How to choose the best beds and chairs for older people

As we age, it can be harder to move around at home, whether that means more difficulty getting in and out of chairs, or whether you struggle to get in and out of bed, or even turn at night. We’ve reviewed some of the best products and companies in the UK to help you move and sleep more easily.

What to look for when choosing a bed for older people

  • You should try to find a bed offering firm support to align your spine correctly, but also well padded with layers so that the sleeping surface is comfortable
  • Do not automatically assume that an orthopaedic bed will suit you best, as they can be too hard. You must bear in mind that older people have sensitive joints, which can be uncomfortable on too hard a sleeping surface.
  • Make sure the bed is not too low, or that you can adjust it, so that it is easier to get in and out of it
  • If the base is firm, you can use a quilted mattress protector to soften it
  • If you have mobility problems, joint stiffness, arthritis or high blood pressure, a bed with adjustable neck, foot, head and leg rests are the better option
  • If turning the mattress will be an issue, choose a foam mattress, as they do not need turning
  • If you are disturbing your partner at night, choose a bigger bed
  • Zipped and linked beds, which have separate mattresses and bases, means two people can choose differing firmnesses of bed and they are much easier to handle and get in and out of the house, as well as making it easier to turn the mattresses
  • Fresh Start offer an excellent range of beds, but more importantly, they offer you a free assessment for your individual needs and a no obligation home trial on electric beds. They have beds of differing heights, to enable you to choose the best height for you or an older relative and have a choice of head and foot lifts, as well as knee and neck breaks. In addition, they will dispose of your own bed.
  • Laybrook have a virtual assistant to help you make your choices online and their mattresses come in differing weights, depending on how hard or soft you like your bed. They offer adjustable beds, TV beds, care home beds and reclining chairs. Plus they offer a free mattress exchange and a 7 day money back guarantee
  • If you are looking for a comprehensive choice of mattresses, try Mattress Online

Choosing the right bedding

People spend a great deal of time choosing the right bed, but not necessary thinking about how bedding can help older people to move and sleep more easily. Easymove Sheets offer sheets made from a satin weave with 60% less friction than cotton sheets, which allows people to turn and move more easily in bed. They also sell a great range of travel sheets to fit all beds.

You might also want to consider waterproof sheets. Hippychick offer a fabulous range of gorgeous waterproof sheets, which are comfortable to sleep on.

How to buy the right reclining chair to aid mobility

If your older relative is finding it difficult to get in and out of chairs, or to sit comfortably, a reclining chair is a good option.


When choosing a chair, consider the following issues:

  • height of the person
  • body shape and posture issues
  • range of mobility
  • higher seats make it easier to get in and out of the chair, but make sure it’s not too high, as this pressurises the back of the thighs.
  • seat depth must be enough to support the full length of the thighs. Make sure it’s not too deep, however, or the person sitting in it will have to lean back. You can shorten the seat by placing a cushion behind your older relative’s back
  • Armrests should allow you to rest your arms without raising or dropping your shoulders
  • Chairs can be manual or electric
  • Cavendish Furniture have a comprehensive range of chairs and other great mobility products to choose from.

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