Bedroom safety for seniors is crucial, especially since it’s a place where falls commonly occur.
In the previous post, we discussed why it’s vital to secure bedrooms as a safe place for the elderly.
We also discussed the challenges and problems that seniors encounter in the bedroom.
So today, we will be talking about practical tips on how to improve bedroom safety for seniors aging in place.
Let’s get started then…
The bedroom should be free of clutter. Unnecessary items and furniture increase a senior’s risk of falls.
Avoid using bed linens or bedspreads that reach the floor to keep their feet from getting tangled.
Remember to check the floor regularly, discarded clothing and footwear can quickly become fall hazards.
Be sure they have adequate space to move safely around the room.
Many tasks require an older adult to move around the bedroom. For example: getting dressed, closing blinds, or even turning on/off the lights.
So check if there’s adequate space for them and ask the following questions:
These are essential things to assess. Take trials on navigating the bedroom yourself and evaluate whether there’s enough space for them to move.
And if they use assistive devices such as walkers, canes, or rollators, designate a spot to "park" it close to the bed.
This minimizes extra steps across the bedroom without the assistive device and also reduces their energy expenditure.
The height of the bed is an important thing to assess. Floor to top of mattress should be between 20 inches and 23 inches for most people.
If the bed is too low, it is difficult to get out. If the bed is to high, fall risk increases getting into bed. Avoid bed height that require step stools.
For other bedroom furniture, look for chairs or couches that are sturdy and supportive.
Choose ones with armrests as they can make it easier for them to get in and out of the furniture.
Make sure seats are at least 18 inches tall. Avoid those that are too soft, as these can make it difficult for seniors to get up when needed.
Placing a firm board under the seat cushion can improve the quality of a sagging couch or chair.
All furniture items should not be swaying and wobbling. And avoid those with sharp corners which become dangerous in the event of a fall.
Easy access and adequate lighting are crucial for the elderly when navigating the bedroom.
Floor or table lamps that can be turned on by a light switch are often a good idea. Touch lamps can reduce the finger dexterity required and be easier for seniors.
Quality lighting will also decrease reflections, shadows, and glare which can cause the eyes to not recognize clutter or objects such as tables and chairs.
To avoid glare, do not use clear glass fixtures, avoid installing bright fixtures near glossy surfaces, and shield bulbs from direct view.
While carpet and hardwoods are the most common flooring in bedrooms, they each have their challenges.
Carpet is slip resistant, but can be challenging to navigate with a walker or wheelchair. Carpet is also difficult to clean in the event of a spill.
Hardwoods allow for easy use of assistive devices, but can be slippery. They are also often covered with rugs which presents another set of issues if the rugs are thick or not secured to the floor.
Consider rubber flooring. Many people are unaware it even exists as an option, but it can be the best choice for seniors.
Rubber is slip resistant, even when wet and can absorb shock in the even of a fall. This reduces the risk of a costly fracture after an accident.
For our seniors, keeping the proper bedroom temperatures isn’t only a matter of comfort. It’s also a matter of health.
The ideal temperature, varies from person to person. But the lowest safe room temperature for seniors is around 65°F. And for those on blood thinners, they will likely prefer much warmers temperatures.
Talk to your loved ones and find out where their comfort range falls, and take steps to keep the home at that temperature.
To help optimize the bedroom temperature, it’s advisable to close blinds during the day to reduce heat build-up.
Use smart technology. You can buy quiet tower fans with timers if they have trouble falling asleep. If it’s really hot, you can put a bowl of ice in front of the fan to cool the air.
Sweating can also be minimized by using the bed sheets, mattresses, duvets, and pillows for temperature regulation.
Most seniors also have a hard time sleeping especially if they’re in a noisy neighborhood.
Cars honking, children playing, dogs barking. These types of sounds can disrupt their sleep.
Noise can also be disturbing to seniors experiencing dementia. Hearing has a significant impact on dementia patients as it can worsen how they respond and perceive external stimuli.
So how do you address this?
Think of acoustics especially if you’re thinking of renovating your parent’s bedroom.
Avoid using materials such as concrete, plasterboard, and brickwork which are high sound producers.
It also helps to fill the gaps and air passages around doors, walls, and ceilings. And use sound-absorbing curtains as well as wall and floor coverings to limit reverberation.
Learn more about noise level reduction for seniors here.
Do you need help with remodeling your parent’s home and making it safer for aging in place? Check out our blog on the top remodeling home ideas for seniors.
Bedroom safety for seniors is vital to our loved ones’ health.
We need to make sure that their bedrooms are well designed and free of clutter. This way they can maximize their rest and sleep.
Do you have any tips to share on improving bedroom safety for seniors? Share them with us below.
That's all for today.
Take care, keep mom safe and have a great day!