Adjustable Beds for Seniors

Adjustable beds are specialized beds that let you customize your sleep position to alleviate certain health conditions and improve comfort. Research your options before buying to ensure the bed is durable, has good reviews and has the features that fit your health needs and budget.

Robin Schlitz, RetireGuide Reviewer
  • Written by
    Robin Schiltz, C.D.S.

    Robin Schiltz, C.D.S.

    Senior Safety Expert

    Robin Schiltz is a certified Senior Home Safety Specialist and a certified CARES® Dementia Specialist™. In addition, Robin is the co-owner of Senior Safety Advice, an online platform that provides well-researched information and solutions for caregivers and seniors. Robin is an experienced writer in the financial and senior care industries.

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  • Edited By
    Lamia Chowdhury
    Lamia Chowdhury, editor for RetireGuide.com

    Lamia Chowdhury

    Financial Editor

    Lamia Chowdhury is a financial content editor for RetireGuide and has over three years of marketing experience in the finance industry. She has written copy for both digital and print pieces ranging from blogs, radio scripts and search ads to billboards, brochures, mailers and more.

    Read More
  • Reviewed By
    Esther Kane, C.D.S.
    Esther Kane, RetireGuide Reviewer

    Esther Kane, C.D.S.

    Senior Safety Expert

    Esther Kane is a senior safety expert and certified Senior Home Safety Specialist. As a retired occupational therapist and certified CARES® Dementia Specialist™, Esther works as a consultant and educator for seniors and their caregivers. She is also the co-owner of Senior Safety Advice.

    Read More
  • Published: July 12, 2022
  • Updated: October 20, 2023
  • 6 min read time
  • This page features 7 Cited Research Articles
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How to Cite RetireGuide.com's Article

APA Schiltz, R. (2023, October 20). Adjustable Beds for Seniors. RetireGuide.com. Retrieved May 17, 2024, from https://www.retireguide.com/retirement-life-leisure/senior-safety/home-safety/adjustable-beds/

MLA Schiltz, Robin. "Adjustable Beds for Seniors." RetireGuide.com, 20 Oct 2023, https://www.retireguide.com/retirement-life-leisure/senior-safety/home-safety/adjustable-beds/.

Chicago Schiltz, Robin. "Adjustable Beds for Seniors." RetireGuide.com. Last modified October 20, 2023. https://www.retireguide.com/retirement-life-leisure/senior-safety/home-safety/adjustable-beds/.

Key Takeaways
  • Adjustable beds can be a great way to improve your sleep quality and comfort.
  • They can be especially helpful for people with health conditions such as arthritis, respiratory conditions, sleep apnea and chronic back pain.
  • A variety of adjustable beds are available, along with various features.
  • Medicare may cover your adjustable bed under certain conditions.

What Are Adjustable Beds?

Adjustable beds feature a specially designed mattress on a motorized frame or foundation. The combination allows the head or feet portion of the bed to tilt into a wide variety of sleep positions.

Other Names for Adjustable Beds
  • Adjustable bed frames
  • Electric beds
  • Power bases
  • Power beds

Adjustable beds are not hospital beds. Hospital beds are designed to raise and lower a patient’s body and come with permanent rails to prevent the patient from falling out of the bed. However, adjustable beds may offer some of the same safety qualities, particularly by making it easier to get in and out of bed, which may help reduce the risk of falls.

Because of their ability to modify positions, this type of bed is typically partner-friendly, allowing each person to set their side to their own sleep preferences. These beds also can be customized with a variety of features, such as remote controls, under-bed lighting and adjustable firmness settings.

You can find adjustable beds in all standard bed sizes, including twin XL, queen, king and split king.

Over the past few years, I've witnessed the remarkable transition of adjustable beds from their traditional home in hospitals and nursing homes to becoming a household essential, accessible and beneficial to everyone. My sister, who is 74, just bought an adjustable bed to help ease her back pain. She tells me it was worth every penny because her back pain has been greatly reduced and she finds it much easier to get in and out of bed.

When Should You Buy an Adjustable Bed?

You should buy an adjustable bed when the health benefits outweigh the cost. Adjustable beds are designed to provide comfort and to ease certain conditions. For instance, raising the head position can aid with breathing, alleviate acid reflux and reduce snoring, while raising the feet position may help with blood circulation. Raising both the head and feet positions can reduce pressure on the lumbar section of the spine.

Adjustable beds can be especially helpful for those suffering from conditions such as poor circulation, sleep apnea, respiratory ailments, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), arthritis and chronic back pain. Certain features, such as massage functions, can also provide therapeutic benefits.

Because these beds offer many options and features, you should seek advice from a health care professional who can provide personalized recommendations for a bed that aligns with your particular health needs and lifestyle.

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How Much Do Adjustable Beds Cost?

Adjustable beds come in a wide range of prices. The cost can vary significantly depending on the features, brand and quality of the bed. Some health insurance plans, including Medicare, may cover a portion of the cost if the bed is deemed medically necessary.

