What A Difference A Bed Makes
Waking up in the middle of the night and wandering through the house. Sliding off the bed in the morning because his feet were not in the right position. My mother had to call for a paramedic lift assist again for my father.
Nothing seemed like a perfect bed for my father who is 87 and needs assistance most of the time now that his Parkinson’s disease and dementia are advancing.
My parents have adjusted to having home care providers in their home. We have hired 3 part timers over the last year. The question came up on how to help my father at night time. It was scary to my brother and I to know that dad still had the ability to get up at night.
More care at nighttime
An empty beer bottle on his night stand was proof in the morning that my father had gotten up again. My mother didn’t realize that he had gotten up from the king size bed they shared.
How wonderful that he was still able to physically do this but also proof that something needed to be done to secure him at night time. Either a new bed or hire a night time watch to make sure if dad did get up, that he wouldn’t go out the door, or hurt himself.
What are the options?
The questions my brother and I pondered included finances – 24 hour care gets twice as expensive. What are our other options? Long term care facility? What is best for mom? Dad isn’t easy to take care of when he is being stubborn.
We considered hiring a night time care provider to check on Dad every few hours. This came with a higher price tag and not a 100 percent guarantee that he wouldn’t still get up and wander.
Finding help through home health care
Luckily, my father qualified for home health care since he was considered "home bound" so Medicare will pay for the visits.
In the Fall of 2021, he had his first visit with an agency nurse who assessed him for his basic needs and then she assigned for therapists to come. Physical therapy has been great to continue working my father’s muscles.
Adjustments to the home
Next, an occupational therapist recommended adjustments to the home that would best help my father with his daily activities, particularly to his current sleep situation.
The first option was to raise the height of my parents’ bed so that it was easier for Dad to firmly plant his feet on the floor before he got up to a standing position. This would have required a new bed frame and support.
A grab bar has been in place on Dad’s side of the bed for a long time. This has helped until now to assist him to get in and out of bed.
Hospital bed to the rescue
The occupational therapist offered the best solution to get a hospital bed which would be covered by Medicare. The hard part was convincing mom that yet another change would offer a benefit.
Two months later it’s been a Godsend.
Dad feels secure in his new bed. It fits in their master bedroom with adjustments to the dressers moved to one side of the room. Mom can sleep on dad’s former side of their bed to be closer to him. He doesn’t get up at night time with security of the railings.
Dad is patient enough to wait to have the care giver come in the morning. The head portion of the bed rises to assist him to slowly sit up in the morning. The railing helps dad maneuver safely out of bed to a standing position.
What a difference a new bed makes!
On average, how many times per month do you (or your caregiver) go to the pharmacy?
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