Adults spend about one-third of their lives in bed, so it's important for seniors to navigate around their bedrooms and get into bed safely. Making bedroom safety a priority can minimize a lot of challenges for older adults.
Problem: Difficulty getting in and out of bed.
Bedroom Safety Solution: Consider getting an adjustable bed that can rise or lower with a set of controls.
Problem: Risk of bumps or falls when one can't see the floor or furniture.
Bedroom Safety Solutions: A nightlight (or several) or a bright digital clock can provide suitable light. Always keep a flashlight in the nightstand in case of power failures, and keep a phone by the bed, too, with a list of emergency numbers.
Problem: Closets can pose safety risks for the mobility-impaired and those suffering from poor vision or arthritis.
Bedroom Safety Solutions: Lower the shelves so they're easier to reach, or use only the lower, more accessible ones. Try installing plastic-covered metal shelves, which allow air to circulate more freely between clothes--reducing musty odors--and brighten closet space because light flows through them. Components for do-it-yourself shelving are available at home improvement stores. Upgrading closet lighting can also improve visibility.
Problem: In many homes, bedrooms are located upstairs. But for seniors, climbing a flight of stairs to reach the bedroom can be annoying or even exhausting. And in case of a fire or emergency--especially at night--it can be a safety risk.
Bedroom Safety Solutions: Relocate the bedroom to a first-floor den or sitting room. This may seem like an upsetting change, since it's an acknowledgment of impaired mobility and aging. Chances are, though--once it's done--seniors will wonder why they ever hauled themselves up and down the stairs in the first place.
Problem: Getting banged up against heavy bedroom furniture.
Bedroom Safety Solutions: Examine bedroom pieces for ornate, outward-curving legs easy to trip on, and sharp edges or handles that can cause injuries if someone stumbles against them. Don't cram drawers with heavy or bulky items that could be difficult to open. Consider replacing furniture that is a magnet for shins and knees--or covers the sharp edges with foam.
Updated from an earlier version on realtor.com(r) written by June Bell.