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Medical Beds

How to Improve Adjustable Beds for Seniors

The decision to buy a home hospital bed for a senior is often prompted by declining health and fitness due to aging, injury, or disease. An adjustable bed for seniors is a pragmatic purchase to maintain or improve their quality of life in comfort and safety. But creating the safest and most comfortable space for seniors—whether for yourself or someone you care for—takes preparation and planning. 

In this article, we will help you prepare the space, choose the best hospital bed for your circumstances, and suggest some improvements to the hospital bed to make life easier and more pleasant. 

Preparing the Bedroom

Before buying and installing a home hospital bed, it’s worth taking some time to prepare the space. A typical domestic bedroom is arranged for fit and non-disabled people, and it may contain inconveniences and dangers for someone with mobility issues or cognitive challenges.

Remove Clutter

The first step is to remove unnecessary clutter. While non-disabled people find it easy to navigate cluttered spaces, it’s much harder for seniors with physical impairments. Seniors are more prone to tripping, and more likely to be seriously hurt by a fall.  Look at the room and its contents with a critical eye and remove anything that might pose a tripping hazard. 

Common tripping hazards include:

  • Cables, especially if they cross walkways or doorways. 
  • Low tables, stools, and other furniture that might cause a trip. 
  • Rugs, especially thick rugs or unsecured rugs on slippery floors.

The goal is to make sure the senior can walk or wheel themselves around the room and through doorways without encountering objects that might trip them. 

Clean Thoroughly

Floors, surfaces, soft furnishings, and curtains should be cleaned thoroughly and regularly. This might seem like it should go without saying, but dust and dirt that wouldn’t bother a healthy person can exacerbate health conditions in people with damaged lungs or weakened immune systems. We wrote a useful guide to cleaning bedrooms to help you out.

Install Grab Rails

If the senior has mobility, balance, or cognitive impairments, consider installing grab rails anywhere they might need a little help getting about. Grab rails are essential in the bathroom, but they can also be helpful in the bedroom, especially near the bed or adjacent to furniture such as chairs.

Upgrade the Lighting

As we get older, our eyes cannot adapt as well to low light, especially when lighting conditions change rapidly. If the bedroom’s current lighting set-up is, for example,  a couple of low lamps and a dim overhead bulb, consider upgrading so that the room has bright and consistent illumination. 

You should also ensure that lights are easy to turn on and off and that switches are accessible. Lamp switches should be within easy reach or, even better, controlled by a switch on the wall. Consider installing a bedside switch, so the senior doesn’t have to cross the room in darkness. Another great option is smart lighting that can be controlled by voice via a system like Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or Apple’s Siri. 

Buying and Preparing an Adjustable Bed for Seniors

Buying a home hospital bed can be confusing if you’re unfamiliar with the options. This section will look at some factors to consider to ensure you get the best hospital bed for a senior.

What Size Hospital Bed Should You Get?

Bed size depends on several factors. We wrote How to Choose the Right Size and Weight Capacity for Your Hospital Bed to help our customers make an informed decision, but we’ll summarize some of the main points here. 

Consider Buying a Wall Hugging Hospital Bed

In many home hospital beds, the head adjustment pivots from a fixed point, so the patient moves away from the wall as they rise into a sitting position. A wall hugger adjustable bed includes a mechanism that keeps the occupant the same distance from the wall as the head rises. 

The main benefit of a wall-hugging bed is that side tables and their contents remain in reach when the bed’s head is raised. To learn more, read What Are the Benefits of a Wall Hugger Adjustable Bed?

Do You Need a Height Adjustable Home Hospital Bed?

Most hospital beds include a head and foot adjustment, but more sophisticated beds can also be raised and lowered. Height-adjustable beds—also known as Hi-Low hospital beds—are safer for seniors who may struggle to get on and off a fixed-height bed. They also make it much easier for wheelchair users to transfer between the bed and their chair.

Use a Home Hospital Bed Mattress

When you buy a hospital bed frame, you’ll also need to buy a hospital bed mattress to go with it. If you’re planning to use a standard consumer mattress, there are a few reasons you should reconsider.

  • Hospital bed mattresses are thinner and more flexible, allowing them to conform to the shape of the bed as its profile is changed.
  • Hospital bed mattresses are designed to evenly distribute pressure across their surface while providing optimal support for the user’s body. This helps to reduce the incidence of pressure sores in seniors. 
  • Hospital bed mattresses include safety features such as border edge protection, which stiffens the mattress’s edges to reduce the risk of falls. 

When you buy a mattress for your home hospital bed, you can also buy a mattress cover to protect it. Hospital bed mattress covers are easily cleaned, liquid-resistant, and antimicrobial. 

How Will the Bed Be Controlled?

Modern home hospital beds are equipped with remote-controlled motorized adjustments. The remote control may be wired or wireless, depending on the bed type. A significant benefit of remote-controlled beds is that the occupant can operate them without help. 

However, the remote’s design may not suit a senior with vision, movement, or cognitive impairments. In that case, you may want to opt for a bed that supports an accessible remote control. For example, Transfer Master’s New Valiant and Night Rider models support alternative remotes such as the Big Button Hand Control and the Joystick Hand Control.

Hospital Bed Accessories You May Need

Finally, let’s look at a few accessories that can improve a senior’s hospital bed. Accessories provide safety and convenience features that make the bed more pleasant to use, especially for bedridden seniors who spend a significant amount of the day in their beds. 

Transfer Master offers several hospital bed accessories for use with our beds. 

  • Bed rails can be affixed to the side of the bed. They provide support as seniors move around or transfer to and from the bed. They also help prevent falls for seniors who are prone to rolling out of bed. 
  • Cherry headboards and footboards are available for some Transfer Master bed models.  
  • Bed rail covers are washable bamboo covers to provide greater comfort on beds fitted with rails. 
  • Floor Lighting illuminates the floor next to the bed to improve visibility and reduce the risk of falls. 
  • Battery backups provide power to bed adjustments if mains power fails. 

In addition to hospital bed accessories, there are a number of additional products that can improve a senior’s experience with their bed. 

  • Transfer Boards make it easier for wheelchair users to transfer to and from their beds. 
  • Non-Slip Mats help seniors to stay in a comfortable position. Seniors with bodily weakness and poor mobility may slip or slump in bed, which is both uncomfortable and a bedsore risk. 
  • Tables, including floor-standing overbed tables and bed tray tables, provide a surface for eating and resting a laptop or reading material. 
  • Storage caddies provide easy-to-access storage for medical equipment and personal possessions that should be close to hand. 

Hopefully, this article has inspired you to create a cozy, practical, and comfortable space for a senior. If you’d like to learn more about home hospital beds, browse our full range of adjustable beds for seniors, check out our Hospital Bed FAQ, or contact our friendly sales team

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About Transfer Master

Transfer Master has built electric adjustable hospital beds for the home and medical facility since 1993. We started with a simple goal that hospital beds should allow wheelchair users to transfer independently in and out of bed. Twenty-five years later, our customers are still at the center of everything we do. You’ll feel the difference.