Need a safe drink holder/table for a floor height bed for disabled woman
February 5, 2018 9:28 PM   Subscribe

A bed bound relative of mine has a bed which is lowered to the floor most of the time. She needs some way of holding her drinks and snacks which will be easy to reach and not spill over if she falls asleep. Help me find a solution for her!

An elderly relative of mine unfortunately had a stroke which has paralyzed the left half of her body, to where she lives in a nursing home. Because she has a tendency to roll around in her sleep, and sometimes off the bed, the nursing home has put her in a (single) bed which can be lowered all the way to the floor.

The problem is that she’s unable to have her drinks or snacks within arms reach while in bed. She doesn’t have the core strength to reach over to the floor to grab things. Previously she used to be in an elevated bed with side rails which prevented her from falling out (but her current nursing home now doesn’t allow those as they are viewed as constraints). With the normal height bed, she had a hospital style over bed table which we could place drinks, etc. on and which she could reach. I would really like to find something like this which would be suitable for the floor height bed.

Do they make over bed tables for floor height beds? Or is there some other solution to this problem? I thought maybe I could get her some sort of tray that would either sit on the bed or on her lap. But I’m not sure how we could stabilize the tray. She tends to nap a lot and unless the tray is somehow anchored down, she will probably cause it to tip over.

I can kind of imagine devices that would solve the problem, but can't find anything commercially available (and I'm not super handy so probably wouldn't be able to make something myself unless it's very simple).
posted by strekker to Health & Fitness (11 answers total)
Something like a caddy that could sit on the bed next to her and not spill easily. I went looking for Rubbermaid caddies and found this. I used a homemade version of something like that when I was stuck in bed for a while.
posted by Gotanda at 9:43 PM on February 5, 2018

Type plastic tumbler with lid and straw into Amazon. You will have so many responses that you will not know which to choose. Any cardboard box would work for a bedside caddy, or follow the advice above. Good luck, and bless you for caring for your relative.
posted by Cranberry at 11:15 PM on February 5, 2018

Something like a rectangular bridge built right over the bed? With legs on both sides.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 11:15 PM on February 5, 2018

Is her bed actually lowered all the way to the floor? I can't see how an elderly person would be able to get out of a bed from on the ground (I can't do it easily and I'm not quite 50).

There are over the bed tables that are 19" high. Before you buy anything, I would measure her bed - both at it's lowest height and the height it can be raised to. Additionally, I would talk to the nursing home manager. They may already have something like this in their inventory, or be able to order this for her - they are being paid a not insignificant amount of money for her to be there. It is something that is required for ADLs (Activities of Daily Living), especially as a stroke patient.
posted by dancinglamb at 11:16 PM on February 5, 2018

You can get hands free drink holders - they're marketed mostly at cold drinks (beer, wine) but I'm sure they could hold lidded hot drink cups and pots of snacks.

But for all sorts of reasons, I think a lowered table is the way to go.
posted by humph at 1:18 AM on February 6, 2018

I have a "laptop table" which is somewhat similar to the hospital style over-bed tables I've seen, but doesn't really extend high enough to work with a normal-height bed, yet might work with a lower bed. The main table part tilts to accommodate a laptop in use but could be fixed level. It's on rolling lockable casters and looks like this but shorter and more heavy-duty; I think I got it on clearance at a Staples office supply store years ago.
posted by XMLicious at 2:43 AM on February 6, 2018

There's this height- and-width adjustable table that's designed to fit fully across beds. It's adjustable in height from 21.6 inches to 33 inches tall.

There's also this height-adjustable laptop cart.
Its lowest height is 26 inches. I use this as an adjustable bed/sofa table for my elderly mom. It has a slide-out tray with a depression for a cup or mug, but you'd probably be better off to attach a clamp-on cupholder such as this.
posted by Lunaloon at 5:17 AM on February 6, 2018

We have something like this on my child's bed for his water and alarm clock. We got ours at Target.
posted by emkelley at 8:28 AM on February 6, 2018

This is meant to sit on the passenger seat of a car, and you could add a weighted cup holder to it if those soft pockets are too hard to manage for a cup/bottle. There is also the Cupsy, probably with the legs removed.

See also: Cup Cozy or Bed Buddy.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:01 AM on February 6, 2018

I would use a bed tray that hugs your lap making it much harder to tip over, like this.
posted by marsha56 at 9:18 AM on February 6, 2018

Thanks all for all the great ideas. They really have given me a lot of inspiration. I’m thinking that something like the Cup Cozy Pillow might work. If she can fit it besides her on the bed, it would probably be stable enough. We would also get a cup with a spout that you have to really suck at before the liquid comes out to avoid spills.

I also like the over bed tables suggested. My only concern is that the nursing home might say that they're a hazard (she has rolled off the bed before and hit her head on a nearby chair, so now they’re trying to avoid hard objects near her bed). The over bed table obviously is nowhere near her head, so should be safe. Nonetheless, a cup holding pillow would be an easier sell to them (they can't complain about a pillow).
posted by strekker at 5:33 AM on February 7, 2018

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