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What mattress do you recommend for Parkinson's patients?

asked Sep 29 '16
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Gloria from Alexandria, VA
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I'll have a take on this that agrees with much of the previously posted comments but differs in a few areas.

Repositioning is a key in this situation, not only for someone with Parkinson's but also for anyone looking to spend time in the deeper stages of sleep. Mattresses that are too soft in either support or in comfort make repositioning difficult. Mattresses exhibiting lower resiliency characteristics (using visco-elastic foam on top or lower-density/lower softness foams) in the upper comfort layers are generally ones to avoid as well.

A strong edge reinforcement system is also advantageous, as this can be assistive for those with Parkinson's transitioning in and out of bed, as well as providing a safer sleep environment where extra edge reinforcement helps to prevent rolling off when close to the edge of the mattress, as well as making it easier to sit on the edge of the bed when getting in and out and avoiding sliding down onto the floor.

You certainly want a strong innerspring unit or a strong support unit. The ability for the mattress to be adjustable would strictly be a personal preference and something to be evaluated on a case by case basis. A marshall spring unit will tend to be the easiest to bend if you choose to go that route. An all-latex mattress would be a more durable and conforming choice in an adjustable bed situation. Realize that you will be sacrificing edge reinforcement if you go with an adjustable bed, as the edge reinforcement systems be design have to be more flexible in order to allow an innerspring mattress to bend.

If you don't need adjustability as an option, you open up your choices to other innerspring support units, and there certainly are more durable and stronger units available than the typical marshall spring units. Again, this will come down to personal preference and specific needs.

The weakest link in a mattress tends to be the comfort layers (foams) and the quality of construction. Foams with a high degree of resilience would be preferred in this situation, with latex being a good choice (provided it's not overly plush). Personally, I am a big fan of all-latex mattresses, but of course your subjective opinion is the one we need to consider. The other choice I'd recommend for foam comfort layering would be a polyurethane foam that is at the very least a true high-density (1.8 pound) or greater. High resiliency (2.5 pounds or greater) would even be better. High-density doesn't necessarily equate to a hard feeling product, and a hard feeling product doesn't mean that the foam is high-density. A good high-density foam will have more material per unit volume and tend to last longer and be more consistent and exhibit less flex fatigue than a lower-density foam. You'll want to find something that is of course comfortable but also a good grade of density/quality. You'll want to ask your local retailer for this information about any product you're considering. Unfortunately, the major brands with which we are most familiar tend to use lower-density foams that would fall outside of anything I would recommend. But with over 500 facilities making mattresses in the United States, there are many viable options out there.

I've assisted quite a few people in this situation, including family members, and these guidelines have proven to be very useful.

Good luck in your search.

Jeff Scheuer Mattress To Go

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answered Sep 30 '16
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Jeff Scheuer ♦
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Hi Gloria -- Thanks for this great question.

First and foremost, let me stress that this information is not intended to constitute medical advice or counseling, especially since I have little to no expertise about Parkinson's specifically.

That said, my assumptions about what would be most important in a mattress for someone with Parkinson's would be:

  • Making it easier to get in and out of bed
  • Making it easier to move around and reposition in bed

To optimize for these two things, you would be looking for a mattress that has the following features:

  • Works with adjustable base -- an adjustable base could be greatly helpful in getting in and out of bed
  • Good edge support -- easier for getting in and out of bed
  • Fast response -- easier for repositioning
  • Shallower cushioning -- easier for repositioning

Looking at these requirements alone, in the absence of any information about you, this would point toward one of the following configuration being optimal for you:

  • Softness: Medium to Firm
  • Comfort materials: Latex or Flat Gel (note that this is NOT the same as Gel Memory Foam)
  • Support materials: Pocket coils or Latex

In general, you'll want to stay away from mattresses that are very soft (harder to reposition, deeper cushioning, and typically worse edge support), ones that have memory foam as the comfort material (more difficult for repositioning), or ones that have connected coils as the support material (don't usually work with adjustable base) or water as the support material (harder to reposition and doesn't work on an adjustable base).

All that said, I'd recommend taking the GoodBed Match Quiz so that you can see which available matches best address all of your criteria (eg, sleep position, weight, age, other preferences and conditions, price range, etc.) -- not just the ones that relate to Parkinson's. When you take the quiz, keep in mind the suggestions above in answering the questions about "roll-off" (edge support), "nestling" (cushioning depth), and "memory" feel (fast vs. slow response).

I hope that helps!

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answered Sep 29 '16
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