10 Ways to Prevent Accidental Falls and Injuries in the Bedroom
Every second of every day, an adult over 65 falls in the United States. They are responsible for many serious long-term health problems and mobility issues and can happen to anyone, regardless of age or fitness level. In fact, falls are the number one cause of injury or death in senior adults over the age of 65. According to the CDC, 55% of all senior falls happen while at home. While many falls occur in the staircase or in the bathroom, a whopping 30% of falls take place in the bedroom. Below is a list of ten preventative measures you and your loved one can take in the bedroom to help ensure their health and safety.
1. Ditch the throw rugs
Anything that hangs out on the floor is a trip hazard, including rugs. Remove rugs from the bedroom area and other main walkways to prevent falls. Wall-to-wall carpeting is on the safer side if you still need something soft underfoot. If you desire rugs but don't want to carpet the entire house, choose a rug with a non-slip surface, and firmly attach it to the floor.
2. De-clutter the bedroom
Clutter is both difficult and dangerous to navigate. If your bedroom is full of extra furniture or decorations, it's a good idea to remove them. Organize your bedroom to create more open space that allows you to move freely and safely in and out of the bed and bedroom unobstructed.
3. Make sure the bed is set at an appropriate height
A big part of the problem seniors face in the bedroom stems from a bed that is just too tall to get into or just too short to get out of. When you're sitting at the edge of your bed, both of your feet should be flat on the floor with your knees at a 90-degree angle. If your bed is too tall or too short, try using a different bed frame or a smaller box spring. A thicker or thinner mattress may also work. If you have to buy a new bed, consider an electric bed that can raise and lower to the appropriate height for your specific needs. These beds are great for aging in place and make a great bedroom addition for seniors with a wide variety of health and mobility issues.
4. Install bed rails
Bed rails are helpful because they give you something to hold onto when sitting or standing up. They also work as a restraint to prevent you from rolling out of bed and ending up on the floor with an injury.
5. Use a bedside table and lamp
A nightstand or table on both sides of the bed can help your loved one keep everything they need within reach. This helps to avoid accidental falls caused by rushing out of bed to get something that was dropped or left in another part of the house. Each table should also have a lamp positioned within reach on both sides of the bed. That way, lights are easily accessible to turn on if you need to get up in the middle of the night. Visibility is crucial for fall prevention.
6. Mount a PERS device
PERS devices are like sweaters. Just like mom always said, it's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. A personal emergency response system (PERS) or medical alert device is a small device that can call for help from friends, family, or 911 in an emergency like a fall with the push of a button. While it's a good idea to carry one around with you wherever you go, many seniors don't. To keep yourself protected without carrying one around all the time, you can mount them in high-risk areas of the home like the staircase, bathroom, bedroom, and kitchen. That way, if you ever fall in a different room than your phone, you can still call for help from the floor regardless of how severe the injury is. Accidents happen. It's better to be prepared for them in case they do. Consider PERS devices a preventative measure against severe injury or death after a fall while alone.
7. Use motion-sensing lights
Turning lights on and off as you make your way through the house can be daunting and dangerous at night. Motion sensing lights turn on automatically as you enter a room and turn off after not detecting motion for a few minutes. Its a good idea to have one in the bedroom, but they should also be installed in every hallway, bathroom, and staircase to help prevent accidents in low-light areas. Your vision isn't what it used to be. Motion sensing lights can illuminate dark areas and help lower your risk of tripping over something in the dark.
8. Get out of bed slowly
You can utilize every tip on this list and still experience a fall if your loved one gets out of bed too quickly. Seniors and older adults often feel dizzy or lightheaded upon standing for a variety of reasons. To combat the dizziness and prevent falls, the best thing to do is to take it easy and move slowly. Always sit up before standing and maintain a seated position for 30 seconds to collect yourself, especially if you're just getting up. If you don't experience any dizziness, stand up slowly and lean on something (like a wall, cane, night table, or walker) as you rise. If you still feel lightheaded, talk to your doctor about your medications and get your eyes checked.
9. Use a reaching tool and keep a cane or walker handy
An affordable way to prevent an accidental fall from getting in and out of bed too frequently is to use a reach tool. Reach tools are long sticks with a grabbing tool on the end that can help you reach for things nearby without getting out of bed and possibly losing your balance. If a reach tool isn't practical due to arthritis in the hands or otherwise, it's a good idea to keep canes and walkers close by so you always have something to hold on to for balance and support as you get in and out of bed.
10. Attach remotes to the bed
Many accidents occur when getting in or out of bed. To prevent the need to get in and out of bed sporadically, it's a good idea to attach remotes, glasses, reach tools, and other bedroom materials to the bed or nightstand with velcro or a lanyard. By connecting these to the bed or nightstand where they're always within reach, you limit your chances of absent-mindedly rushing out of bed to pick up a TV, bed, or ceiling fan remote that fell on the floor. Accidents that stem from picking an object off of the floor often lead to injury by challenging your center of gravity.
Bedroom Safety Tips for Seniors
The bedroom is considered a high-risk area for seniors with limited mobility. To prevent falls in this area, we hope you make use of this list. LogicMark is one of the leading providers of personal emergency response systems and medical alert devices. Many people start shopping for medical alert devices after a loved one suffers an injury from an accidental fall in their own bedrooms while they're living alone. Our devices can help seniors call for help after they fall, and we hope to lower the number of falls altogether through education and awareness. Through diet, exercise, proper preparation, and supportive resources like PERS devices, seniors can live at home and age in place more independently for much longer. For more information about LogicMark and our senior-centric safety systems, please get in touch with us directly.