Home Uncategorized Adjustable Beds for Seniors – A Buyer’s Guide

Adjustable Beds for Seniors – A Buyer’s Guide

by Zac Martin
adjustable bed in the bedroom

Human beings spend a lot of time in their beds, but as we age, health conditions can make it so that sleeping is more difficult. It’s causes such as these that can lead one to begin the hunt for a new bed, with many turning towards an adjustable beds or even hospital beds.

Adjustable Beds vs Hospital Beds – What’s the Difference?

Adjustable beds and hospital beds are often similar in functionality but one is made for the home and the other is made for an institution. Adjustable beds looks different. If you want something that looks like normal furniture, doesn’t smack of a hospital, and is aesthetically pleasing, then an adjustable bed is what you want.

Hospital beds, however, are stronger and easier to clean. Considering that many people who need some form of adjustable bed may also struggle with incontinence, this is a variable to consider – especially if there is a history of accidents there. (The right sheets can help.)

The size of the two types of beds is also different. A hospital bed is virtually always built to accommodate one person and no more. An adjustable bed can be found in any size one desires, and still permits couples to sleep in the same bed.

hospital bed
The ubiquitous hospital bed.

The next difference would be that a hospital bed virtually always has permanently attached bed rails. Whether this is desirable or not will depend on the situation, but that may be a worthwhile factor to consider. (Note: bed rails can prove dangerous, but there are safer alternatives.)

Lastly, an adjustable bed often has a much larger number of features than a hospital bed. Hospital beds tend to be pretty spartan with what they have to offer feature-wise. In contrast, an adjustable bed can often be found with outlets, a foot massager, an alarm clock, and other features as well.

Health Benefits of Adjustable Beds

If we’re talking about an adjustable bed, don’t be surprised that there are a number of positive benefits to one’s adjustable bed.

Helps with Back Pain

For many people with chronic back pain, being able to elevate either the knees or the upper body can help to provide a great deal of relief. This can happen by pressure being alleviated from the spine by either of these two adjustments. This is the reason that so many lower back pain sufferers sleep with a pillow under their knees.

back pain

Helps Getting Out of Bed

If somebody wants to retain their independence, they have to be able to move about their house of their own accord. Lack of core strength, joint limitations, or pain can make it so that one has a difficult time with getting out of bed in the morning. If this is the case, the sleeper may end up being unable to get out of bed completely, or only able to do so at an increased risk of pain or injury (e.g., falls).

Bed stools are an option, but so is an adjustable bed can make it much easier to get out of bed by raising the upper body up, making it so that much less core strength is required to get up to a standing position.

Helps Alleviate Snoring

Something as simple as snoring can easily prove to be a prominent thorn in a marriage. If your spouse isn’t sleeping well, they are going to let you know about it, in addition to being more irritable than usual. This is where an adjustable bed can help.

In one scientific study, 67% of participants saw their incidence of snoring decrease when they used an adjustable bed.

This can make for a much happier sleeper, and a much happier relationship in the long run.

Alleviates Heartburn

Heartburn can easily keep one from getting a good night’s sleep, and laying down flat, especially after having eaten a large meal, can make it so that heartburn is only aggravated. An adjustable bed can help someone with heartburn sleep better in the same way they can help someone with a stomach ulcer.

If the sphincter at the top of the stomach isn’t sealing off the stomach correctly, allowing acid to escape the stomach and burn the esophagus, it makes logical sense that raising the upper body will help. It’s the same as taking a water bottle that’s open and laying on its side and tilting it up. Gravity prevents the water from escaping.

That’s the same principle that’s playing out with an adjustable bed when the body is inclined from the waist up.

Alleviates Sleep Apnea

When you sleep with your upper body inclined there is less pressure against the airway, and it is “opened up” more. An adjustable bed is most certainly not a cure-all here, but it can potentially help to alleviate the problem if obstruction of the airway is one of the causes that somebody is stopping to breathe in the middle of the night.

Alleviates Neck Pain and Headaches

Many people with chronic neck pain – whether due to spinal kyphosis, arthritis, or whatever – seek to alleviate their symptoms by putting a few pillows under their head/neck. This can lead to the neck being craned forward to a very unhealthy degree.

The result can be the sleeper waking up with aggravated neck pain or headaches caused by the positioning of the neck over the course of the night.

bed with tilt adjustment

An adjustable bed can alleviate this by making it so that the need for pillows is redundant. By inclining the upper body upwards, less pillows are typically used, and a healthier spine position through the neck can be the result. The sleeper can then wake up with less neck pain and without the throbbing headaches that often accompany sleeping with the neck craned forward.

What to Look for When Shopping

Aside from the price, the main thing one is going to want to consider when shopping for an adjustable bed is whether the design is a split bed or not. For a couple that shares the same bed, this is must. Otherwise, if the husband needs to have the mattress raised to eliminate his snoring, the wife is going to be sleeping with the mattress raised as well.

