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Is it better for short (around 5'3") elderly people to have a bed/mattress height of around 20" or something a little higher? The bed I have is 20" high. I have bed risers that would make the bed around 27"-28", would this be better or worse?

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Hi. OP here. Thanks for the feedback everyone, it's all very helpful.

I'll stick with the bed height I have. My dad (grandma's SIL) kept arguing with me that she should have a raised bed so she can get in and out better. She's accustomed to low beds, although the one she's currently in may be a bit higher than the one I have set up for her. My primary concern was that a raised bed may be too high when she got out of it (her feet might not touch the floor) and this could potentially cause her to lose her balance and fall. I also don't want to make things too easy for her by having a higher bed. She needs to use what muscles she has left or she'll end up worse than what she already is. I don't know why people can't comprehend things like that. There's a reason why so many assisted living facilities encourage the residents to exercise.
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Rainmom, the bed assist rails are not the same as a full or half bed rail, they are designed to grab and assist only, not to keep you in bed (although the larger ones do create a reassuring partial barrier). Most are less than 2' in length, and should be positioned up by the pillow.
I have a "super pole" in the bathroom, ours features a single movable right angle bar that can be locked into place for either shower or toilet assistance. I love my super pole, but they need to be installed correctly and tested periodically to be sure they are rock solid :)
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There is a tool I've seen in several rooms at my moms NH that is used to help get people in/out of bed independently. Bed rails can be problematic for some - trying to crawl around or over if they can't get it lowered. The tool is what I call a stripper pole. It runs vertically floor to ceiling up towards the head of the bed. It has two indented areas where the persons placed their hands. I'm sure it has a better name than the one I've given it but I don't know what it is. The only problem I see with this tool is that the person needs to have some physical strength to haul their own body weight.
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cwillie, on Sunday I installed one of those bed assist rails and my Dad really likes it. It's the same style that you had written about :)

Even though my Dad's bed is low [it's from the 1940's back when beds were normally lower] Dad was still finding issues trying to get up... he is now under 5 foot tall [really has shrunk over the years]. Also, now Dad says he feels safer knowing he wouldn't fall out of the bed.... he said he fell out last year and had trouble getting back up [just heard about that this past Sunday].... oh the secrets our elder will keep.
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If she is having trouble getting up off the bed you might want to consider a bed assist rail. There are many styles available, what they are is a small rail or handle that sits near the head of the bed and is held in place by the mattress or belted to the box spring.
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If a person is immobile and has to be lifted, turned etc. a higher bed is better. If they are still mobile go with lower. My mom is still able to get around and a new bed which was about 4 inches higher was impossible for here to navigate. We ended up lowering it.
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You might want to check with the person's doctor before making a final decision on bed height, but in my opinion low height is safer. When my dad came to stay with us after a fall (it turned out that he actually had multiple serious health issues) he was unable to get in and out of a high bed because of the pain. We removed the box springs, and he slept on the mattress. When he moved into his independent living apartment, he had to purchase a bed. He bought a "low profile" foundation so that the bed is relatively close to the floor.
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my moms bed height went from 28 inches to 6 feet below grade so id say adjustments have to be made as a persons health and mobility decline .
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While it can seem a higher bed can be easier to get in and out of, they can be dangerous if the person fell out of it. My moms high mattressed bed was the first thing to go once she began falling somewhat regularly. Not too long after that her bed was replaced with a even lower hospital bed. Mom is about 5'3"
as well and had no problem adjusting - or getting in and out.
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In Nursing Homes, to prevent falls, the bed is lowered as far as possible.
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