You can do a lot to keep an elderly person from falling out of bed. Write a list of all the possible ways to keep away from falls at night. To mention a few, avoid drinks at bedtime, install bed rails, and use pillows, maybe you will find bedside safety mat helpful too. To find more suggestions check below.
Falling out of bed isn’t a pleasant experience for anyone of any age. However, it’s very common among the elderly. Sometimes, a fall just causes an interrupted sleep session, but often it can result in severe injuries especially if it happens regularly.
But, why does it happen?
Why do seniors fall out of bed?
Often, the causes of falling from a bed are to do with balance or mobility issues. Sometimes, just something as simple as reaching for a glass of water or reading glasses from the bedside table can result in a loss of balance and a fall.
Older adults are prone to a condition called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). This is a problem with the inner ear causing vertigo, dizziness and false signals reaching the brain.
Sometimes the senior might be tossing and turning in their sleep and if they’re too close to the edge, they might fall out.
Certain medications cause dizziness and this can cause disorientation on awakening.
Some seniors awaken in the middle of the night and become confused and disorientated before they truly wake up.
As we get older our bladders start to play up and we need more frequent visits to the bathroom. If it’s dark and the visit is urgent, the senior might trip and fall.
How Serious is it to Fall out of Bed?
Many seniors suffer from brittle bones and lose muscle mass as they get older. Both these conditions can make a simple fall, into a medical emergency. It’s quite common for seniors to end up with broken arms, fractured pelvis and fractured skulls and of course, many falls leave bruises.
Can we prevent falling out of bed?
Falling out of bed is a common occurrence that affects many seniors. Fortunately, it is manageable and we can protect our seniors if we use the correct tools. The best approach is to consider the situation from many different angles.
Do a proper risk assessment of your elderly relative’s bedroom and write a list of all the possible ways they can hurt themselves at night. Once you have the list, consider all the methods you can use to make the hazards safe.
Don’t worry about being too extreme in your thinking. The chances are that if it’s possible to happen, it probably will. Your goal is to make sure you have covered all possibilities and you’ve put measures in place to make everything safe.
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How to Prevent the elderly from Falling out of Bed:
There are a few different ways to help prevent a senior from falling out of bed. First of all, see if you can prevent restless sleep by changing medication or by managing hydration and toiletry needs.
If this doesn’t work, or if you want to try some secondary prevention, there are many appliances available to buy that will help.
Bed rails are a simple remedy and easy to install too. Buy one that only blocks half the bed, so it prevents rolling off yet still allows the senior to get out of bed if necessary.
Reduce the height
Lower the bed to prevent a fall from being too dangerous, and to help with climbing into bed. If you can’t do this, then you can access easier with a step stool or a small platform.
If you roll around in bed too much, place a large body pillow or a bolster pillow on either side to prevent rolling too close to the edge.
These are wedge-shaped pieces of foam. When placed on both sides of the senior, they create a hollow in the middle to prevent rolling out of bed.
Raised edge mattress
You can purchase concave mattresses with a raised perimeter to prevent falls. However, these can make it more difficult to climb out of bed. A cheaper option is a special mattress cover with built-in bolster cushions fixed in place down the sides.
These are a useful and subtle alternative to bolster cushions. Place them under the mattress cover or bottom sheet to prevent the senior rolling out of bed.
Bedside safety mat
You can buy safety mats or a foam mattress to place on the floor next to the bed. This provides a soft area in case the senior rolls out of bed.
Prevent stumbling around in the dark
Sometimes, the senior has problems when walking around in the bedroom or when going to the bathroom. These problems need a different approach.
A senior may have certain eye conditions such as cataracts and glaucoma, and these might severely increase fall risk. It’s even worse when it’s at night and difficult to see where you’re walking. It’s important to have eyes tested at least once a year or when you notice problems.
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Sometime’s the visit to the bathroom might turn into an obstacle course if you aren’t careful. Clear clutter from around the bed and ensure the doorway isn’t blocked.
Install night lights
It’s difficult to walk around a room at night without any light. Install nightlights that illuminate during the hours of darkness. Make sure they are bright enough to illuminate the room but not so bright that they disrupt sleep.
Avoid drinks at bedtime
Sometimes a simple solution such as not drinking anything after 8 pm will fix the problem and allow your senior to get some unbroken sleep. I know many seniors enjoy a warm milky drink at bedtime, but there’s no reason why they can’t have one earlier.
Manage cognitive issues
Seniors with cognitive problems such as Alzheimer’s or dementia are at a much higher risk of falling than those who are mentally healthy. There are varying stages of severity of these illnesses so it might be that you have to use two or three of the previously mentioned methods to make sure your senior is safe.
Use appropriate therapy to manage some cognitive problems. So, take your elderly relative or friend to see their doctor as soon as you become aware of the problem.
I hope you found this post helpful. In case you want to continue reading, I will outline some relevant topics. Check bathroom safety tips or read about suction grab safety. If you like to exercise with a treadmill, check my treadmill safety tips for elderly.