When afflicted with obesity, old age, Lou Gehrig’s disease, or arthritis simple activities such as getting out of a chair can become a daunting task.
As such, there have been many programs formed to assist individuals dealing with these problems, including homes where any need would be taken care of by staff.
To maintain independence and an enjoyable lifestyle, however, there have been other innovations made in our modern times to help those that suffer from these ailments that result in mobility restrictions.
One of these inventions is known as a lift chair. These lift chairs have a variety of purposes and styles but with their construction optimized to cater to the large population of those in need of assistance in mobility when sitting up and down.
Types of Lift Chairs
Lift chairs can be found in a great variety of styles and types, each of which is designed differently to provide more utility, comfort or functionality.
The different types of mechanisms for lift chairs can be confusing, however, so take a look below at the more common types you will come across so you can educate yourself before speaking to a salesperson when purchasing your chair.
Dissimilar to other types of lift chairs, infinite position lift chairs feature more than one motor. The reclining of the seat is controlled by one motor, while the second is responsible for the control of the foot rest’s height. By utilizing the hand control on this type of chair, one may adjust the foot of the chair and its backrest independently, in various combinations.
This provides the user with a limitless number of settings from which to choose.
Three position models offer a way to sit in 3 positions when using the chair. One of these is an upright position, similar to the way one would sit in a traditional chair which does not recline.
One can also choose to position himself or herself at a 45 degree angle, which is a common position preferred by many individuals when watching TV or reading.
The three position lift chair recliner is a complete recline, in which one can rest or sleep. Similar to other lift chairs, one can utilize a mechanism which will move the chair into a position that will assist him or her to rise.
Two position models are considered standard recliners, and similar to other lift chairs, feature a mechanism that helps the user to get in and out of the chair with relative ease. Once seated in the chair, a person can choose an upright position or the aforementioned 45 degree reclining position.
Lift-only chairs, sometimes referred to as one-position models, are the most simplistic of all models available. They are manufactured to be quite similar to the dinner chairs or wingback chairs that one most likely has in other areas of his or her home.
The difference is that these chairs come with a lift mechanism in order to assist its user with sitting and rising. This style is recommend for those who are not interested in a reclining chair or who prefer a chair that coordinates better with their existing furnishings.
Because they do not recline, these chairs are typically the least expensive of all the aforementioned models.
Zero Gravity models have two motors just as the infinite position models; however, they also feature the ability to place the person into the “Zero Gravity Position.” This position keeps an individual’s legs above his or her heart and provides open space between the thighs and torso.
This position is frequently advised for people with lower back pain, poor circulation, or reduced lung capacity.
When considering an appropriate option, one popular choice that stands out amongst the different lift chair types is a Bariatric Lift Chair because it can bear a large amount of excess weight, as compared to standard types.
In general, a lift recliner is built to carry approximately 300 pounds, but bariatric lift chairs can support more than 500 pounds. These chairs have deeper and broader seats and run on dual electric motors.
The Wall Hugger is another unique lift chair type. To allow any lift chair to recline totally, a standard type would need to be positioned at least 18-24 inches away from any wall. However, wall huggers are made to recline even when positioned well near a wall. Generally, they are 3-postion and best suited for places with limited floor space.
Many lift chairs are also equipped with special features such as massage functions; heat; special mattress covers; folding food trays; arm rest compartments; and more which provides additional comfort and functionality.
Find The Right Fit
To determine the best lift chair for the elderly, a buyer should take into consideration the specific elements of the lift chair. This includes the material it is made from, the amount of weight it can sustain as well as the compatibility of it and the buyers height and the aesthetic appeal.
Lift chairs are designed similar to a typical armchair found in any modern, middle-class living room, but with the ability to rise up to elevate the sitter to a standing position, with the same technology as a reclining chair. (This product is also capable of reclining back, as well as up.)
This, however, is but one feature these chairs have to offer.
We have a list of the most popular manufactures of lift chairs.
