Each year, falls injure millions of older adults. Falls can happen anywhere — in the kitchen, in the living room, or on the way to the bathroom. You may even know what to do to prevent falls, slips, and trips. But you may be wondering what you can do when it comes to keeping your loved one from falling out of bed in the middle of the night.
Thankfully, you can take actions to help keep your loved one safe — and many of them are inexpensive and easy to do.
Items That May Prevent Falling Out of Bed
A fall in the middle of the night can be scary for your loved one — and can result in serious injury. Although you may not be able to be with your loved one every night, you have options for making their bed and bedroom safer.
If your loved one is weak because of an illness or injury, ask their doctor or home care nurse about getting a hospital bed. These beds come with built-in rails. They also have controls that can move the mattress into various positions. If your loved one is comfortable in bed, they may be less likely to fall out of it. Medicare or Medicaid may cover hospital beds.
Bed rails can be attached to a regular bed — on one or both sides. Your loved one can also use a sturdy bed rail to help them get into a sitting position on the side of the bed.
If your loved one doesn’t like the idea of rails, a pool noodle is another good option to prevent falls from bed. Put the noodle near the side of the bed, tucking it under the mattress pad or fitted sheet. The noodle is not visible, but when your loved one rolls over, it will prevent them from falling out of bed.
Foam wedges are often used to keep people in a certain position if they are injured or have bedsores. Wedges can also be placed on the sides of the bed to prevent your loved one from rolling off.
Focusing on home safety can decrease the odds of your loved one falling during the night — and it can also give you peace of mind. Clinical assessments can give you guidance about making your loved one’s home safer today.
Items that May Reduce the Risk of Injury
Weakness, illness, poor balance, and dementia can increase your loved one’s risk of falling out of bed or around the home, but there are many ways you can make their home safer and prevent injury.
One of the main reasons people try to get out of bed is to go to the bathroom. Not only can this lead to a fall from the bed, but walking around in the dark increases the chance of tripping or stumbling on the way to the bathroom. If you place a commode (a free-standing toilet) close to the bed, your loved one won’t need to walk far.
You can attach devices such as SafeWander to your loved one’s pajamas or clothing. If they try to get out of bed, the device will send an instant alert to your cell phone.
Placing a floor mat right next to the bed won’t stop your loved one from falling, but it will provide a softer landing if they do.