Adjustable beds typically start around $500 to $1,000 for basic models. These lower-end beds usually offer simple positioning adjustments but may lack advanced features. In some cases, positioning adjustments must be done manually instead of with a remote.

Mid-range beds, costing between $1,500 and $2,500, often include options like massage functions, USB ports and programmable positions.

High-end models, which can cost $3,000 and above, may offer advanced technologies like sleep tracking, adjustable firmness and smart home integration.

In many cases, the quoted price only covers the bed frame, not the mattress. If you are considering buying a bed frame only, measure your current mattress to determine whether it will fit the new frame or if you will also need to purchase a new mattress.

When considering the cost of an adjustable bed, it’s crucial to think about your specific needs, preferences and budget. Compare different models, read customer reviews and consider warranties and customer service support to help with your decision.

Pros and Cons of Adjustable Beds

As with any product, adjustable beds come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. They offer enhanced comfort, customizable sleep positions and potential health benefits. However, they are expensive, may require additional costs for features or accessories, and their mechanical nature means there is potential for technical issues.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Adjustable Beds?
Pros
  • Addresses health conditions by providing better circulation, reducing acid reflux symptoms and lessening joint, muscle and nerve pain
  • A sense of independence among older adults by making it easier to get in and out of bed as you lose mobility with age
  • Eases pressure on areas of your body with muscle or joint pain resulting in less sleep interruptions
  • Increases comfort resulting from variable sleeping positions
  • Reduces snoring from elevating your head to keep airways open
  • Wide variety of models and options to choose from
Cons
  • Because sections of the bed may be raised or lowered, your movement in the bed may be restricted.
  • Can be extremely heavy — up to three times the weight of a standard bed
  • Different models or brands have different levels of quality depending on the options you want.
  • Electric motors can be louder than expected, and the frame can be noisy as you move or shift your body.
  • More expensive — up to thousands of dollars more than a regular bed depending on options
  • Requires a specially designed mattress that may only fit your adjustable bed’s frame

Does Medicare Cover Adjustable Beds?

Medicare covers adjustable beds as durable medical equipment if your doctor prescribes one for your medical condition. Conditions that might warrant an adjustable bed include severe arthritis, certain types of injuries, respiratory diseases or other conditions where adjusting the bed position can improve health and comfort.

You may qualify for Medicare coverage if your doctor determines you meet either or both of these circumstances:
  1. Your condition requires body repositioning that an ordinary bed cannot provide, such as for relieving pain, promoting body alignment, avoiding respiratory infections or preventing contractures.
  2. You require a special attachment that cannot be attached and used with an ordinary bed.

If you meet Medicare’s requirements, you will be responsible for your Medicare Part B deductible and 20% of the cost to buy or rent the adjustable bed. Medicare will cover the remaining 80% of the cost after your deductible has been paid.

Medicare will only cover the cost if your doctor and bed supplier are both enrolled in Medicare.

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How To Choose an Adjustable Bed

Choosing the right adjustable bed involves considering your specific requirements, the bed’s features and your budget.

  1. Start by identifying what you need the bed to do for you. Do you require elevation to relieve a health condition, or are you looking for added comfort features like massage functions?
  2. Decide on a budget that you're comfortable with, but also consider the value that the bed will bring to your life. If a bed that is slightly above your budget offers significant benefits that will improve your sleep quality or health, it might be worth the extra investment. It also may be worth it to buy a slightly more expensive bed if you plan to use it for a long time.
  3. Take into account the bed’s size and any potential weight limits in your home. What are the delivery and assembly options? Are there any trial periods or return limitations?

An adjustable bed is a significant purchase that can impact your comfort, health and home safety. Take your time to research and compare different models so you can make an informed purchasing decision.

Editor Bianca Dagostino contributed to this article.

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Last Modified: October 20, 2023

7 Cited Research Articles

  1. R. Zimlich. (2020, Sept. 28). Does Medicare Cover Adjustable Beds? Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/medicare/adjustable-beds-covered-by-medicare#definition
  2. Ancuelle, V. et al. (2015, Sept. 25). Effects of an Adapted Mattress in Musculoskeletal Pain and Sleep Quality in Institutionalized Elders. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4688575/
  3. Girouard, A. (2023, Sept. 11). 10 Best Adjustable Beds in 2023: Expert Reviewed. Retrieved from https://www.ncoa.org/adviser/adjustable-beds/best-adjustable-beds/
  4. Rae, H. (2023, May 1). Is an Adjustable Bed Frame Right for You? Retrieved from https://www.consumerreports.org/mattresses/adjustable-bed-frame-a5623890769/
  5. Medicare.gov. (2023). Hospital Beds. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/hospital-beds
  6. Wilder, J. (2023). Best Adjustable Beds for Seniors (2023): Buying Guide + Top Beds Ranked. Retrieved from https://seniorsmobility.org/bedroom/adjustable-beds/best-adjustable-beds-for-seniors/
  7. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (2022). National Coverage Determination (NCD); Hospital Beds. Retrieved from https://www.cms.gov/medicare-coverage-database/view/ncd.aspx?NCDId=227