We spend a significant portion of our lives in bed resting, sleeping, reading, watching TV, or recovering from an illness or surgery. Because our bedrooms, and beds, play such an important role in our lives at any age, there are a wide variety of safety and lifestyle aides available. Some of the most common ones are listed below.
· Bed rails, bed sticks, and grab rails are important for providing support during transfers from a wheelchair to the bed and may also help prevent falls.
· Ceiling poles, hoists, and care giver assisted standing devices all help those with stability concerns rise from bed safely.
· Ceiling- or wall-mounted supports and rope ladder style devices help users hoist themselves into a new position on the bed. Other equipment that can be helpful in getting into a comfortable position includes bed blocks that are firm and easily gripped. They are placed over soft bedding to make movement easier. Also, for people with limited mobility in their legs, electrical leg lifts can be a great way to maintain independence.
· Folding bed frames, also called mattress elevators, are ideal for people who want to sit up in bed to read or watch TV, but do not get enough support from pillows bunched behind them. The bed frame requires electricity to work and is raised or lowered with a pump.
· A folding back rest is a cheaper alternative to the folding bed frame. It sits on top of the mattress and can be used with or without pillows. Unlike the mattress elevator, a folding back rest must be set up manually so are better for people with a higher level of mobility and independence.
· Padded bumpers, when combined with bed rails ensure that the user cannot fall out of bed nor will they bruise or injure themselves if they roll into the rails. They also act as a barrier preventing arms or legs from becoming stuck between the bed rail and the mattress.
· While the whole idea is to prevent a fall, adding a fall mat next to the bed will help cushion the blow in the event such an accident does occur. When combined with emergency alert devices such as alarms or call center connections, fall mats can be invaluable for helping prevent serious injury.
· As we age, incontinence often becomes a problem. Items such as washable or disposable bed pads, and waterproof bedding help keep the mattress clean and decrease embarrassment.
· Over bed tables are ideal for people who like to read, eat, or pursue a hobby while propped up in bed. The most common are bed trays which stand on the bed itself and have fold away legs. The other option is floor standing tables. Some of these are on wheels and can be easily moved away from the bed. If looking to purchase one of these, also consider things like height adjustment and a tilting top which will make it easy to move the table from the bedside to a favorite chair for use there. Also be aware of the clearance under your bed. Some bed frames sit very close to the floor and may not have enough space for a bed frame with castors.