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How to Care for the Elderly at Night

Updated April 17, 2017

Elderly people who live in their own homes often need assistance with several aspects of daily life. Precautions should be taken to keep them safe during the night, as it is common for accidents to happen in the dark. Your elderly relative will feel more comfortable knowing that steps have been taken to make nights safer for her, and you will have the peace of mind that you have considered the possible risks and dealt with them appropriately.

Prevent injuries from nighttime falls by placing lamp or light switches within easy reach of the bed. This will stop your elderly relative from stumbling around her room in the dark. Position night lights along the route to the bathroom. Take care not to create any tripping hazards with too many electrical cords.

Keep your elderly relative warm at night with additional blankets, an electric blanket, heater or radiator. It is crucial to take precautions to stop these from becoming hazardous, however. Position heaters, hotplates and radiators safely well away from the bed. Never place anything on top of an electric blanket or tuck it in. Set it on a timer so that the temperature of the blanket drops after your loved one falls asleep.

Install a phone within easy reach of the bed so that your elderly relative can contact someone for help. Preprogram the phone with useful numbers, including emergency contact numbers. Make sure the volume settings are adjusted so that the user will hear the phone when it rings and hear the other person's voice. Special phones are available for those with sight or hearing difficulties.

Attach a disposable bed sensor if your senior is in the habit of sleepwalking. This is a pad that fits across the mattress and triggers an alarm when the person gets out of bed that will wake her up and stop her from wandering around in a disoriented state.

Attach an adjustable bed rail if you are worried about your senior falling out of bed during the night. This item has a dual purpose; it can also be used as a secure support for getting in and out of bed.

Encourage your loved one to wear slipper socks to bed; their slip-resistant tread provides additional grip on slippery surfaces such as bathroom floors and reduces the risk of injury from loss of balance.

Provide incontinence pads for your loved one to wear during the night if she is finding it increasingly difficult to control her bladder. This is a common side effect of getting older and incontinence pads give the person the reassurance that if an accident does happen, she will not be wetting the bed.

Things You'll Need

  • Night lights
  • Blankets
  • Heater or radiator
  • Electric blanket (optional)
  • Telephone
  • Disposable bed sensor
  • Adjustable bed rail
  • Slipper socks
  • Incontinence pads
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About the Author

C. Giles is a writer with an MA (Hons) in English literature and a post-graduate diploma in law. Her work has been published in several publications, both online and offline, including "The Herald," "The Big Issue" and "Daily Record."