Sleep patterns tend to change as you age. Most people find that aging causes them to have a more challenging time falling asleep. They wake up more often during the night and earlier in the morning. Older people wake up more often because they spend less time in deep sleep. Other causes include needing to get up and urinate (nocturia), anxiety, and discomfort or pain from long-term (chronic) illnesses
Improving Bedroom Safety
- Upgrade to an Adjustable Bed or Frame– Falling asleep faster, Reduced neck, shoulders, and back strain. Eliminates the need for multiple pillows. Decreases snoring. Improves acid reflux, and promotes blood circulation.
- Install Alarms– Bed alarm pads are meant to sound an alarm when pressure is released, alerting caretakers that their patient or loved one is attempting to leave the bed alone
- Install a Bed Rail– A bed rail is the perfect addition to any bedside, can be easily installed, and doesn’t break the bank. Place the rail in between the mattress and box spring where your loved one typically exits the bed to provide leverage and support so he or she can pull up to a seated position, scoot, and exit the bed.
Check for Adequate Space
- Is there enough space for your loved one’s mobility aid to access the dresser, bed, closet, and bathroom?
- Will they be able to turn around safely?
- Can it travel over floor surfaces or thresholds smoothly?
- Is there a clear and defined pathway to the bathroom and exit?
Reduce Tasks that Require Getting Up
Find ways you can reduce the need to get up. Connect your ceiling fan, lights, and even blinds to remote control. This eliminates having to get in and out of bed, taking extra steps across the room, or even overreaching to perform these tasks manually. Keep the remote in a handy location, like a bed caddy or close to your bed, and at arm’s reach for easy access. If your loved one is recovering from surgery, use an overbed table for mealtimes or if they need to use their laptop.
Transfer Tools for the Elderly
These strap onto a patient or loved one to provide safe leverage and support when transferring in and into a wheelchair or other mobility aid. There are a few different styles to choose from ranging in level of support.
A pivot disc will help you rotate your loved one while standing or sitting and position them safely during the transferring process.
A transfer handle is a super simple, yet very convenient tool. Have your patient or loved one hold one end, and you hold the other. The tool provides leverage while you pull together to sit up or stand.
Blankets or Lift Slings
Transfer blankets or slings are equipped with multiple handles and are placed underneath a loved one and then lifted either manually by caretakers or using a powered lift. Depending on your needs, a hydraulic lift is something you may want to consider.
Types of Adjustable Beds
Standard: Standard adjustable beds are the bare-bones models with the least features — though they typically include a remote and back or leg massage features. They are also the most well-priced. Standard adjustable beds can elevate your legs and/or head. If you share the bed with another person, you both have to use the same setting.
Head Tilt: Adjustable beds and mattresses have points that hinge to raise or lower the upper body and feet. Head-tilt adjustable beds have an extra articulation point at your head. This allows you to further adjust the tilt of your head by a few degrees, increasing your comfort level and addressing issues such as acid reflux and snoring.
Split King/Split Queen: Unlike a standard adjustable bed, a split-king or split-queen adjustable bed allows two people to independently adjust their side of the bed to their elevations. These two separate power bases combine to form a king- or queen-size bed.
Wall-hugger: Wall-hugger adjustable beds keep your head near the wall when you raise the head portion of the bed. This keeps your nightstand within easy reach. Adjustable beds without the wall-hugger feature tend to move your head farther away from the wall as you elevate them.
When it comes to ensuring comfortable and safe sleep for our senior loved ones, there are several key factors to consider. Understanding their changing sleep needs is crucial, as is providing proper support and comfort for their aging bodies. Ergonomic design and adjustability can enhance safety and ease of use while addressing mobility issues is essential. With these considerations in mind, we can create an optimal sleeping environment for our senior loved ones, promoting their well-being and quality of life.
- Aging changes in sleep : https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/004018.htm
- How to Improve Bedroom Safety : https://www.vivehealth.com/blogs/resources/bedroom-safety-for-seniors#Mattresses
- Adjustable Beds for Seniors : https://www.retireguide.com/retirement-life-leisure/senior-safety/home-safety/adjustable-beds/