Adjustable Beds for Seniors

Are they right for you?

Posted by The Senior Advocate on Sept. 11, 2019

The average individual spends a third of their lives sleeping, and ample rest is essential to help many of the body's natural healing and restoration processes. This makes getting enough sleep especially important as we get older, which means that one should be as comfortable as possible in his bed. For this reason, adjustable beds have been gaining popularity among people of all ages, but particularly in the middle of the elderly population. Here are some additional benefits of these modern beds and important aspects that should be considered, such as choosing the right frame, mattress, accessories and average costs.


Adjustable beds are essentially the same as seen in hospitals and clinical settings. Depending on the model chosen, they can allow certain areas such as the head, feet, knees and even the center of the mattress and the frame to rise and fall to allow users to sit comfortably in the bed. They are ideal for people who enjoy sitting in bed to read, watch TV or eat, and are especially useful for older people in bed. However, at night, they can be adjusted to help you sleep better while obtaining a number of possible side benefits that include:

Relief of back and body aches, including those related to fibromyalgia and restless legs syndrome.

Improves digestion while reducing acid reflux and heartburn.

  • Relief from snoring, asthma and sleep apnea.
  • Improves circulation and relieves swelling throughout the body.
  • Relief of symptoms of arthritis and other degenerative conditions.
  • Facilitating the transition in and out of bed for those with mobility problems.

In general, older people can enjoy greater independence and feel better after a night's rest by choosing the adjustable bed suitable for their needs and lifestyle.


One of the most essential considerations when choosing an adjustable bed is to pick the right size for your comfort needs. Adjustable bedding systems are essentially sized the same as traditional beds.

  • Twin:  38” x 75” — Twin beds are often ideal for seniors who sleep singularly.
  • Twin XL:  38” x 80” — The XL twin is recommended for taller individuals.
  • Full:  53” x 75” — Full size is recommended for those who prefer more width than a twin or are considering adding safety rails.
  • Queen:  60” x 80″ — A comfortable size for sharing with a partner.
  • King or Split-King:  76” x 80” — Ideal for those needing more space. Split/Dual-Kings are perfect for couples with different medical concerns and sleep comfort levels concerning mattresses, as they are two separate twins that adjust individually.
  • California King:  72” x 84″ — These are designed for taller individuals or those seeking more legroom.

With a size in mind, there are several additional details to consider prior to beginning shopping.

Things to Know Before You Go

First of all, it is important to note that adjustable beds may not be suitable for everyone, especially those sleeping on your stomach or side, because the elevation of the feet and upper body is not conducive to these positions. Here are other essential details to explore about adjustable beds before going shopping.

Explore Your Options

Familiarize yourself with the adjustable beds and the different options and amenities offered by each model and brand. Understand that these beds at least have a base or frame and a specialized mattress that must be compatible and complementary to the frame. A traditional mattress will probably not work with an adjustable base.

Determine Mattress Support Levels

Comfort is important, but it is also important to choose a soft mattress or soft enough to meet your sleep goals and relieve your pain. While some companies have designed innerspring / coil mattresses that will work with certain adjustable bed bases, most buyers invest in materials such as foam, latex or air-style mattresses. To ensure the mattress adjusts properly, most of them have a depth of 12 inches or less.

Calculate a Budget

Adjustable frames and mattresses vary greatly in the price range, with low-end models that generally start around $ 500 for a base and mattress combination in two sizes. Prices for adjustable queen and king size beds generally start at around $ 1000 and reach $ 7,000 for the best quality and brands. Do not forget to take into account the cost of a headboard and footboard if you wish and the cost of special sheets designed to remain attached to the adjustable beds. The total cost will depend on the quality level of the mattress, the characteristics of the adjustable bed frame and the type of mattress chosen.

Desired Features

How much do you want your bed to do for you? There are a variety of specialized features present in many of the highest quality and highest priced adjustable frame models, such as:

  • Remote Controls
  • Heat or Vibrating Settings
  • Smart Settings
  • Zero-Gravity Technology
  • USB Charging Ports
  • Wireless Capabilities

Common Types of Adjustable Mattresses

Due to its comfort and ability to contour the body, viscoelastic foam, latex foam and air mattresses are very popular in traditional beds. Thanks to their flexibility, they are the most common types used in adjustable frames today.

