Sleeping Sanctuary: Bedroom Safety Tips for Seniors

Key Points

  • Bedroom safety tips for seniors keep you safe from everyday risks like trips, falls, and home fires.

  • Choose a bed that offers enough support and adjusts for your mobility needs.

  • Ensure your bedroom offers a clear path and is free of clutter and trip hazards.

  • Bedroom safety tips for seniors include room design, nighttime preparation, and choosing the right bed.

Your bedroom is your sanctuary, where you relax and unwind. Are you safe in your bedroom? With these bedroom safety tips for seniors, rest assured you'll have a restful and safe place to spend your time.

From tripping hazards to fires, many possible dangers in your bedroom can put your safety on the line. Bedroom safety tips for seniors help you create a safe and comfortable bedroom. 

Why Does Bedroom Safety Matter?

Over one in four seniors fall every year, and 20 percent of these falls result in a serious injury like a broken bone or a head injury. Most of those falls happen in the bedroom

“Falls happen where people spend most of their time,” said Dr. Eric Larson of Kaiser Permanente Washington in Seattle. “But in addition to location, there may be circumstances, like the common need to go to the bathroom, especially after waking up during sleep, that contribute to falls. This is a prime time for falling for a number of reasons — (including) slippery floors and the lack of any footwear.”

An injury can change your lifestyle instantly, making it hard for you to get around, do everyday activities, or live independently.

Creating a safe bedroom space goes beyond preventing falls. Ensure that you are getting quality sleep, you’re protected from fire and smoke, and emergency help is just a call away. 

Start With Your Bedroom Layout

A safer bedroom starts with the big picture — how your bedroom is organized and furnished. These items are easy to tackle if your bedroom doesn’t measure up.

Use Senior-Friendly Lighting

As you age, you need more light to see than you used to. Plus, after age 60, eye diseases may change your vision permanently. Low light levels often cause you to trip or misjudge your step or even suffer a fall.

Swap out your incandescent bulbs for bright, energy-efficient LED bulbs. While you’re at it, choose “smart” bulbs that you can turn on and off from your phone. 

Lighting in bedroom

Think about layers of lighting — bright task lighting next to your bed where you read or take your medication, softer overhead light for gentle illumination, and night lighting so you can navigate your surroundings in the dark. 

Be sure to include a light you can reach from your bed so you never fumble in the dark or squint to read your prescription bottle.

Ensure Easy Access to Essential Items

Mobility changes affect your ability to reach, bend, and lift. This makes it difficult to reach into low cabinets, and step ladders to high storage may cause a fall.

Store your often-used items between waist and shoulder height for the easiest access.

Position Your Furniture for Safety

Space is one of the most important elements in a senior-friendly bedroom. Ensure your bedroom has a clean and clutter-free layout with wide, straight paths that leave plenty of room to navigate with a walker or wheelchair.

Choose sturdy furniture and position it where you can lean on it for balance if you need to. Place your dresser with space to access the drawers comfortably.

Choose a bedside table that holds what you need, and you can move out of the way when needed. Allow space beside your bed to quickly get in and out. If you use a walker or wheelchair, even temporarily, you will need extra space.

Senior sleeping in bed

Include a Chair for Sitting and Dressing

A chair in your bedroom allows you to sit while dressing or relaxing.

Choose a supportive and sturdy chair with high, firm armrests to support you when you lower yourself and rise from the chair. A chair that is too soft makes it harder to get up.

Look for furniture that is a standard height or higher; a low chair is difficult to get in and out of safely. If your chair is too low, use a firm cushion or blanket to make it taller and more comfortable.  

Add Support Bars Where You Need Them

Add a grab bar or transfer pole next to your bed or chair for extra support.

Think of a transfer pole as a vertical grab bar you can position anywhere. A transfer pole provides a secure handhold that you can “climb” hand over hand as you rise or sit. This support device doesn’t require any drilling or making holes in your wall. You can move it if you need it in a new spot.

Maintain Electric Safety

Electrical wiring and fixtures are the third leading cause of home fires. Check yours to ensure you are using electricity safely in your bedroom:

  • Use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage on the fixture.

  • Look for telltale signs of electrical problems, such as dim and flickering lights, unusual sizzling and buzzing sounds from your electrical system, and circuit breakers that trip repeatedly. 

  • Use extension cords only temporarily, and never with space heaters or air conditioners.

  • Don’t overload outlets. 

  • Check regularly to ensure there are no broken or frayed electrical cords or plugs.

  • Discard electric appliances that no longer work.

While you’re checking on your wires, keep in mind that electrical cords pose a tripping hazard. Bundle cords and keep them tucked behind furniture. Don’t ever run them along floors or under rugs. 

Electrical cord clutter

Clear Pathways and Eliminate Clutter

As you lose mobility, putting things away where they belong is harder, and clutter accumulates. Clutter in your living space is a major safety hazard that can increase your fall risk. 

Get that clutter cleaned up from overflowing bookshelves to piles of newspapers and last week’s laundry. Keep shoes, wastebaskets, pet supplies, and electric or telephone cords out of traffic areas.

