For those who are helping the elderly in their life transition to new stages, you may already be shopping around for adjustable beds for seniors or even considering a first floor room. Certain modifications can accommodate the needs of older individuals, allowing them to spend their golden years in dignity and comfort.
These days, the concept of aging in place gives seniors a chance to continue living in their beloved homes regardless of age, ability, or other typical constraints. Elderly individuals may be more inclined to age in place when their existing environments are adjusted to suit their changing needs.
Aging in place gives older individuals a chance to maintain some autonomy and increase their happiness as they will be in an environment they are already accustomed to and familiar with beforehand.
In effect, the quality of life among seniors can be enhanced when their needs are all addressed, through your help. The elderly in your life can age peacefully, knowing that they are in a space that has everything they need and more.
For starters, you can begin with the room they will likely be spending the most time in — the bedroom.
Here’s how you can make the bedroom more comfortable for the elderly:
Prioritize a first floor bedroom
Reuters Health has found that seniors are more likely to stay in their current residences if their homes do not have staircases. However, a good compromise would be to move them into rooms on the first floor. Indoor accessibility is paramount to elderly individuals’ mobility.
It would be best if the bedroom has an en suite bathroom, but if this is not in the cards, make sure that there is one nearby. You can also keep bed pans in the room in case of emergency bathroom situations.
Install stair lifts
If the former point of choosing a first floor bedroom is not an option, you can install stair lifts instead. Stair lifts are recommended for those who use assisted mobility aids like canes, wheelchairs, walkers, or scooters, but they are also great for elderly individuals in general.
There are a variety of stair lift options out in the market today. Standing platforms or perch-style seats are recommended for elderly individuals who have knee problems or have difficulty bending. Some stair lifts allow seniors to simply sit down as it moves them from floor to floor.
Take the time to declutter
If you are renovating an old room to move your elderly family members into, make sure you spend a good amount of time decluttering the space. Jam-packed closets and cabinets can lead to accidents, especially when heavy items are present.
Closet systems are a great mechanism for organization and can be customized according to your individual needs. Lower shelves if you can, and put all pertinent clothing and items in easy to reach areas to avoid injury. Also, install sufficient lighting so that older individuals can see whatever it is they are looking for.
Furnish the bedroom wisely
This is not the time to overcrowd the room with tons of accessories or furniture, which are basically obstacles for older individuals. Instead, stick to a few key pieces that are practical. Limit furnishings to things that are necessary, such as nightstands, simple dressers, or cabinets.
You also have the option to hire a professional to nail these in or anchor them into the wall or floor. This will prevent furniture from toppling over if used for support. For a DIY method, you can attach non-skid pads on the legs of chairs, nightstands, tables, and other dressers.
Switch out a regular bed for an adjustable bed
It’s time to consider investing in adjusting beds for seniors, as these are key to maximum comfort. They can be beneficial for individuals who suffer from arthritis or general lower back issues as they reduce inflammation and swelling, and promote more restful sleep.
Seniors who are bedridden may also benefit from adjustable beds as they will have greater mobility. Adjustable beds empower individuals to get in and out of bed with ease. A zero gravity feature is factored into adjustable beds, which distributes one’s weight equally.
With zero gravity, one’s head and legs are raised at a proper angle, leaving the rest of the body aligned. As a result, this relieves pressure, alleviates chronic pain, can minimize snoring, improve heart health, and cuts down on acid reflux or heartburn. All in all, this will also allow seniors to get a good night’s rest as much as possible.
Opt for a firmer mattress
To complement an adjustable bed for seniors, opt for a firmer mattress. Firm mattresses are often recommended for elderly individuals who experience chronic back pain, as it provides them with better lumbar support.
Mattresses are crucial to ensuring that seniors get enough sleep, especially as the Sleep Foundation reports that adults aged sixty and above are more likely to suffer from insomnia.
Seniors are at greater risk for conditions that lead to insomnia and may also be adjusting to their new sleep-wake cycles or circadian rhythms that change with age. You may choose a wide range of mattresses in mattress store in Orange County.
Put up bed rails
Bed rails are another important accessory which you can install to reduce accidents in the bedroom. Some bed rails can be adjusted or lowered by the elderly individual, while others will require the help of a caregiver because they may be locked.
These attachments will prevent the elderly from falling out of their bed, or simply give them some stability in getting in and out of their bed. You can even fashion bumper pads over the bed rails for comfortable cushioned surfaces and better grip.
Adjust the lighting
When choosing the right lighting for a senior’s bedroom, you have to find the right balance between too bright and too dim. Failure to do so can lead to issues with glare, and seniors may have a harder time adjusting to new lighting.
Fluorescent lights may help with color perception and discrimination in elderly individuals. Adjust task and ambient lights to reduce eye strain as well. Mixing white and yellow light is a good way to go when fixing bedroom lighting.
Older adults may also benefit from touch-activated lamps by their bedside, or motion-activated night lights so that they can illuminate their paths to the bathroom at night.
Choose motorized window coverings
You can adjust bedroom lighting with motorized window coverings. Remote controlled features are now available for some window coverings and blinds. These let the elderly adjust the room’s lighting according to their preferences.
Seniors do not have to over exert themselves to do this, as they can do it from the comfort of their beds. Motorized window coverings can also give seniors a better chance at a restful sleep if they have full blackout coverage.
Re-evaluate your flooring
Falls can be a major source of fatal injuries in older adults. When choosing the proper flooring for elderly individuals, go for an option that will manage slips from both individuals and furniture. You also need to consider the ease of maneuvering assisted mobility devices like wheelchairs.
Wall-to-wall carpeting may be a good option, but it may be difficult to clean. You can work around whatever existing flooring that you have, and stick safety strips for better traction.
Make sure that you firmly secure other rugs and carpets in place as elderly individuals can easily trip over these. If necessary, install ramps on your flooring instead of steps to prevent accidents.
Stick to soothing color schemes
Balancing form and function in the bedrooms of the elderly is the best thing you can do to ensure overall comfort. You can emphasize a warm and welcoming atmosphere with subdued colors or pastel tones which mimic nature. Sage, marigold, and baby pink are great places to start, and can complement natural light.
However, avoid overly complicated designs and accessories. You can instead finish the room off with matching bed spreads, meaningful artwork, and family photographs. You want the senior living in this room to feel serene and at home.
Plan for emergency situations
In case of emergencies, you should make sure that seniors have a means of accessing you. A bedroom phone that is user-friendly and pre-programmed with a direct line to you or an emergency service is advised. You may also consider hardwired telephones with larger buttons that are installed by the bedside.
You can also leave printed copies of emergency phone numbers in the drawers of the room, just in case. For quicker alerts, you can also provide your seniors with emergency alarms or alert systems which they can simply press if they need assistance.
If you are able to make do with what you have to transform a bedroom into a safe haven for the elderly, then aging in place is a doable task. The seniors in your life may feel more secure and grateful knowing that you’ve done what you could to make sure that they age with grace and dignity.
Are you planning on renovating a bedroom for a senior in your life? Which tip was the most helpful? Comment below!