How To Adapt a Bedroom for Seniors with Limited Mobility

Few things in life are unavoidable, meaning certain life events, milestones, etc., will occur at some point during our lives regardless of whether we’d like to experience them. Failure, love, heartbreak, loss of a loved one, change, and success – whether we like it or not, we are all subject to these changes happening over time or sometimes instantaneously. 

Another thing in life that we can guarantee is ageing, which is a change many of us loathe to accept. Yet, with as many as 36% of those over fifty in this AgeUK study stating that their age makes them feel like a burden to society, many try to fight the changes that age creates, depending on the extent of the change, which can make things worse. 

Refusing to adapt can make life at home more challenging and make you more susceptible to moving into a new house or a care home. From handrails, stairlifts, shower chairs, electric beds, etc., a wide range of adaptations are available to make moving about the house more manageable for older adults and help them live independently for longer. 

One room that may need to be adapted is the bedroom since this is an area of the house where seniors spend some of the most time. You most likely prepare for the morning, prepare for the evening, and navigate the bedroom to use the bathroom at night. Consequently, it must be adapted to avoid injury and allow seniors to have as much independence as possible. We list several ways to do so below: 

Adjust The Height Of The Bed 

When choosing the correct bed height, there is no one-size-fits-all answer, as personal factors like height, health, and mobility limitations should influence your decision. While many might overlook bed height as a more pressing issue, older adults with limited mobility or strength may find it challenging to get in and out of bed unassisted. 

Or they might have to slide down or jump off the bed to get out instead of swinging themselves to the side, which increases the chance that they might fall or slip. As most care professionals know, falling or slipping can be incredibly dangerous for older adults since they are much more fragile than younger individuals and recover much slower. 

Avoid accidents like the above by ensuring the elderly user can back onto and sit on the mattress while having both feet planted on the ground. Still, this might vary depending on the height of the individual. You can adjust the size of an older adult’s bed in many ways, from cutting the bed’s legs shorter to replacing the frame with a platformed one. 

On the other hand, you can save some DIY work or a trip to the shops by purchasing an electric profile bed, a type of adjustable bed specially made for people with limited mobility. They can be used in various locations, whether at home or in a professional care setting, by caretakers or the patient to enhance the user’s comfort and make it easier for them to move around. 

Consider learning more about electronic beds by visiting provider’s websites, such as the NHC Group, where you can learn more about what profile beds are, how to choose between the various models available, and how to use one to its fullest potential. Visit their website to browse their entire catalogue of products, read FAQs, or follow their blog to take advantage of their helpful resources like this expert guide on electric beds and much more. 

Install Suitable Flooring 

Although carpet is widely used in bedrooms across the UK and therefore seems like the best choice for flooring in an older adult’s room; however, carpeted floors can pose risks to seniors despite their softness and traction. 

From making it more challenging for seniors to use walkers, canes, or other walking aids to carpet fibres trapping allergens and causing issues for those with respiratory conditions – before you opt for the ‘safer’ solution, it is wise to consider your other options carefully

Another flooring option for an older adult’s bedroom is hardwood or laminate flooring. However, these types of flooring can be slippery, so ensure that you minimise the risk of falls, trips, and slips by adding safety strips or asking the patient to wear non-slip slippers to increase traction. 

Likewise, suppose you’re worried about the hardwood or laminate floor becoming too cold. In that case, you might resolve this by putting down rugs, yet always ensure that the sides are taped down to avoid the carpet rolling up and becoming a trip hazard. 

The only downside to laminate or hardwood floors is that they require regular maintenance to ensure that it is kept in tip-top condition, as they can quickly become scuffed by the traction of walking aids moving across the surface or damaged by any liquids spilt. 

Ensure That There’s Adequate Lighting 

As individuals age, their eyesight gradually worsens; this is even worse for people with existing sight problems or health conditions that affect the eyes, like dementia. This can make it much more challenging, as contrast is reduced and some colours become harder to see. Ensuring that an older adult’s bedroom is well-lit makes all the difference, making them feel confident, safer, and comfortable. 

You can ensure a room is well-lit by adding touch-activated bedside lamps, under-the-bed lighting, automated lighting systems, motion-detecting lighting systems, or choosing a bedroom with more natural light. Doing so offers the following benefits for seniors: 

  • It makes navigating around the home easier during the night. 
  • It helps seniors identify any threats, be this a pile of clothes that could turn into a tripping hazard or a flight of stairs.
  • It makes it easier for older adults to complete household chores like cleaning, cooking, doing laundry etc., which allows them to be more independent. 
  • It gives family members peace of mind that their loved one is in a well-lit environment and that they will be safer for being so. 
  • Eliminates the risk of seniors eating something that is out of date or picking up the wrong medication. 
  • It supports those living alone and still able to take care of themselves despite any health issues they might have. 
  • It allows seniors to find things easier and reduces the risk of misplacing anything important. 
  • It enables seniors to see interior décor better, like photographs, artwork, wall decorations etc., which boosts positive feelings and gives them a sense of familiarity. 

Reduce The Amount Of Furniture 

It’s no secret that most older adults are renowned for being hoarders since they have more than likely spent most of their life in the same property and accumulated many furnishings. Chances are that they do not require this many furnishings, especially in their bedroom; instead, they only need the essentials such as a bed, bedside table, wardrobe, and chair. 

Having a minimalist approach to furnishings reduces the risk of falls, slips, and trips, preventing the obstruction of walkways and keeping the place neat and free of clutter. Yet, at the same time, it is essential for those with limited mobility to have enough furniture in the room to use as a walking aid or regain balance if need be.  

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