Why does my elderly mom keep falling out of bed? This may be a question you have recently been posing if you are caring for an elderly parent. This is a common problem for which there are quite a few possible causes. It may take some digging to find the reason that applies to your situation. But here are some reasons why seniors might fall out of bed and what you can do to help.
Why Seniors Fall Out of Bed
Issues with balance or mobility are often the cause of such falls. Simply reaching for something next to the bed such as a glass of water or a box of tissues could cause your mom to lose her balance and fall out of bed.
A condition, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), could also be the root of balance issues. This is a common problem among older adults. This type of problem causes vertigo, dizziness, and other symptoms due to debris (otoconia) that have collected within a part of the inner ear. With head movement, the otoconia shift, and this action sends false signals to the brain, which causes dizziness, or vertigo.
Rolling Out of Bed
Believe it or not, many seniors actually roll out of bed. This can happen for a lot of reasons; your mom might be doing a lot of tossing and turning throughout the night, for example. If your elderly parent tends to sleep too close to the edge of the bed, this increases the risk of falling as well. It is also possible that she is just rolling around a lot at night, causing the fall. Investing in bed rails to keep her safely and snugly in bed can be a good option.
Some medications may cause dizziness and disorientation when waking and trying to get out of bed. It is a good idea to take a look at this possibility when trying to determine the cause.
Confusion or Disorientation
Some seniors get confused or disoriented in the middle of the night and fall out of bed or attempt to get out of bed when they aren't fully "with it." Obviously, these things can cause falls. Talk to your mom's doctor to get to the bottom of the situation; it could be medication-related or could be a sign of dementia.
Managing Hydration and Toileting Ineffective
Bladder control in the middle of the night may become more of a problem as your loved one ages. If they're rushing too quickly to get to the bathroom before an accident occurs, it may lead to tripping and falling. Instead, look into better ways to manage hydration and toileting needs. A bedside toilet, for example, will require your loved one to move a much shorter distance while simultaneously relieving some of the urgency of middle of the night bathroom trips.
Falling Out of Bed Solutions
In addition to some of the suggestions mentioned above, here are strategies to help reduce the risk of your parent or senior loved one falling out of bed.
Bed Rails: Install bed rails. Rails that only block half the bed will prevent her from rolling out of the bed, but also enable her to get up during the night using the rail as a handhold.
Lower Bed: Lower the bed closer to the floor if the bed is too high for her feet to adequately touch the ground from a sitting position. If that's not possible, get a step stool to make getting onto the bed easier.
Body Pillows: If she is rolling out of bed, place a large body pillow on either side of her frame while she sleeps to help prevent her from rolling during the night.
Consult Physician: If your mother is getting up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom frequently, you might consult with her physician to see if there is a way to lessen her nightly bathroom trips.
These tips may help you keep your mom in bed safely. However, once you have determined the cause of the falls, it is a good idea to work with a healthcare provider to come up with a solution.
Caring Senior Service can help. Our goal is to maintain a safe and independent lifestyle for your elderly parent for as long as possible. Review our Fall Prevention Fact Sheet for more information.