Memory Foam

Made with viscoelastic polyurethane, viscoelastic foam mattresses respond to pressure and body heat, allowing you to mold yourself to the body shape when in use and return to "normal" when pressure is removed. While they are incredibly comfortable, foam mattresses tend to retain heat, which can make them uncomfortable in summer or in warmer climates.

Latex Foam

A combination of air and latex, it is important to pay attention to the type of latex used in case of possible sensitivities. Some latex mix while others are 100% synthetic or natural. However, for most older people, latex is a durable and reliable option because of its firmness, but also because of its contouring abilities, as well as being resistant to microbes.

Air Mattresses

This option features foam compartments that are filled with air and a type of foam trim, which is usually a memory foam in high-end options, such as Sleep Number. Air mattresses allow users to adjust firmness at the touch of a button, and with dual options each side can be changed individually.

Top Rated Brands

Amerisleep receives praise from magazine publishers and verified users alike. While they only offer an adjustable base style in various sizes, their mattress selection includes an impressive variety of features such as dual-body massage capabilities, pillow tilt articulation and a one-touch capacitive remote control. Leggett and Platt's Sleep Comfort seems to work well under scrutiny of reviews. However, they do not publish their prices publicly, so it is difficult to decide on good deals. Tempurpedic Tempur-Ergo adjustable frame and bed series is popular due to its 25-year warranty and its extensive features of smart technology and reliability. However, they are priced quite high compared to other brands with similar options, with the exception of even more expensive companies such as Craftmatic and Golden Rest. Another highly reviewed adjustable bed company is Sleep Number. With a remarkable FlexFit ™ Adjustable Base available in five sizes and a 25-year warranty, many buyers find that these beds are worth the highest cost.

Average Costs

In addition to the cost of the mattress and the adjustable bed frame, the headboards and feet and bed sheets must be taken into account.

Headboards and Footboards

All adjustable beds require some type of frame for each end to function properly independently of each other. The good news is that almost any type of headboard and bedside can be connected to these frames, so no additional expense is required if you currently have a compatible set.

Safety Bed Rails

The bed rails provide an additional safety barrier between an older adult and the edge of the bed to help prevent them from falling out of bed, in addition to serving as support handles when getting on and off the mattress. Due to the movement of the adjustable frames, most bed rails are approximately 1/4 or 1/3 of the length of the bed itself, with an average cost of $ 100- $ 350 per rail, depending on the mobility characteristics

Sheets for Adjustable Beds

It is important to have tightly fitted sheets with elastic around the perimeter and back straps that hold the sheet together when it is raised. While there are separate straps that can be trimmed in standard sheets, it is worth investing in specialized sheets. Quality is also important, and this, of course, will affect the overall price of sheet sets. On average, sheet sets for adjustable runs cost between $ 100 and $ 400, and high-end games are often designed for split king beds.

As a Senior, Would Medicare Pay for My Bed?

Essentially, Medicare is not a viable payment option for those interested in buying an adjustable bed. However, Medicare Part B considers them durable medical equipment, so they can cover the cost of a limited rental of a two-bed semi-electric hospital bed if a doctor considers it necessary. Medicare will not consider fully electric or adjustable beds as necessary medical costs. However, certain types of private insurance can help some seniors with the purchase, and adjustable beds can also be tax deductible when medically necessary.

Other Considerations

Hopefully, buyers will have the opportunity to buy their adjustable bed in person, but many companies simply take photos and partial samples during home consultations and some are exclusively online businesses. Regardless of the purchase method, here are some last-minute questions to ask before agreeing to buy an adjustable bed.

  • How long is the warranty of the base (motors, gears, etc.), electrical systems and the adjustable mattress?
  • How are repairs handled? At home, through retailers or by mail? Is there any hidden cost during the warranty period?
  • Is the delivery of the new bed and the removal of the old one included? Is disassembly and assembly included?
  • What is the return policy and is there a trial period in which there is no penalty or restocking fee for returns?
  • Armed with this knowledge, older people and their loved ones should have a solid start in choosing the ideal adjustable bed to sleep better and improve overall health.

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