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Bedbound Lady 02 Jul 2013 11:42 #1

My sister spends a great deal of time sitting up in bed (she has early-onset dementia/Parkinson's, takes frequent rests, and feels most safe and content in bed, along with the fact that her TV is located there). Most of her bed day is comprised of puzzles, TV, and internet wandering.

Her current mattress is a four-year-old Spring Air firm with an attached 2-inch pillow top that we have turned every three months. She sinks down on every part of it; we have put bed wedges and firm pillows to help her sit up, and now we even have her sitting on a chair pad in bed trying to keep her more level (she weighs 125 lbs and is a side sleeper).

What type of mattress topper would you recommend for this situation? Our family is on a fixed income, so buying a new set is not feasible; a topper is really the only expense for which we can budget. Thanks so very much for any help you provide.

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Bedbound Lady 02 Jul 2013 12:59 #2

Hi planb,

That's a very difficult question because a mattress topper is really a matter of preference and a mattress will always perform differently and you will sink in further when you sit on it because the weight is much more concentrated over a smaller surface area vs what it is designed for which is sleeping on it which distributes the weight along the full body surface. If you choose much firmer foams in a mattress for the sake of sitting (such as those in a couch or furniture) then it may no longer be nearly as suitable for sleeping. In general ... the best solution for those who sit in bed a lot is an adjustable bed which can provide better and more even support along the body surface rather than making changes in a mattress that works well for sleeping (assuming that it does).

The best use of a topper is to make the comfort layers softer not firmer because even a firmer topper will just tend to compress or bend into the softer layers below it and may make the mattress less suitable for sleeping ... especially with her lighter weight.

Something like the mattress genie may be an inexpensive solution worth considering (if you haven't already) instead of a topper.

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Bedbound Lady 04 Jul 2013 02:59 #3

Hi there, thought I'd put my 2 cents in as I spend more time in bed than I'd like to as well due to health issues- new dx is osteoarthritis in the neck and now both sides of spine though I am heavier than your sister and probably shorter (under 5ft tall) I have had to make some changes- one is to use an Extra Firm gusseted bed pillow (purchased for the dog to sleep on, but my spoiled chaweenie much preferred the new latex pillow instead) but the firmness of this inexpensive pillow made it a perfect butt rest to raise up enough to comfortably slightly bend the knees while sitting up to read, watch tv and much easier to get in and out of bed, and easy to remove for sleeping.
Another idea to perhaps give more life to an old mattress and bring more comfort to someone bedbound would be to use twin size memory foam or other kind topper on the opposite side of a full size or larger bed. I did this when I was ill with a flu bug for awhile. I slept on the topper side for sleep then back to the firm pillow plus piled pillows for sitting up again. I purchased a new mattress a few months ago which has really helped me with pain management & sleep issues along with new pillows to make it nicer for sitting up too. I chose against a topper as total mattress coverage for the reasoning Phoenix stated. I chose against the mattress genie too as my problem was not back support as I had that matter taken care of it was only the butt sinking and straining forward to retain balance that I had to find some helpful solution for. For a headboard for my double bed I use 2 tri-fold firm foam camping pads from Costco set between bed and wall then my bed pillows up against those to adjust the angle I prefer.

I'll monitor this thread in case others have some other ideas too.

Good luck!

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