Older people generally spend a lot of time sitting, as their mobility decreases with age, so comfort is vital for them. They may begin to complain of aches and pains in their chair, they may begin to slouch in it, or worse, to slip or fall out of the chair. They may insist on going back to bed during the day due to discomfort or pain. This is when you can consider the option of purchasing a suitable chair to suit your needs.
There are many options available and various types of chairs and armchairs in the market And sometimes it is not clear which one would be the most suitable for an older person before buying. It is important to be informed and make the right decision, as it can be costly to go wrong. We look at the differences between the available options to decide which type of armchair might be the most suitable.
The importance of a good seat
When we sit up, we need our muscles to work against gravity to maintain a «correct» or midline posture, the benefits of which are numerous. As we age, our muscles tend to weaken and fatigue more quickly, which can lead to leaning to one side, leaning forward, or squatting in the chair.
Poor seating posture can have many negative effects on a person’s health, for example, sometimes leading to the development of recurrent chest infections, lung infections, and urinary tract infections. Poor sitting position can also lead to chair slippage and fall. This sliding action can contribute to the development of pressure ulcers (bed sores). A poor seat and therefore poor posture can also negatively affect a person’s appetite and ability to breathe.
Once seated and supported, these bodily functions significantly improve. The correct chair and positioning can significantly help improve posture and thus positively impact overall health and well-being.
Seek professional advice
We recommend that you seek the opinion of a doctor, such as an occupational therapist or industry specialist, to guide you and provide information on the long-term requirements of a patient and how your needs may change over time, so you can take this into account in your decision-making process. To make an investment like this, with this advice you will have the peace of mind of knowing that it will work. We believe that choosing clinically researched chairs is essential to ensure that the results can be replicated in your home.
Main characteristics of an armchair to take into account for the elderly
Comfort is important because if the chair is not comfortable, all other factors are of little value. The correct chair can serve to reduce the time you spend in bed and, therefore, improve the quality of life of the person.
All features must be adjustable
The multiple adjustability of a chair allows it to meet the long-term and changing needs of the person or persons. This includes having an adjustable seat width so it can always be adjusted and adapt to the size of whoever uses it, or whether you gain or lose weight over a period of time to ensure that you are always correctly positioned in the chair.
Chairs with wheels (not wheelchairs) allow much easier movement in a home and if the person who is going to use it is sick, they make it much easier for relatives or caregivers to transfer the patient from their room, to a living room or living room and also outside to enjoy different stimuli and views .
Pressure management as standard
If you are sitting for long periods of time during the day, or are unable to shift your weight if you feel too uncomfortable, you will need to control the pressure on your chair. Managing pressure throughout the chair increases comfort and reduces the risk of developing pressure ulcers (bed sores). Pressure ulcers can be debilitating. It is important not to underestimate the complexity and complications that can arise with a pressure ulcer.
For people whose head control is poor or declining, they will need an additional headrest from a cushion or other head support built into the chair to ensure comfort and support for the head, neck and spine. Poor head control can affect breathing and feeding, so head support is vital if independent head control is difficult for the patient.
Lateral supports help the person in the chair maintain a midline posture, which is more difficult to do when weakened muscles and gravity try to push our bodies forward when sitting, especially when our bodies are fatigued. Side supports can increase the individual’s comfort level, as well as positively impacting your breathing, swallowing, digestive system, all affected by posture and positioning.
19% of our body weight passes through our feet. If the person has reduced mobility, they should put their feet on a leg rest, a foot platform or the floor to ensure stability and control pressure redistribution throughout the body.
Tilt in space
The inclination in the space is an important function that allows the person to adjust their position in the chair throughout the day, facilitating a weight change, to reduce the risk of pressure ulcers. If the individual stands up and cannot independently shift their weight when uncomfortable, they will need to lean into space.