There are several things you'll want to consider when buying a lift chair for yourself or a loved one. These will ensure that it will be comfortable and work well.
Think about who will be using this piece of furniture the most. How tall are they? How much do they weigh? Just like any recliner, you want a lift chair to fit your body size. You'll want to be able to touch your feet to the floor when you sit back, or if not have a footstool. For those with circulation or pain management issues, getting the right size lift chair is imperative. If you get one that is too big, your feet and legs will not get comfortable, and getting out of a deeper seat cushion is difficult. Get a model that is too small and the mechanism might not be able to lift your mass. All of the Parentgiving guides on Lift Chairs begin with size consideration because getting an accurate height and weight measurement for a lift chair user cuts the array of choices into a far more manageable list. For example, a heavy user might want to buy an extra-wide chair or a narrower one with a high weight rating.
How will they be using the chair? If the chair is being used mainly for TV and light reading for 3 to 4 hours a day rather than all day, a more simple chair might suffice. The more hours someone will use the furniture, the more important a mattress-type construction of memory foam and/or coil springs inside the cushion system of the lift chair.
If the user needs to fully recline a Zero Gravity or Infinite position chair allows for a full recline position while 2 position chairs allow a max 45-degree recline.
You'll also want to consider the color design and fabric of the chair. These may not seem like the most important aspect of the chair, but especially if someone is going to be spending a large amount of their time in the chair, it's something to think about.
Most of these chairs come in a variety of fabrics and colors. It's good to choose a fabric that will be comfortable for the person using it, such as for someone who sweats or has incontinence issues, you'll probably want a material that can be wiped off easily. Also, someone with sensitive skin may want particularly soft fabric. Some of the chairs have fabrics that are very stain resistant which can be good for someone who generally eats in their chair. Some chairs even have the option of heat or massage which could be useful for someone dealing with pain management.
An Overview of Typical Lift Chair Models
Still unsure of which powered recliner to select? The following brief outline of what's available among the electric recliner classes should get you started.
There are different types of lift chairs to choose from. These types typically differ in the number of positions they provide. The common types of lift chairs or the two-position chair, the three-position chair, the infinite position chair, and the zero gravity lift chair.
- Two-position lift chair
This lift chair is generally the lowest-priced option and will still help the occupant to get in and out of the chair more safely and easily. This chair is also good for those with limited space because it does not take up as much room as the other two choices. This chair reclines to approximately a 45-degree angle. It also has a footrest that will come up as the chair reclines to support the user's legs. However, the footrest does not operate independently of the chair. This chair works well for relaxing and every day seated activities. However, it is not so good for sleeping or sitting in all day.
- Three position lift chair
Three position lift chairs for seniors will recline to an almost flat position making them quite comfortable to relax in and even nap in. They have a footrest that will come up when the chair is leaned back but like the two position lift chair, the footrests do not operate separately. So these chairs work better for people who spend a lot of their day in their lift chair. These chairs are also nice for someone who is used to a traditional recliner because they are very similar to these recliners other than having a motor, so the chair can help the occupant to get up and down more easily.
- Infinite position lift chair
These will lay back to a fully reclining position, so they can be used as a bed temporarily. It works well for an individual who spends a lot of time in their chair.
- Zero Gravity Lift Chairs
Thanks to a seat that lowers and raises to orient the hips into better alignment, these are a life-saver for seniors with back issues, spinal issues, or pain management issues. They can help make sitting more comfortable. Zero Gravity electric recliner chairs for the elderly provide balanced support for the entire body, thus reducing pressure on any single area, and this zero gravity position increases circulation and relaxation while minimizing spinal pressure.
Pros & Cons of Using a Lift Chairs for Seniors
If you still are unsure if a lift chair is for you, then it's important to consider the advantages and disadvantages. After all, it's a big lifestyle change and if insurance won't pay then they can be expensive. Let's look at the pros and cons.
Regardless of any downsides, there are lift chairs for seniors that have many advantages. Some are primarily for the patient, others help caregivers, and some are great for everyone. Let's take a look at a few of them.
Conserve Energy: Everyone only has so much energy to spend in a day, so why waste it on getting on and off your recliner? As we get older the amount of energy we have to go around shrinks so it becomes more important to reserve it for what really matters, spending time with those we love.
Reduce Wear and Tear on Your Joints: For seniors suffering from severe arthritis using their leg joints to sit and stand every day can be painful. This only becomes worse the more that these joints are used. A lift chair can do a lot to help by removing some of the most major wear their joints see in a day.
Increase Safety: Sitting and standing are some of the riskiest points in a senior's day for suffering catastrophic falls. A lift chair can make this procedure a lot safer and remove most of the risk of falls. The lift chair places seniors in a vertical position for standing, making it far easier to keep control and avoid falls. It also removes the risk of caregivers losing their own balance or letting their grip slip while helping them to stand.
Makes Caregiver's Lives Easier:Caregivers are often already facing a difficult job and both lifting seniors to their feet and helping them to sit down can be some of the hardest work in their day. A lift chair can make their jobs a lot easier and take a person-sized weight off their shoulders.
Can Also Serve as a Bed:Another time seniors struggle with mobility is when they get in and out of bed in the morning. Fortunately, some lift chairs also come with a Zero Gravity Position that allows the chair to serve as a bed. A side benefit this offers is reducing pressure and swelling legs often caused by peripheral artery disease, surgery, and other conditions.
The fact is there is only one real con to using these devices and that is just that they reduce the effort factor of mobility. For many seniors, mobility help is a significant benefit that can improve their quality of life and safety alike. However, for seniors that still don't need help with sitting or standing a lift chair can just remove a significant source of exercise that can help them to retain muscle mass. This can lead to a loss of muscular ability and in turn their ability to more easily sit and stand on their own.
When Should You Consider Lift Chairs for Seniors?
At the end of the day, your first job is knowing whether or not this medical device is right for you. A good place to start is discussing the option with the medical provider for the person who will be using the chair. If this medical provider thinks that it is a good choice they may be able to help you see if Medicare will cover the purchase, and write you a prescription. Often they will cover the whole cost of the chair.
Also, ask yourself: Has mobility become painful or difficult to the extent they've failed to stand from a seated position in the past? If so there is a very high chance that lift chairs for seniors are appropriate. Your doctor will ask this kind of question, in part because it'll help get you approved for reimbursement by the insurance company.
Unfortunately, traditional lift chairs for seniors aren't small and light enough to carry with you. However, there's a similar device available that provides a simple seat lift with a thin pad on springs. You can bring those to a business, stadium, or another venue for comfort everywhere. Just don't sit in it all day because it doesn't have the padding of real furniture.