10 Key Points For Buying The Best Beds For Retirement and Resthomes
As New Zealanders get older, the type of bed and mattress they buy becomes even more important. So we spoke to Dunedin Bedpost owner Denise Preston for the low-down on what you need to know if you’re in search of a new bed for yourself or an elderly relative who’s either moving into a rest home or who wants a little more comfort in their own home. Here’s Denise’s guide to shopping for a bed and the most suitable types.
- Suss the beds out first before visiting your nearest Bedpost store
Usually the person buying the bed or relatives helping them will find out what’s out there. Often there may be mobility issues so you don’t want to parade around 20 bed shops looking for something suitable. It’s important to get the right advice because it will save you a lot of time – you can either phone a Bedpost store, message an expert via the website, or call into a store to narrow down the options. That means that when the elderly relative returns we can show them two or three things.
- Check out the height
Often older people find their mobility decreases a little so you have to make sure that the height of the bed is right for them. We can alter lots of things depending on the type of base and the type of legs but it’s quite critical that the bed and mattress aren’t too low because it’s got to be easy to get on and off.
- Make sure the edges are firm
We find a lot of older people have balance problems so you’ve got to make sure that they are able to sit comfortably on the edge of the bed while they’re getting in or out, while they’re gathering their thoughts or putting their slippers on. They have to be able to do all these things and be able to lift themselves off again. Some cheaper beds don’t have edge support – it’s one place they economise on – and you realise it straight away if you have a bed that sinks right away. You need to have something that supports their weight on the edge so they don’t feel like they’re balancing.
- It’s still important to “test-drive” your bed
Age doesn’t change the fact that a bed has to be right for each individual person. You still need to go into a Bedpost store and ask one of our experts to fit you to a suitable bed. They’ll take into consideration things like pressure points and whether you like it soft or firm, and you’ll be able to test a few options. Check out our online guide to how to make the most of “test-driving” your new bed. We understand that making a good decision can take time and every case is unique so we really listen to what you want and all your specific points before offering our advice.
- Size always matters
We sometimes hear from relatives that “Mum’s on her own so she’ll only need a single” or older people might think that they can save money by buying only one side of a bed. But we always suggest strongly that they should go for king singles or doubles. If someone’s moving from the marital queen or double, the trouble with going down to a single is that they fall out of them. In single beds you have to rotate on the spot and if you’re used to sleeping in a queen or a double, suddenly to go into something very narrow can really be a hazard. If you have room, go to at least a king single because then at least you can turn over without feeling like you’re going to fall out. Elderly parents who find themselves on their own do sometimes get cold in a queensize bed and a king single is also easier to make.
- Think about space
If you are moving into a resthome or changing your bedroom, make sure you properly measure up what size bed can fit. Some resthomes don’t have particularly big rooms and it may not always be easy to get beds in and out of rooms.
- Be practical
Some people have less and less sleep as get older so recliner beds can be a really good option to provide comfort while reading or listening to the radio. Equally, when looking at the different types of beds and how things like the frames are designed, you’ve got to be careful about any sharp edges and any footings on beds which people can walk into. As we get older, the skin becomes more fragile so it pays to consider even the smallest things.
- You don’t always have to downsize
Because we’re all living a lot longer these days, it doesn’t always pay to look for smaller beds – after all, just because someone’s on their own now doesn’t mean they’re going to be on their own in five years’ time. We’ve had occasions where people have come into the store wanting a king single because they’ve lost their partner and within 12 months they’re back in again looking to buy the same bed as a queensize.
- Look for the value in having a comfortable bed
Sometimes a major hurdle to get over is for people to see the importance of having a great bed later in life and spending money on something which really suits them. But a comfortable night’s sleep can make such a difference at all stages of life – and especially so as we grow older. Things like having a reclining bed are more expensive, but they really can add to quality of life. And because we’re living longer and longer, there’s nothing wrong in making an investment in your future health even as we get into old age.
- Go to an expert who really understands what you want
We understand that everyone’s situation is different – for example, often if people are going into a resthome, it has to be done relatively quickly because assessments are made and then something comes up and they’re suddenly into it. In these cases people often come in and want it sorted – we always have someone who has the knowledge at their fingertips to help you get the perfect bed and mattress for your situation.