Here’s a list of 7 fixes to make a bedroom more accessible and functional. Read some of the things I’ve done.
1. A Bed Fit for Goldilocks (“Just right”)
PROBLEM: Too-high bed or too-soft or too-hard mattress
SOLUTION: The right bed frame, mattress and memory foam
The obvious focus of a bedroom is the bed. But without a bed that is the right height and firmness, nothing will go as it should. To get my bed the proper height for easy transfers, I ordered an extra low bed frame with a height of about 8 inches. The frame, box springs and mattress sit at about 23 inches. I have a regular firm mattress that provides stability for transfers and dressing, but a 2-inch memory foam mattress topper to prevent skin breakdown. It’s a perfect combination for me. Everyone is different, so figure out what works for you.
2. So Much Stuff
PROBLEM: Organizing all the “stuff” on or near my bed
SOLUTION: Organization bins
Wet wipes, mirror, lotion, TV remote, finger nail file, books, journal, pen. You name it and it needs to be within reach when I’m in bed. And once I’m in bed, I’m not getting out. (The rare tornado warning is an exception.) I have two cloth-covered organization bins that sit on the corner of my mattress. These hold everything mentioned above. On my nightstand, I have a Sterilite mini 3-drawer organizer that holds any meds I might need during the night, ointments for skin breakdown and a thermometer. I can’t promise these areas stay organized, but it is at least an attempt.
PROBLEM: Turning off the lights
SOLUTION: Dimmer switch
Call me old fashioned. Yes, I could probably use Amazon’s Alexa or other “smart” devices to turn my lights on or off, but Alexa wasn’t around 20 years ago, so this is my go-to solution. A dimmer switch is Velcro-ed to my nightstand where I can easily reach it. The end of this switch plugs into my floor lamp. It’s a simple (and low-tech) solution to a real problem.
(UPDATE: I now use the Amazon Echo Dot and love it! I use these smart wall plugs to control my lights with my voice. Plus “Miss A” provides a bit of extra security: if I were to fall, I can call for help hands-free.)
4. A Full Bladder
PROBLEM: Middle of the night bathroom “runs”
SOLUTION: Free wash basin from the hospital
I enjoy getting into bed and reading for at least a half hour before going to bed. It’s relaxing after a busy day, but it also takes pressure off my tush and my back and allows my hip flexors to stretch out. But once my feet are elevated, all the fluid in my swollen feet eventually comes out. I keep a bath basin (standard with any hospital stay) with several Touchless® Plus closed-system catheters next to my bed. I can “take care of business,” set the full catheter bags in the bin, and empty them when I get up in the morning.
5. So Much Stuff, Part 2
PROBLEM: Lack of storage
SOLUTION: Under-the-bed storage
Getting a month’s worth of catheters at a time creates a storage dilemma. Thankfully, with rolling under-the-bed storage options, I put that unused space to good use (other than collecting dust bunnies). Two of these organizers easily fit under my full size bed.
PROBLEM: Drinking water while in bed
Years ago I read about another person with a spinal cord injury using a CamelBak 3 Liter Reservoir at his bedside as an easy – and no-spill – option for drinking water while in bed. I’ve never turned back. I place a full bag in the top drawer of my nightstand and refill every few days as needed.
PROBLEM: Too-short cord for charging cell phones
SOLUTION: 10-foot (3 meter) charging cord
10 feet? Yes. After all, outlets aren’t always perfectly placed for charging phones overnight. This 10-foot AmazonBasics Lightning to USB Cable works perfectly.
Final Words of Wisdom
One other thing I’ve learned that is important in a bedroom: choose comforting colors and décor that you can tolerate for long periods of time. I’ve had several run-ins with skin breakdown. This calls for a lot of time in bed. My sunny yellow walls are uplifting when my I’m frustrated by down time. The 19th Century Victorian sconces with remote control candles and antique headboard make my room a place I can tolerate staying in for extended periods. (And as a shout out to my mom, isn’t the quilt she made absolutely beautiful?)
What other “fixes” have you come up with? Please share your ideas.
The links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.