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Even though we do it at least once a day, getting in and out of bed can be risky for anyone. Poor lighting, too tall or low bedframes, and slippery rugs are more dangerous when we are imbalanced from just waking up. We can often reduce these risks with minor adjustments to the bedroom and being more deliberate with our actions.

Here are a few tips:

  • Height: Make sure the height of beds (and with this, favorite chairs and couches) are high or low enough to allow someone to get up with the least amount of effort.  Beds which are too low place strain on the legs, beds which are too high increase risk of falling.  For beds which are too low, a set of bed risers can be an inexpensive and effective solution.
  • Support: A bedside tension pole is often useful to help with self-transfers.  For those who need it, this can be combined with a bedside commode.  Please ensure you read all literature and educational material about setup and use of such a device.  
  • Lighting: A common situation which supports need for lighting is trips to the bathroom at night.  Motion-activated soft lighting is recommended.  Even baseboard lighting to guide the walk.  At a minimum, a lamp should be placed close enough to the bed to be operated without getting up or out.
  • Dementia: Nighttime wandering is common with dementia, making the need for overall safety, all the more important. Adding additional motion-activated lighting and being very diligent about trip and fall hazards may be required.

    Ideally anyone in mid to advanced stages of dementia are not left alone at all.  Remote monitoring technologies may be useful in tracking when and where wandering takes place, though many devices are insufficient in preventing falls or injury.  They may, however, accelerate emergency response if an event happens.