Things to consider before you make a purchase…
If you spend a lot of the day sitting, you need to be sure that your chair meets your needs with regards to size and comfort and also that you can carry out the activities you wish to do. Different activities need different postural positions: for example you will want to be upright whilst eating and drinking, but relaxed back when you are watching TV.
Powered adjustable chairs enable you to alter your position independently. There are basically three functional choices: recline, leg elevation and rise. Some chairs are for a single purpose, but others offer all functions.
A reclining mechanism is useful if:
- you have back problems
- you have muscle weakness and have difficulty supporting your head
- you need a rest during the day
- you need to change your position to alter weight distribution
If you are using your chair to sleep in for significant periods, choose one that fully reclines so that you can stretch out your hips.
Leg elevation is a feature of all recliners.
- Recline with simultaneous elevation of the leg rest
- Have a leg rest that elevates before the recline begins
- Have a leg rest powered by a separate motor
Chairs that enable you to sit upright with your legs raised can help to control swelling in the lower whilst enabling you to carry on with chair based activities such as reading and watching TV.
BEFORE YOU BUY A RISER RECLINER
Riser chairs provide:
- Assistance when standing from sitting
- Steadying support when descending into the sitting position
The seat unit will lift and tilt to put you in a better position for standing, but you still need sufficient strength in your legs to lock your knees out, and also good balance. The angle of tilt and elevation will vary from chair to chair. Some can rise vertically with no or minimal tilt, others have more tilt. The angle of some chairs can be altered to user requirements at the time of ordering.
Features that can be useful include a waterfall backrest. This has separate overlapping cushions with the potential to take out stuffing from the pillows to meet personal comfort requirements. And armrests that have wooden ends give a better handhold when standing.
- There is a power point nearby to avoid to risk from trailing flex
- There is space within the room to accommodate the chair in different positions. Some recliners offer ‘compact recline’ with the seat moving forwards as the back rest reclines so that less room is needed behind
You can manage the controls e.g. the size of the handset, size of buttons and left or right mounting. Make sure the functions are clearly labelled and that it is obvious which way round the handset should be held
- The dimensions of the chair in relation to your size, critically the seat height, width and depth; backrest height and profile and armrest heights
- The leg rest is wide enough and long enough to support your legs
- You can position the things you need close to you
- There is no risk of entrapment as the chair is in motion. Particularly vulnerable is the flex, loose clothing, limbs (especially if sensation is reduced) and small pets.