It can be challenging for older people to get into and out of bed as it requires flexibility and strength in different parts of the body. If your relative is experiencing difficulty, here are ways that may help.

Useful products and equipment

Some of the most useful products and equipment that are available to help people in the bedroom are:

  • Bed raisers (or bed risers): moulded shapes – usually plastic cones – designed to fit over the top of the existing legs or castors to increase the height of the bed.
  • Bed levers (also known as bed rails, grab handles, grab rails or support rails) help a person get into or out of bed, or to raise themselves from a lying to a sitting position within the bed. There are various models available; the difference tends to be in the way they are fitted or secured (to the bed itself, the floor, or a wall).
  • Bed ladder: this helps a person to raise themselves into a sitting position from lying down. One end of the rope ladder is attached either to the footboard of the bed or the bed frame. The person pulls themselves forward using the rungs of the ladder.
  • Bed blocks: if your relative has difficulty pushing down through their hands, a bed block can be placed on either or both sides of them in bed, helping them to raise themselves up and adjust their position in or on the bed.
  • Leg lifters: to help a person lift their legs up and into bed. There are manual devices, such as a leg loop, a reinforced strap that hooks around the legs and can then be pulled up. For those people who lack the strength or balance to do this, there are a number of power-assisted devices.
  • Slip-prevention footboards: if slipping down the bed is a significant problem, then a slip-prevention footboard may be useful. Again, there are several variations on this device.

Check the bed is the right height

To ensure your relative’s bed is at a good height, check that their knees are reasonably well-bent when sitting on their bed. When a bed is too low to the ground, it will be more difficult for a person to stand when getting out of the bed. If necessary, raise the bed slightly using bed raisers (see above). However, it is important not to raise the bed too high, as your relative needs to be able to touch the floor when they put their legs out of bed (otherwise, they have to slide off the bed). If the bed is too high, it also makes it difficult to get into, as well as it being less safe to sit on whilst getting dressed. Wearing silk nightwear can also increase the risk of your relative slipping off the bed.

More information

Page last reviewed: March 2015
Next review due: November 2016