How to Design a Bed for Someone with Mobility Issues

Whether the mobility issue is based on a sudden injury or acute illness, or a general issue of aging, getting in and out of bed can become a common problem. Luckily, there are a variety of options available to make the issue less troublesome and restoring a level of independence to the person’s life.

But how do you design a bed for someone with mobility issues? By choosing from a range of tools and technologies created to make the going to and getting up from bed a more enjoyable experience for all.

Bed Rails

One easy way to make any bed more accessible to someone with mobility issues is through the addition of a bed rail. Essentially, these are handles or bars designed to provide a person a point to grip, allowing them to use some of their upper body strength the help them move in and out of bed, as well as position themselves on the mattress.

Bed rails come in a variety of styles. Some are independent supports that are placed on the floor, serving a similar function to a cane but with more support. Others are connected directly to the bed frame, providing an exceptionally sturdy option. In some cases, bed rails can be supported between the mattress and the box spring, making this a great solution for individuals that don’t have a strong bed frame.

Often, a bed rail is a good starting point for increased mobility as it doesn’t require a high investment to add in most cases. The affordability can make it especially attractive in situations where the mobility issue is temporary, such as after an injury that is likely to heal.

Adjustable Mattresses and Bed Frames

For those who anticipate long-term mobility issues, investing in an adjustable bed may be a better solution. These beds feature mattresses that are designed to bend at certain points and a frame with a motor to create the necessary movement. Typically, the bed can be adjusted to elevate the head, mimicking a reclining position, as well as lift the legs, providing a comfortable bend near the hip and knee joints.

These beds can help those with mobility issues in a number of ways. First, they can assist with repositioning the body into more favorable positions in regards to getting in or out of bed. For example, starting from a seated or reclined position and then using the bed to slowly lower into a lying position may be more comfortable than lowering oneself on your own.

Additionally, the multiple positions can provide options for activities like reading in bed without having to prop with a lot of pillows.

Some people may even benefit from mattresses that allow the firmness to be adjusted. That way, should they experience varying levels of discomfort that may benefit from different amounts of support, they can simply make a quick adjustment based on their need at the time.

Cot Sides

Cot sides are side rails designed to help prevent a person from falling out of bed during the night. While those with mobility issues may not be more prone to falling from bed, they may be more at risk of getting a new injury or aggravating a current one.

Often these devices can also function as bed rails when needed and can be removed, lowered, or tucked away with relative ease. Additionally, if a bed is on casters, they can serve as handles to help direct the bed through a space.

Bed Risers

In some cases, simply changing the height of the bed can cause a significant amount of relief when it comes to getting in and out of bed comfortably. One easy and low-cost way to make the adjustment is with bed risers. These are devices that are placed under the legs of the bed, lifting it a few inches higher than normal. The increased height helps lessen the amount of bending that may be required when rising or getting ready to lie down.

Over Bed Tables

For individuals that spend a notable amount of time in bed, having an over the bed table can make numerous activities more comfortable. For example, they can be used as a place for having a meal, reading, or working on a laptop. Often, they can simply be swung into place when needed and tucked away when it is time to get up or sleep. Some even include additional conveniences like built-in lights and cup holders, adding to their function.

Body Pillows

For people who prefer to sleep on their side, a body pillow can provide much-needed support during the night. These help keep the knees and arms in a more comfortable position, alleviating pressure on certain joints and even lessening shoulder or hip pain based on their preferred sleeping position. This can make it easier to fall asleep as well as allowing them to wake up with less pain.

Heated Mattress Pads and Blankets

Some people that experience pain with their mobility issues find the use of heat to be effective for pain management. For those individuals, adding a heated mattress pad or blanket can provide a source of heat on a short-term basis. Often, this can assist those individuals who enjoy controlled heat to fall asleep or wake more easily.

Cooling Memory Foam

For individuals that typically overheat when they sleep, choosing a cooling memory foam mattress or mattress pad can provide a more comfortable night’s sleep. These materials dissipate body heat more effective than some other materials, helping to keep the mattress more temperature neutral. And, for those with mobility issues, getting a better quality of sleep can make getting up in the morning more manageable.

Other options may be available to assist those with mobility issues for getting in and out of bed, as well as to ensure the bed is a safe environment. Those with specific needs can always speak with their physician to see what options may be available.

About the Author Nurse Susan, RN

I have always been passionate about helping people heal. After I retired from my lifelong career as a nurse, that passion didn’t go away. That’s why I started this site. I encountered all sorts of medical products during my years as a nurse, and now I want to use that knowledge to help you make the best choices for your health. I know how the right product can change someone’s life for the better, so I’m here to help you find the best medical products to keep you and your family healthy, active, and happy.