How easy is it to get in and out of your bed?
Do you have to lower yourself waaaaay down or perhaps go up on your tippy toes to sit?
Things can get even trickier if you have weak knees, a sore hip or a bad back (like me). Or maybe you need to transfer yourself from a wheelchair or park your walker alongside your bed.
If any of these things sound somewhat familiar, read on to see where you can make some improvements to achieve a more accessible bed.
Accessible Bed Features
The Perfect Height
Make sure the height of the top of the mattress is comfortable for the user to get into and out of. This means taking into account the abilities of each individual including whether they are particularly tall or short or have any chronic conditions. Remember to add the height of the bed frame PLUS the thickness of the mattress AND the box spring to figure out the final bed height. If the end result is too high you could remove the box spring from the equation.
Try to find one that you are able to grasp firmly. This may come in handy for someone needing to turn over or make adjustments to their positions in bed. Ensure the headboard is securely attached to the wall and/or to the rest of the bed frame.
Plan for at least one side of the bed to have a 60″/1.5m turning circle which will enable wheelchairs to comfortably turn around. This zone will also double up as an overnight parking area for assistive devices.
Clear Space Below
As long as the clear and open space below the bed is at least 9”/23cm high and 6″/15cm deep, it can be used as part of the turning circle. This space will allow the footrests of wheelchairs to easily pass underneath the bed. It’s still possible to have some storage under your bed, just make sure to work around these dimensions. But it does mean you’ll have to forgo a bed-skirt.
These devices are basically a grab-bar for your bed and are widely available in stores and online.
A solidly built, appropriate height night-stand is a perfect partner. I like to be able to hide all my stuff in a couple of drawers and keep the surface clear with minimal clutter. Consider wall mounting your night-stand for extra floor space (remember the turning circle…).
Think about including a light that you can adjust the brightness on and that has an easy to reach switch. You may want to choose fixtures that attach to the wall sconce-style or ones with swing-arms for greater flexibility.
It’s convenient to have one beside your bed to ensure your tablet (reading material) or mobile phone (alarm clock and emergencies) stays fully charged and ready to go.
No matter what the latest trends are dictating your bed should work for you (and your partner) first and foremost. Make comfort a priority. After all, you spend about 1/3 of your life in bed.