Sven & Son Classic Plus (with Head-Tilt) Adjustable Bed Base-Frame + 10 inch Memory Foam Matt (Firm), Head and Foot Lift, Massage, Under-Bed Lights, USB, Memory, Zero Gravity - Split King
  • Unmatched Comfort & Adjustability: Elevate your sleeping experience with our head (up to 75°) and foot (up to 45°) lift mechanism, allowing for perfect positioning. The additional head (pillow) tilting feature provides personalized comfort. By adjusting your sleeping position to the ideal angle, you can benefit from clearer airways, decreased congestion, lessened snoring, and better spinal alignment to ease back pain.
  • Innovative Ergonomic Remote: Dive into a realm of relaxation with settings such as Zero Gravity for weightlessness and Anti-Snore for unobstructed breathing. The remote boasts memory positions to save your favorite settings, under-bed lighting for soft illumination, and head tilting for precision adjustments.

A split bed design allows each sleeper to choose how they would like the bed to be adjusted. One person can then sleep completely flat, while the other has their legs raised up to help eliminate lower leg swelling.

The next thing to consider is the weight limit of the bed. Many people choose an adjustable bed because they have a difficult time getting out of bed of their own accord due to weight issues. If this is the case, then a bariatric-grade adjustable bed is going to be a much better choice. Obviously, a 600+ pound man on a bed rated for 300 pounds is not safe.

The last factor that is likely going to want to be considered is whether you’re choosing a manual adjusting bed or an electrical adjustment bed. If you’ve found a bed online that has a price that seems too good to be true, check to see if it adjusts with a hand crank. Virtually 100% of the time, if somebody needs an adjustable bed to sleep without pain (or to sleep at all) they are going to need a version with a remote adjuster.

LUCID L300 Adjustable Bed Frame - Head and Foot Incline - USB - Wireless Remote - Easy 2 Person Assembly - Quiet Motor - Relax - TV - Working - Reading - Ergonomic - Electric Bed Base - Queen Size
  • EASY TWO-PERSON ASSEMBLY: It doesn’t take a professional pit crew to assemble the L300 in record time. Thanks to a simple assembly process, you can go from box to bed in 5 minutes or less with just the help of a partner
  • RELAX AND RECOVER: After a long day, there is no place better than your bed. Easily sit up to read, watch TV, continue working, or recover in your own way, then when it’s time for bed lay down with the push of a button and sleep comfortably all night long

This is due to physical limitations that make it so that the bed user likely can’t crank the bed to the adjustment that they need. In the cases where individuals are physically capable of hand cranking a bed to the adjustment they need, choosing an electric model gives one greater convenience.

If one wakes up in the middle of the night needing to adjust the angle of the head of the bed, a remote makes it so that one doesn’t have to get out of bed, adjust the crank, and then get back in the bed hoping that the settings are correct. There’s a lot less work when all you have to do is push a button.

Adjustable Base Option

A spin that some retailers offer on a full adjustable bed is what they call an adjustable bed base. These are, in effect, the same as an adjustable bed only they can be purchased without the mattress itself (though most adjustable bed base sellers offer those as well).

Depending on your mattress, it’s plausible that this option could save some money if only the base needs to be purchased. For the internet/smart phone savvy senior, some models also come bluetooth enabled so adjustments can be made from a cellphone or tablet.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are several questions that tend to rise to the surface anytime that the topic of adjustable beds is broached. Let’s look at some of the most common ones in turn.

Are Adjustable Beds Good for Seniors?

While they’re not essential for everybody over the age of 65, there is no doubt that an adjustable bed is good for the senior that needs help sleeping at night due to a wide range of health conditions, or who needs a bed that is easier to get out of in the morning compared to a regular mattress.

What is the Best Mattress for Seniors?

If you don’t need an adjustable bed just a better night’s sleep it’s possible that an upgrade to your mattress will do the trick. Which is best? It’s just about impossible to nail this question down. There are so many different types of mattresses out there, everybody has their own sleep position, and people have various health conditions.

The best we can do here to answer this question is to recommend checking out Casper mattresses. They’re highly recommended, they’ve been around for quite some time, and many of them work just fine with adjustable beds.

Casper Sleep Original Foam, Queen Size Memory Foam Mattress - Medium Firm Bed in a Box with AirScape Cooling + Zoned Support - 100-Night Trial - 10 Year Warranty - CertiPUR-US Mattress, Light Grey
  • Set Up: Simply take your mattress out of the box and enjoy watching it decompress. Jumping, walking, and sleeping on your mattress can speed up the process.

Does Insurance Cover the Cost of an Adjustable Bed?

Most insurance plans out there do not cover any type of adjustable bed.

Does Medicare Cover the Cost of an Adjustable Bed?

Medicare (parts A and B) will cover an adjustable bed as durable medical equipment, but conditions have to be met first.

First, a Medicare-participating doctor must decide that the bed is medically necessary for the patient. The patient then receives a prescription and can go out and buy a bed. In other words – talk to your doctor.

The bed must be hospital-grade and the purchaser needs to ensure that the adjustable bed they are choosing falls into this categorization or else they are going to end up paying for the entire bed out of pocket.

If the bed is qualified to be covered by Medicare, it will be considered Durable Medical Equipment (DME). Medicare will then cover 80% of the cost of the bed, and the patient must then cover the remaining 20%.


A bed that can be inclined up or down can be a great boon to the senior who needs some assistance with sleeping at night due to any number of reasons. Choosing whether to choose a hospital bed or an adjustable bed is largely going to come down to two main reasons: price and the need for cleanliness.

If in the market for one of these two options, we hope that you’ve found the above advice to prove beneficial. These are viable options for several conditions and are worth your looking into more.

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