Don’t Overlook Your Floors

Anyone can take a wrong step on a slick or bumpy floor. When you are older, you have less strength and balance to help you recover, and you could fall and even suffer an injury.

Solid floors like tile, vinyl, and natural stone can be too slippery for older adults. Low-pile carpeting is more accessible to navigate with wheelchairs and walkers than a thicker shag carpet, and it presents less of a tripping hazard. 

Loose rugs may slip underfoot or bunch up or curl on the edges and cause you to trip. If you keep rugs, secure them in place using non-slip mats, carpet staples, or double-sided tape.

Install and Test Your Smoke Alarms

Older adults are among the highest risk groups for injury or death due to fire, and 65 percent of home fire deaths result from fires in homes with no working smoke detectors. Your home should have a smoke alarm both inside your bedroom and right outside your door. 

Nighttime Safety in Your Bedroom

Most of the time you spend in your bedroom is when you sleep, so prepare your bedroom for nighttime safety. Consider these points when you set up your bedroom for the night:

  • Keep a telephone with emergency phone numbers by your bed.

  • Plug in nightlights in your bedroom and nearby areas like your bathroom and kitchen.

  • Wear non-slip socks or slippers when you need to get out of bed.

  • Use a bedside commode if walking to the bathroom at night is hard.

    Bedside commode

  • Utilize an emergency call system you can reach from your bed.

  • Have a lamp within reach that is easy to turn on.

  • Put a glass of water next to the bed if you wake up thirsty.

  • Don’t smoke in bed.

Choosing the Safest Bed for Seniors

When you choose a bed, you are probably like Goldilocks — looking for a bed that is not too soft or firm but just right. Maybe you want it to match your decor. What you might not be thinking about, though, is safety.

Consider how much of your time spent in your bedroom is in your bed, whether sleeping, reading, or resting. Many seniors find it challenging to get into bed or to rise, so a bed that offers safe sleeping and mobility is an important safety consideration.

Bed Height and Accessibility

If you have mobility issues, the ideal height of a bed depends on your height, strength, and mobility level. As a general guideline, a bed height of 20 to 23 inches from the floor is a good bet. 

A bed that is too low can make it hard for you to get in and out of, while a bed that is too high can cause you to fall. If your bed is too low, consider using bed risers to raise the height.

Make sure there is enough space around your bed for easy movement and accessibility. 

Mattress Firmness

Your mattress should be firm enough to provide proper support but not so firm that it is uncomfortable.

A mattress that is too soft can make it tough to get in and out of bed and increases your risk of falls. You also might not sleep well because it doesn't provide enough support to reduce body pain. 

Choose a firmer mattress to keep your spine aligned, but make sure it has foam layers on top to distribute weight evenly and relieve pain. There's such a thing as too much support. A mattress that's too hard often causes uncomfortable joint pressure points.

Your weight and sleeping position determines the level of firmness that suits you best. 

Bed Rails or Grab Bars

Getting in and out of bed is difficult when you have mobility issues. Bed rails or grab bars provide support and stability. Bed rails are attached to the bed frame or wall and should be sturdy enough to support your weight. 

Using a grab bar


A comfortable bed improves the quality of your sleep and your overall well-being. Beds come in a variety of materials that impact comfort and sleeping temperature. Try a bed before you buy it to see if it works for you.


If you have trouble with mobility, an adjustable bed might be the answer. You can raise or lower it, and if you choose a bed with a remote control, you can adjust the bed position without having to get up.

Adjustable Beds

An adjustable bed can improve seniors' sleep quality, comfort, and mobility. If you think an adjustable bed might be right for you, consider these factors when you choose a bed:

  • Size: Choose the size of an adjustable bed that fits your needs. A single bed is a good option if you sleep alone and have limited space in your bedroom.

  • Motor quality: Look for a high-quality bed motor to ensure smooth and quiet movement. A motor with a backup battery is helpful in case of power outages.

  • Adjustability: Consider the range of angles to which you can adjust the bed, such as the head and foot elevation, and the ease of adjusting the bed position.

    Adjustable bed with remote

  • Mattress compatibility: Choose a bed that is compatible with various mattresses, including memory foam, latex, and innerspring.

  • Safety features: The bed should have safety features such as a sturdy base, lockable wheels, and emergency lowering capability.

  • Ease of use: Ensure you can safely use the bed independently. Look for a remote control with simple buttons and a backlight for easy visibility in the dark.

  • Cost: Adjustable beds vary, so consider your budget when selecting a bed. Medicare doesn’t usually cover the cost of adjustable beds, but it may if your healthcare professional deems it medically necessary.

Improve Your Bedroom Safety Today

Create a haven in your bedroom to enjoy the rest you need. Following these tips, you can take the steps to a safer bedroom without much cost or effort.

Consider your room design, select easy-to-use aids like smart lights or a transfer pole, and choose a bed with the necessary safety features. Then put your feet up and enjoy your safe and cozy retreat.

Follow GoldYears for more ideas for your senior home.

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