How to care for elderly bedridden adults

Updated April 17, 2017

Elderly patients sometimes become bedridden as they age due to lack of mobility, pain or illness. If you are caring for a person who is bedridden, it is important to keep the individual comfortable, clean and stabilised. Socialising, trying to connect the person with family and friends, and a positive outlook when speaking to the bedridden patient is also encouraged so the individual can keep his spirits up and focus on feeling better.

Check the bed's sheets and blankets and feel for wet spots or soiled spots. If the bed is dirty, you can change the bed with the patient still in it. Roll up the left side of the bed clothing under the individual's back and then place the new bedding under the dirty bedding. Roll the senior over the dirty linen and onto the clean linen, and then remove the bedding completely by taking it off on the right side of the bed.

Pull the clean bedding over to the right and make the bed as you normally would around the elderly patient. Position the elderly person so he is back in the middle of the bed, and place the blanket over him.

Reposition the older adult carefully in bed every two to three hours to avoid bedsores on his body. Bedsores can occur when someone is sitting, laying or staying in one spot for too long a period of time. Adjust the elderly person so he is laying on the left side, right side and on his back several times throughout the day. Place extra pillows and blankets around his body for extra support.

Wash the bedridden elderly person in his bed when necessary by having a bucket of warm, soapy water, face cloths and towels at the bedside. Place the face cloth in the water and undress the individual. Use the facecloth to wash the elderly person's body and have the person assist you if he can. Dry him off and dress him in clean clothing. Brush his hair and teeth when he is done with the bath.

Bring meals to the bedroom on a tray. The meals should be nutritious and individualised to the person's needs. Cut or grind the food as needed, and offer to help feed him if necessary. Offer plenty of fluids throughout the day so the elderly patient can keep hydrated.

Offer as much entertainment as possible to keep the individual engaged. Television, books, crafts, games and company all help to keep the elderly person's mind engaged. If a person is bedridden, he can get lonely, depressed and bored when he does not interact with others on a regular basis.


Speak with doctors and nurses if the medical conditions change or if you have questions regarding care. The doctors can advise you on the best approach. Request hospice care providers if the individual is dying. The hospice nurses can help to make the person comfortable in their own home.

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About the Author

Angela Reinholz is a full-time freelance writer. Reinholz started writing professionally in 2007, specializing in animals and social work with some branching off into legal matters. She has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Southern New Hampshire University and an associate degree in network administration from McIntosh College, located in Dover, N.H.