13 Products to Make Caring For Bedridden Seniors Easier
As you likely know, one
of the biggest challenges caregivers of bedridden seniors face is ensuring they
are both comfortable and safe.
Often this is a delicate
balancing act because many items that provide comfortable also interfere with
the caregiving process.
For example, a big,
fluffy, down-filled pillow is extremely comfortable but doesn't offer the
support needed, especially when propping a person in bed.
The result? You spend
more time readjusting their position, putting strain and stress on both of you.
So, to help you navigate
the jungle of options, I will share my 13 favorite products that can make
caring for a bedridden older adult a lot easier for both of you... while
maintaining their dignity.
There are many different
reasons someone might be bedridden.
● They might be physically unable to leave their
bed at all due to chronic medical conditions.
● Maybe they can walk, but it is unsafe for them to
● Other times, it may be a temporary condition
while recovering from surgery, injury, or stroke.
While their needs may
vary depending on the level of their disability, they all share the same common
● a safe and comfortable place to sleep,
● adequate hydration,
● regular exercise,
● good nutrition,
● and the support of loved ones.
But there is one crucial need that overshadows all the
rest. That need is dignity.
Here are the 13 products
that can help you meet the various needs of a bedridden senior.
An adjustable bed can be
a lifesaver for both caregivers and bedridden seniors.
By allowing the seniors
to adjust their position independently, they can be more comfortable and less
likely to experience bedsores or other issues. The caregiver won't have to
adjust pillows and blankets constantly.
Helping seniors maintain
their independence also helps them retain their dignity as well.
adjustable bed can make it easier for caregivers to perform their duties
because they can lower or raise the height of the bed.
A bedside commode adds
dignity to the caregiving situation by allowing the senior to use the toilet
without having to use briefs, a bedpan, or underpads on the bed - all of which
can cause embarrassment. (They may still need some help with toileting hygiene.)
If it is safe, offer to
leave the room while they are toileting to provide them a little dignity during
this most private of tasks.
commodes are only safe if the patient can transfer from the bed to the commode
and back safely - with or without help.
No one enjoys looking at
the same four walls all day long.
A wheelchair can help
move the seniors around the house so that they can participate in activities
with other families. They may feel more dignified meeting visitors in the
living room rather than in their private bedroom.
A lightweight wheelchair
makes it easier for caregivers to push and lift into a car - especially if they
are older themselves.
A patient lift is a
device that helps caregivers move seniors who are unable to stand or
participate in transfers. Lifts help move a senior from their bed to a
wheelchair or from their wheelchair to a toilet without you physically picking
A patient lift makes
these transfers much more manageable and reduces the risk of injury to both the
caregiver and the senior.
If your loved one spends
most of their time on their back in bed, look very closely at their mattress.
If you use a hospital-style bed, you may not want to use the one that came with
Bedbound seniors are
especially at risk for bedsores, and mattresses are a substantial contributing
factor. If your loved one is at risk, get a high-quality pressure-relieving
zoned foam mattress or an alternating air pressure mattress to relieve the
pressure and reduce the risk.
Another option is a
mattress with raised sides that can reduce the chance of them falling out of
bed or getting out on their own.
There are two different
styles of bed rails.
The more commonly known
style prevents people from rolling or falling from bed by providing a stable
barrier. The second type serves as a standing aid and helps people who are
somewhat mobile or can safely transfer in and out of bed.
Look for bed rails that
attach securely to the bed frame directly but can be lowered and moved out of
the way to not interfere with caregiving.
If the person you care
for cannot safely get to the bathroom for bathing, you are likely giving them
bed baths. If so, there are better options than a basin and soapy water.
Bag bath kits include
disposable washcloths with soothing, moisturizing, and no-rinse bath soaps that
provide a more relaxing - and less wet - option for giving a bed bath. Because
they don't soak the bed, a sheet change isn't necessary after each bath.
To maintain dignity,
cover the person with a warm blanket (just out of the dryer) and only uncover
areas when cleaning them.
An overbed table
provides bedbound seniors a steady surface to play, work, groom, and entertain
These tables that roll
right over the top of the bed surface are a great place to set up a laptop or
tablet, write checks to pay bills, and work a puzzle or play a game.
Some overbed tables come
with a mirror for personal care and grooming too.
Clothing changes are
stressful and difficult for both the bedridden senior and the caregiver. The
process involves a lot of tugging, pulling, and rolling.
Open-backed gowns can
make this much easier because they are fastened in the back, reducing the movement
But no one wants to lay
around in a hospital gown. So, to help your loved one maintain some dignity,
look for gowns and pajamas that are stylish and that look like something they
might normally wear - but are also easy to change.
There are many options here at Dignity Pajamas that check off both boxes.
It is critical that a
bedridden person can easily communicate with friends and family or summon help
in an emergency.
The simplest way is to
have a phone nearby that is always within reach. If it is a battery-powered
option like a smartphone or cordless phone, ensure they know how to charge it,
and it stays charged.
Landline phones may be
another option, as well as caregiver paging buttons and medical alert systems.
Life in bed gets boring
quickly, so entertainment is a must.
Have a music player
nearby with a wide choice of music options. Many player options allow you to
load hundreds of songs to them via MP3 files.
For seniors with
dementia, one button radios are easy to operate and let them control their
entertainment to maintain some dignity.
Add in a pair of
lightweight headphones if their music taste differs from yours!
Being coupled up in the
same room often leads to stale air and, unfortunately, exposure to odors that
come with caring.
Get a high-quality HEPA
air filter to run continuously in the room, creating more hygienic, cleaner,
and fresher air. It will also clear odors from the air quickly.
A side benefit? The white noise from the
filter may help them sleep better too!
Getting exercise and
being active is nearly impossible when confined to bed.
Provide your loved one a
way to get some exercise by providing them some lightweight hand or ankle
weights, resistance bands (which you can attach to a bed frame), or some bed
yoga and chair exercise DVDs.
If it is safe, have them
sit in a chair and use a pedal or leg exerciser.
A water bottle with a
long straw is a great way to keep your loved one hydrated without lifting their
Look for a bottle that
is easy to clean and has a wide mouth so you can fill it with ice cubes. It
should have a lid and be spill-proof to prevent soaking the bed.
Caring for a bedridden
elderly relative can be difficult. But with the help of these 13 products, it
can be much easier - for both of you.
In addition to these
products, keeping a close eye on the senior's health and well-being is
consider maintaining your loved one's dignity in caregiving. That might be the
most important service you can provide!
Thanks for sharing Scott!