This week I used my woodworking skills to lower my mother-in-law’s bed. The bed was the latest in interior design when she bought it, a colonial with a high mattress. Since I am usually not around when she goes to bed at night, I was unaware that she was having difficulty getting into and out of bed. However, one afternoon last week while we were preparing dinner my mother-in-law decided she would lie down and take a cat nap. It was then that I saw her back up to her bed, put her hands on the mattress and hop up to get into it. Next she pushed with her arms and slid herself back to her pillows and took a nap. Getting out of bed was another challenge. She inched herself over to the edge of the bed threw her legs over the side and slid out of the bed until her feet hit the floor. After witnessing her efforts, I asked if it was troublesome for her to get into and out of bed. Her answer was yes. She hadn’t mentioned it to me because she thought there was nothing we could do about it. This incident underscored the fact that although I believed I knew all the issues that confronted my mother-in-law, I didn’t. But more troubling to me was her mind set that she should adapt to her problem rather than change the cause of it. One of the lessons I’ve learned as a caregiver is that you constantly have to observe and assess the individual in your care. If I hadn’t seen the difficulty my mother-in-law had getting into and out of bed I would have never been aware of it. She accepted her discomfort instead of seeking assistance. Now that her bed is lowered, her life has become easier. She said she feels much safer getting out of bed in the middle of the night and getting into bed requires much less effort.
-By Hello! Home Care contributing writer, Bill Mishico