Falling from bed can result in serious physical injuries and even impact someone’s confidence, especially in those with advanced age or disabilities. Fortunately, the right tools, products, and prevention can minimize the risk of seniors succumbing to this.
Keep reading to learn how to prevent falls in the bedroom.
Why Do The Elderly Fall Out Of Their Beds?
Many people think of young kids in regards to falls out of bed, but seniors do it a lot too. There are many reasons why it happens, including dementia, existing injuries, external causes, and medical conditions. It all adds up to not getting enough quality sleep.
Here are 7 main causes in particular:
1. Physical Impairments
Seniors that have been through a recent surgery or stroke have a heightened risk of falling out of bed. Failing eyesight and incontinence are also similar factors.
Many elderly falls from bed are thought to happen during their dream cycles. Anecdotal evidence has some seniors reporting ‘jumping’ out of bed happening in their dream before they wake up on their floor.
3. Prescribed Medications
Many prescriptions, and even some over-the-counter pills, impact brain chemistry. Abnormal dreams and lower sleep quality can result.
4. Space Issues
Physical issues not with the senior but their bedroom itself can be risk factors. These can include new bed placement, the height of the bed, poor lighting, pathway obstacles, rugs and carpets, electrical cords, and even new bedclothes that slide or stick too easily.
5. Preventing Health Factors
If you or the senior you care for either falls or comes close to it, then I urge you to consult your doctor to talk about causes. In cases of eyesight, there can be a world of benefit from addressing previously untreated cataracts.
Also, physical therapy is a good way for any senior to build their strength back up. Muscle memory can be restored that lets someone get in and out of their bed safely and without anything untoward happening.
6. Dealing With Space Concerns
Consistency is key to the sleep environment of a senior. Things should be exactly the same place and way each and every day to minimize the odds of a fall. This should cover lighting, bedding, bed placement, bed height, and where permanent objects are in a room.
7. Lighting Guidelines
Lighting needs to be bright enough for clear sight lines without being harsh to someone’s eyes. At least one light needs to be easily reachable from the bed. Also, nightlights should mark the bath from bed to bathroom and back.
10 Specific Actions You Can Take to Prevent Bedroom Falls
Is all of this overwhelming you yet? Here are 10 specific steps you can take to make this complex task easier to handle:
- Don’t rearrange furniture to prevent stumbling among those with limited or impaired vision.
- Keep electronics and lights along walls so they’re not in pathways.
- Make lighting bright enough for residents to avoid furnishings and other obstacles.
- Keep pathways clear, straight, and free of clutter.
- Secure throw rugs using non-slip backing or just keep them out of pathways.
- Closet shelves should be between shoulder and waist height so there’s unnecessary reaching and/or bending.
- Enable safe bed egress using side rails and/or transfer poles.
- Make sure the bed height is right; when a senior sits on the edge of their bed, their knees should both be at right angles and their flat feet on the floor.
- Stable chairs that have armrests help those with weak upper body strength stand up in a safe manner.
- Check out hospital rooms and nursing homes for dangers and staff protocols.
Prevent Seniors From Falling From Bed With The Right Products
If you want an excuse to go shopping, this is certainly a good one. There are many products you might use to keep yourself from falling out of their bed or protect someone you love.
Here are 7 to consider:
- Bed Alarms: Granted, these won’t prevent falls, but they can let you as a caregiver know if someone has fallen. Also, rely on one to get help for yourself.
- Bed Rails: These safeguards are easy to install. However, they might not be safe for anyone with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
- Floor Fall Mats: These have the advantage of possibly cushioning a fall from bed. However, they might be hard to walk on for someone just getting out of bed.
- Low Beds: This is a simple and affordable solution. However, the mattresses on such beds usually feel pretty firm. Anyone who has survived to their golden years deserves soft, cushy sleep.
- Pool Noodles: Also simple and affordable, these can replace bed rolls and help sleepers remember which side of the bed is which. However, they might not work out well for larger individuals.
- Posey Beds: These can work out well for those who have serious cases of Alzheimer’s or dementia, but they might not be good for anyone with claustrophobia.
- Wedges, Bolsters, and Rolls: These work out for any senior who doesn’t want rails on their bed. However, anyone with Alzheimer’s or dementia might be at risk with these in their bedding.
Helping Someone Out If They Fall Out Of Bed
The right preventative steps and safety equipment will tremendously reduce the odds that you or someone you care about falls out of bed. Sadly, there’s no surefire way of preventing all falls. Seniors with mobility impairment or who are agitated easily always have some level of risk.
As such, I suggest you also be prepared to help out someone that might fall out of bed. Get an emergency lifting chair device to lift constructed specifically to lift elderly people off of the floor. These chairs can be built around a fallen elder with easy controls to get them back on their feet. They’re quick, simple, and don’t involve manual lifting.
If you’d like to learn more about this important subject, whether for your own safety or someone you care about, I’ve provided the following resource links I used in writing all of this for you and your family: