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Buyer's Guide: Mobility Beds

The centre-piece of your room; the apparatus on which you spend roughly one third of your life - a bed is an important part of your daily routine, and choosing the right one is a decision that cannot be taken lightly.

Why you need a mobility bed

Mobility beds (or "adjustable beds") are nominally aimed at those who may experience difficulty getting up and down, but they may also be a useful bedroom accessory for anyone who struggles to get to sleep of a night time. In addition to handles and retractable mattresses to assist you with geting in and out of bed, they can also come equipped with specialist surfaces which help to relieve pressure on the spine.

Although mobility beds can help to improve your general well-being enormously, they also carry an unfortunate reputation for being a little on the unglamorous side, with many potential buyers fearing that a specialist bed will look somewhat off-kilter against the backdrop of a luxury master bedroom. But this doesn't have to be the case: not all mobility beds have to feature unsightly handles and over-sized headboards.

For those who share their bed with a significant other, there may be reservations about buying a double bed which will benefit only one half of the relationship (and perhaps leave the other half struggling to get comfortable at night) but newer designs have began to address this. If you shop around, you should be able to find one which essentially houses two single mattresses in one double bed - meaning you can adjust both of them to suit each party's individual requirements.

Another concern is that they are too expensive, however this something that is also starting to change. Today you can get your hands on a serviceable mobility bed for around £400 for a single, £700 for double (which is a worthwhile investment when you consider the myriad health benefits).

Buying advice

Make sure that you ask all the important questions so that you know that the mobility bed you are buying is perfect for you and your needs. Here are some of the most important questions:

- Features - what features does the mobility bed have so that you are aware of all

- Warranty - does it come with a warranty, can it be extended?

- Weight limit - is there a weigh limit on the bed so that all the mechanisms are working.

- Try before you buy - ask to try the bed, lay down and check all the functions to see if you like the way the bed is working.

- Price and options - can you pay in instalments or you need to pay in full?

- Safety mechanisms - does is have a sefaty mechanism to prevent entrapment or obstruction?

Where to shop

Once upon a time mobility beds were explicitly the domain of companies which specialise in making the household more disability friendly (also selling things like stair-lifts, wheelchair ramps, lowered kitchen counters, and so on).

While these companies are still going strong (and may be useful for the purpose of actually installing the furniture you buy) there's no reason you can't go to one of the major bed retailers instead - especially if you're conscious about the cosmetic side of things.

Stores like Dreams, DFS and Furniture Village should satisfy your needs. However, if you are drawn to the more all-encompassing service of a specialist company, Better Life - an offshoot of Lloyds Pharmacy - also have a range of products aimed at household customers as well as hospitals and care homes.

Hiring a mobility bed

Although owning your own bed is probably your preference, there is also the option to hire a mobility bed for as long as you need one - this may be more viable if you are, for example, having an elderly relative to stay for a few weeks, or have just been discharged from hospital after suffering a demobilising injury.

Rates will vary according to your requirements (remember that these beds are tailored to support a specific weight), but for a standard-sized bed you can expect to pay in the region of £60 to £90 a week, with some differential depending on how long you need it for. As a general rule, if you need the bed for more than three or four months, you're probably better off buying one outright.

You might be interested to know about: Mobility Scooters.

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