime, these tools are immensely helpful.

About the Author Scott Grant, ATP, CRTS®

I work daily with seniors and the elderly in my position as a wheelchair specialist at a home medical company. I see the struggle they have maintaining their independence and living their daily lives. Most are completely unaware of the options and products out there that can improve their independence, mobility, and safety in their home. I created this site to help seniors, elders, and their caregivers make smart buying decisions about the many independent living aids on the market.

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