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This article is evidence-based, verified by Dr. Ahmed Zayed.
As we grow older, our bodies become meek and sometimes malfunction. This is why elderly people face many problems such as bedwetting, forgetfulness, and falling out of bed.
Falling is a regular problem for many seniors. The most common type of fall is falling out of bed. This is because when we sleep, many bodily functions are suspended. In older people, this includes their gyroscopic ability, which is why they tend to fall out of bed more often than any other age group.
Falling out of bed can cause mild to severe injury and are often overlooked as a leading factor of physical trauma. When these falls become often and consistent, the elderly person in question may require full-time supervision.
However, not everyone can afford a nurse or caregiver for this purpose. Luckily, there are multiple alternative methods to help prevent elderly people from falling out of bed:
- Bed rails
- Pool noodles
- Concave Mattress
Each of these methods is discussed in depth below. They are all useful and efficient when it comes to preventing elderly people from falling out of bed. These methods are also more cost-effective than hiring a full-time nurse for your loved one.
Methods to Prevent Elderly People From Falling out of Bed
Using bed rails can significantly reduce the number of times a person falls out of bed to zero. It is also the most common and widely practiced method of prevention. Bed rails help keep your loved one stay on the bed while they’re asleep. We’ve covered an in-depth review of the best bed rails on the market through our robust testing methods.
Some rails are even sturdy enough to serve as a sitting or standing aid. Your loved one can use the rails to pull themselves up without any additional human help. Furthermore, bed rails can help an elderly person adjust themselves. When lying down, they can use the rails as support to push themselves in any direction on the bed.
Bed rails can be attached to either one or both sides of the bed. They are a cost-effective, foolproof way of preventing elderly people from falling out of bed.
Pool noodles are another excellent tool to prevent seniors from falling out of bed. They can be used effectively as bumpers. You can simply place them under the bed sheet or the mattress. This will also help older people understand where the edge of the bed is. Pool noodles are soft, so seniors cannot accidentally injure themselves with them.
Although bed rails are unarguably the best way to keep your loved ones safe in bed, some seniors argue that bed rails contribute to claustrophobia and make them feel trapped and suffocated. Pool noodles are a great way to achieve stability when lying in bed without the feeling of being tightly enclosed.
Sometimes it’s enough just to use pillows. Creating a fortress of pillows can help secure your loved one stay on the bed. Body-length pillows are fantastic for this purpose. They are readily available and do not cost much. Thicker pillows with ample stuffing are also an excellent option to prevent your loved ones from rolling out of bed.
Using a mattress with raised edges can help restrict a senior to their bed-space. However, these mattresses also run the risk of making it too hard to get out of bed. So, when deciding whether to use a concave mattress, be sure to take this into account. Concave mattresses are a one-time investment. They are also soft all around, unlike bedrails.
If your loved one has objections to using bed rails, or if you feel like no other method is good enough, you can opt for wedges instead. Wedges are like soft rails. They are made from a sturdy foam material and come in every size possible.
Using just one method from the list mentioned above should suffice. These methods are all designed to prevent falls in senior citizens. Every one of them is an excellent option. When making a decision, though, be sure to include your loved one’s opinion. After all, they are the ones who will have to live with whatever form of prevention you decide on.
There are also other precautions one can take to help their loved ones, like adjusting the bed height.
How to Prevent Falls When Leaving Bed
Not all falls occur when sleeping. Sometimes, a senior may fall due to dizziness, or simply because the bed is too high. Here are some helpful ways to make sure your loved one stays safe and upright:
Assess Bed Height
Sometimes, one may fall out of bed if the mattress is too high. The best height for a senior citizen is their knee-level. No bed should be higher than that, or it will render them immobile. If it is any higher, they may have trouble getting out of bed and an even harder time getting back on.
Review Their Medication
Is your loved one getting their medication as directed by a physician? Misuse of medicines can lead to dizziness or compromised mobility. Review your senior’s medication and pill-taking timetable before assigning them a restrictive mechanism like wedges or rails.
Check Their Vision
Perhaps your loved one is prone to falling because they can’t see well. As an extra precaution, get their eyesight checked. They may sometimes deny having weak eyesight out of shame. Still, if this is indeed the case, restoring their vision may help prevent both dizziness and falling out of bed. It is ideal for getting their vision tested once a year.
Using these additional methods can help boost the quality of life your loved one is living. As for deciding on a preventative measure like bedrails, be sure to ask your loved one which method they’d personally prefer.
Dr. Ahmed Zayed, MD holds a baccalaureate of Medicine and Surgery. An avid contributor to the Huffington Post and Chicago Tribune, Dr. Zayed believes in providing accurate and accessible information to general readers. With years of writing and editing content in the medical niche, Dr. Zayed likes to think of himself as a man with a mission, keeping the internet free of false medical information.