personal care - getting in and out of bed

As your loved one ages, simple tasks such as climbing in and out of bed can become difficult due to pain and reduced mobility. The risk of falling also increases with about 30% of seniors experiencing at least one fall annually. It is, therefore, important to use mobility aids and correct techniques when helping a senior in and out of bed.

Mobility Aids

A few simple adjustments and the purchase of appropriate equipment will make this ritual easier. Check the height of the bed. If it is too low he/she will have trouble standing up. If it is too high, he/she may be forced to slide off the bed. The following items will help seniors with particular weaknesses to get in and out of bed independently.

Grab handles: Various models can be fitted to the bed, floor or wall. This helps your senior to steady themselves as they climb in and out.

Lifting pole: These can be freestanding or attached to the wall. Seniors can grab a strap which helps provide balance and support.

Bed ladder: Some seniors have difficulty moving from a lying to a sitting position. A rope ladder can be attached to the bed frame which allows your senior to pull themselves up.

Leg lifters: Both manual and power-assisted devices are available. These are for seniors who have difficulty lifting their legs into bed.

Bed ladder: Some seniors have difficulty moving from a lying to a sitting position. A rope ladder can be attached to the bed frame which allows your senior to pull themselves up.

Cane: Special bed canes which fit securely under a mattress can provide a grip for seniors when climbing in or out.

Caregiver Techniques

Focus on using equipment which gives your senior the confidence to climb in and out of bed with minimal assistance from you. If your loved one is very frail and unsteady, you should always be there to provide extra help, if needed. Encourage your loved one to take his/her time throughout the process.

When providing personal care, you can help your senior to get out of bed by:

  1. Getting him/her to roll toward the side of the bed
  2. Lowering his/her feet over the edge
  3. Asking him/her to use mobility aids to push up to a sitting position
  4. Making sure his/her feet are firmly on the floor at shoulder width
  5. Adjusting cane, grab rail or other device so he/she can pull up to a standing position

When providing personal care, you can help your senior to get into bed by:

  1. Positioning him/her so that the backs of his or her legs touch the edge of the bed
  2. Having him/her reach back for the grab rail or other device
  3. Making sure hips are bent as he/she lowers slowly into a sitting position
  4. Asking him/her to use rails, leg lifters or other devices to reach a lying position
  5. Gently adjusting him/her into a comfortable position in the middle of the bed

Strength Training

Many seniors have difficulty getting in and out of bed due to loss of strength in arms, calf muscles and the core. Pilates programs which are designed seniors provide exercises such as contractions and calf pumps which target these particular areas. Encourage your loved one to join a class if you believe it will help with this everyday task.

Helping your loved one get in and out of bed does not have to be a difficult chore. Investigate aids which can help and ask your home care provider for expert advice about personal care if your loved one is experiencing serious difficulties.

 

Image credit: "Bed" (cropped) by Jennifer C.. (Creative Commons Attribution-2.0 Generic)




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