A good chair will make a huge difference to aging adults and their comfort. But not every chair is suitable for aging adults.
A rise and recline armchair has a mechanism that helps users safely lower to a seated position at the touch of a button, as well as helping them stand up again.
Chairs for seniors should provide adequate support to the upper back, arms, and thighs. They should also be easy to get into and out of, encouraging healthy posture.
While ergonomic specifications for seating furniture in office environments tend to be explicit, recommendations for aged care chairs are more ambiguous. For example, some aged care seating is above the recommended seat height, which can compromise stability when seated and can place too much pressure on the back of the knees, resulting in discomfort.
For older adults with circulation issues, it’s best to opt for a reclining chair, which can elevate the feet. This can help ease pain and swelling in the ankles and feet, as well as alleviate a range of other ailments. Many of these chairs are equipped with sumptuous padding, which further adds to their comfort.
Traditionally, the specifications of chairs used in aged care are a matter for carers and physiotherapists to make. Currently, aged care facility interior designers are more often than not liaising with chair manufacturers about appropriate seating furniture for their facilities’ residents (Tatum, 2015).
The chairs chosen should be comfortable and durable so that they will continue to support the client in their seated position and help to prevent skin breakdown and pressure ulcers. In some cases, these ulcers are life-threatening, so choosing a chair that offers optimal positioning and pressure management is important.
Look for a chair that has three-position or infinite-position options – this allows the person to recline fully, which is ideal for napping. Also, make sure that the chair you choose has a weight capacity that is high enough for your loved one’s current and future needs. If a lift chair fails while in the reclined position, it could leave your loved one in an unsupported position for hours or even days.
Keeping the elderly comfortable in their chairs will reduce pain and discomfort, improve productivity, and overall wellbeing. To help your elderly loved one remain as independent and active as possible, consider a chair that can be adjusted for seat height, lumbar support, and seat depth.
In the past, guidelines for chair design in aged care were largely made by individual residents and their families with some input from physiotherapists and carers. However, a drive for uniformity in furniture has resulted in the provision of chairs with limited adjustability.
The most important feature is ensuring the chair has a seat height that allows seniors to get in and out of it easily and sit comfortably. A high back chair will also offer more support for the neck and shoulders. It is best to have the chair upholstered in fabrics that are easy to clean, such as microfiber or polyester and acrylic combinations. These fabrics also tend to be more resistant to wear and tear, making them long-lasting.
It is important for elderly adults to be able to get in and out of chairs comfortably. This helps prevent injuries that can occur when trying to use furniture that is too high or too low for them. It also prevents them from becoming too dehydrated while sitting for extended periods of time.
Most home safety audits recommend removing chairs with very low sitting surfaces and replacing them with ones that are moderately higher to make it easier for individuals to stand up from the chair.6,7 However, these recommendations are rarely followed in residential aged care settings where physiotherapists and senior staff make decisions regarding furniture specifications for individual residents.
This Lila Tufted Linen Arm Chair features a slimmer armrest that is easier for elderly adults to grip during STS transitions, as well as a 21.5″ seat height that makes it easy for seniors to sit down and stand up. It’s available in a variety of attractive colors and has a down-filled cushion, supple genuine leather upholstery, brass nailhead trims, and hand-carved wooden legs.