Whether you’re already living independently or you’re preparing your home well in advance to be a safe haven for aging, there are many factors to consider. Falls account for the majority of injuries in aging adults and are a leading cause of fatality for elders. In fact, it’s estimated that over one out of every four Americans will fall each year, with the percentage expected to rise through 2030 as the current population ages.
If you have decided to age in place, you’ve likely started preparing your home for safe and comfortable independent living. Perhaps you’ve had a curbless shower installed, or maybe you’ve rearranged furniture to allow for wider, clutter-free passageways. Adding nightlights to kitchens and bathrooms can also make midnight journeys for a sip of water or restroom breaks safer.
While there are many ideas and options to make a home safer as you age, a commonly overlooked aspect is ensuring that heavier furniture — like a bed — is stabilized on slippery flooring.
Why Does My Bed Slide?
Though we think of large furniture like beds, dining tables, and couches as sturdy, they are still prone to movement when placed on smooth surfaces like wood, tile, or laminate flooring. That’s because the legs or feet of such furniture are typically smooth on the bottom, resulting in zero friction on easy-care floor choices.
That lack of traction, combined with our weight as we get into and out of bed or even shift sleeping positions during our slumber, can cause beds to move. Thankfully, there are some solutions that can help you safely enjoy your favorite furniture for years.
How Can You Stop Beds From Sliding on Wooden Floors?
A bed that doesn’t stay in place can damage even the strongest hardwood floors, leaving unsightly indentations or scratches that negatively affect your home’s value and aesthetic appeal. More importantly, though, beds that slide pose a risk factor for falling as we age.
Some folks opt for home use hospital beds due to physical or medical conditions, while others discover that they’re no longer comfortable lying flat. For them, hi-low beds are an ideal alternative to sleeping in recliners every night.
No matter which scenario is true for you, it’s important to make sure your bed is stable, especially if you’re relying on it for support as you get in and out.
Place an Area Rug
One of the easiest and most visually appealing ways to keep a bed from moving is to place it on top of an area rug. This method works for any bed type, whether yours is a traditional frame, a modern platform model, or even a hospital bed designed for home use that features a wheeled base.
Rearrange Your Room
You might consider rearranging your furniture so that the bed is situated in a corner. With two walls hugging it, the bed is less likely to shift. This option is not ideal if two people share the bed since the wall creates inconvenience for getting in or out, but if you’re the sole occupant, this arrangement might be perfect.
Improve the Legs
Depending on the type of bed you have, you can make small adjustments to the base or legs to increase stability.
Here are some ideas:
Non-Slip Rug Pads
If you don’t prefer the look of an area rug, placing pieces of a non-slip rug pad under the base or legs of your bed can have the same effect without the design commitment. The rug pad can be cut to size and provides grip, preventing movement as you enter and exit your bed. The soft, padded material also protects your floor from scratches.
Whether your bed’s feet are square, round, or wheeled, bed stoppers can keep them still. They’re generally made of rubbery or plastic materials that are durable and somewhat flexible. They are available in various sizes, offering complementary designs that hug the base of your bed’s feet, keeping them in place against slick surfaces.
Caster cups are designed especially for furniture with wheels, so if your bed relies on a traditional metal frame or you have a home hospital bed that relies on wheels for high-low functionality, caster cups might be ideal.
It’s important to choose your size carefully, however. The caster cups must be large enough that your wheels fit snugly inside to prevent them from slipping out.
Bed risers work well for non-wheeled legs. Similar to bed stoppers, they are available in various sizes that snuggly cradle your bed’s legs, keeping them still. An added bonus of choosing risers is that you’ll gain a bit of extra storage space under your bed, thanks to their height.
Non-slip rubber wraps can easily adhere to your bed legs, providing essential grips that prevent movement. They’re available in several sizes and shapes to accommodate most furniture types with ease.
Anchor Your Bed to the Wall
If you love the spot you’ve chosen for your bed or if your space limits your placement options, you might consider attaching your bed to the wall. An important consideration before moving forward with this choice is to check that your wall is structurally strong enough to serve as a support. More specifically, you’ll want to ensure that the studs fall in proper alignment with where you’ll use long screws to go through the headboard and into the wall.
What Are Some Other Factors To Consider?
Following the advice offered above can definitely help you stop your bed from sliding and posing a risk. However, accidents can still happen, so it’s good to think and plan a little further. With a few additional steps, you can rest assured that your bases are covered in the event of a fall.
Is a Phone or Emergency Call Button Within Reach?
Something as simple as keeping a cell phone in your pocket or wearing a discreet call button can help you quickly call a relative or emergency services if you need to.
Is a Cane or Other Mobility Assistive Device Nearby?
Strategically placing a cane, walker, or even a chair near the spot you enter and exit your bed will provide something to grab or hold onto. This can help you get up on your own if you were to fall.
Can You Employ Technological Tools Like Voice Recognition?
Enabling a feature like voice recognition on your smartphone or using a digital voice assistant means you’ll be able to call for help even if you fall and are stuck. These options can follow your spoken directions to call a family member or even 911 if necessary.
How Do You Feel About Zoned Safety Cameras?
The placement of safety cameras might seem like an invasion of privacy, but they can be quite helpful. Similar to using monitors to check on a sleeping baby or pet cameras to see that our fur babies are okay while we’re away, the strategic placement of safety cameras can let trusted family members check on you throughout the day. For example, if they don’t see you in your chair watching your favorite evening show, they’ll know to give you a call.
The Bottom Line
It’s always best to err on the side of safety and precaution, regardless of age. Many preventive measures are easy to accomplish, like ensuring stairways are well-lit and showers have grab bars. Taking proactive measures, like ensuring beds don’t slide on slippery flooring, can mean the difference between experiencing a fall or not.