You may be able to get comfortable in just about any chair, and you can probably get up with ease. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for your elderly family member. A soft, deep chair you adore may make standing impossible for an elderly person. If you're buying a chair for your elderly family member, check out these six tips.
Choose Chairs With Armrests
It's easy for people without limited mobility to jump out of just about any chair without using armrests, but people with limited mobility need the added support. Chair armrests give them something to hold onto as they stand and sit. This allows them to use their legs and arms to stand, which reduces the risk of straining and falling. The armrests should be high enough to support the arms enough to take stress off the shoulders. When arms sit on the armrest, the shoulders should not raise or droop.
Check the Back and Seat Dimensions
You'll also want to check how tall the back of the chair is and how deep the seat is. A chair with a high back is better than one with a low back because it offers more support for the shoulders and neck. The seat depth is another important dimension to consider. The seat depth needs to be long enough so the thigh is completely supported (it's not hanging over the edge of the chair). However, if the depth is too big, it may affect circulation in the legs or force the person to lean back, which can lead to back pain.
Don't Choose Low Chairs
When choosing a chair, avoid low chairs. Chairs that are low to the ground are more difficult to stand from than higher chairs. When the chair is too low, it puts the knees above the hips, which puts more strain on the body when standing. However, you also don't want the chair to be so high that your family member cannot touch the floor. Their entire foot should be able to comfortably touch the floor while sitting.
Avoid Chairs That Are Too Hard or Soft
Hard chairs quickly become uncomfortable for everyone, but this is especially the case for elderly people. You always want to try to choose a chair that has some padding, even if it's a dining room chair. On the other hand, chairs that are too soft are also not a good idea. When a chair has too much padding, there is not enough resistance, making it hard for your elderly family member to push themselves up.
Choose Seats With Space Underneath
Another feature that affects how easy it is to stand from a seated position is whether the seat has open space below it or not. When there is a big space under the chair (think about dining room chairs and desk chairs), your elderly family member can position their feet under the chair, which offers better momentum to stand. When the chair is closed underneath, this isn't possible. Elderly people may have to rock back and forth to push themselves up, which can cause injury, such as hip damage.
Consider a Lift Chair
One of the best chairs you can get for someone who has difficulty standing is a lift chair because the chair does all the work for them. There are many different types of lift chairs. Some recline more than others, but even the most basic lift chair manually lifts up and forward to push your family member into a standing position without much effort on their part, so there is little to no risk of injury or strain.
There are many features to consider when purchasing a chair, especially if it's for an elderly person. When in doubt, consider a lift chair. They are specifically designed for the elderly and people with limited mobility. For more information, contact a medical equipment supplier such as Corner Home Medical.