Other Lift Chair Features
They may also come with a massaging element and their own battery, in case the power goes out.
Without battery backup it is highly likely that those dependent on the chair would end up confined to it in a vulnerable position during an event such as a lightning storm in which the power goes out, making the independence that is supposed to be gained from the product a failure in such a situation.
For matters of practicality, the material of lift chairs can also be important.
As the elderly commonly utilize these products to ensure their security and ease of mobility, a material which is either easy to clean or resistant to fluids, in case wetting occurs.
Alternatively, they come with coverings of suede or leather, but these can be more expensive.
Lift Chair Benefits
Though the most common purpose of a lift chair is to allow comfortable living in public rooms or sometimes a bedroom, there are also varieties of this chair designed to make baths a reality for handicapped individuals.
Specially designed, bath lift chairs will lower a person into a tub easily, allowing a lengthy and relaxing bath before lifting them out.
For more reasons on why to use a lift chair take a look at our benefits of a lift recliner page.
Lift Chairs For Elderly
In time, various inventions such as these lift chairs will redefine how society views the elderly, making their lives and the lives of their loved ones more comfortable and enjoyable, instead of being troubled by constant worry over their safety.
These products are being sold in furniture stores, online places such as Amazon, and other retail outlets.
Besides being a comfortable place to sit, a lift chair offers the convenience and comfort of sitting and standing to the seniors in an easier way. This happens because when an electric motor mounted on the base of the lift chair is activated, the whole chair along with the occupant is lifted slowly.
When the chair gets raised up fully, the senior occupant can easily exit the lift chair and he can easily transfer to a standing position.
Safety Features For Seniors
It must be remembered that lift chairs are made with a number of safety features which prevents the elderly people from simply exiting the seat.
For example, even when the chair is fully raised, the senior occupant who rest on the chair can conveniently sit on the chair without any risk of falling down from the chair.
Moreover, the chair will not rise by simply pushing the button of the lift chair. On the contrary, the person sitting on the chair has to continuously press the constant pressure switch of the chair in order to raise the chair.
This ensures that the chair doesn’t rise on its own, if a person accidentally pushes the button or sits on the remote. Thus lift chairs for seniors offer increased safety and convenience for elderly.
Lift Chair Repair And Troubleshooting
Keeping your lift chair in good working order is of course an important part of owning one.
Here’s a few common problems and solutions. Try these first before looking for a company to repair something that might not be broken in the first place.
- Chair doesn’t work at all: check to make sure the power is properly connected and working from the outlet first
- Chair is in full tilted or down position and won’t move: try replacing the switch or the handcontrol
- Chair stops working after a few up and down cycles: the thermal limit switch might be overheated, let the chair site for 10-15 minutes and try again
- Chair will only lift or recline when no one is sitting in it: the motor or gears might be stripping, try replacing the capacitor within the motor (please contact a professional electriction for more details on how to do this safely)
- Motor is running but no movement in the chair: either the gears are faulty or the motor nut threads could be defective
Tip: Most lift chairs come with a warranty and should be tested before constant use.
Lift Chair Rentals
If you don’t have the budget to buy a lift chair outright why not consider renting one instead? Some companies offer a service of renting a lift chair for a lower cost than actually buying one.
This is a great option if you need one right away and can’t afford it, or if you just need one short term and don’t need to spend the money on owning one.
Usually the rental company will install and give instructions on the lift chair which can make it a very convenient choice. The downside however is that these chairs will probably be already used and you might not have the same options for style or features when shopping for one.
Pros And Cons
You will have to weight the pros and cons of buying one verse renting and make your decision on which every is the best overall choice.
The cost to rent might be around $100 a month. If you plan to have the chair for a long period of time this could end up costing more than just buying it. If possible try to find a company that offers a rent to buy program so that you can eventually own the chair.
Do make sure to check out the contract thoroughly so that you fully understand what you will be responsible for with repairs in case anything goes wrong with the lift chair.
Also, check to see if there are any hidden costs above what the listed rental fee is on the companies website or advertisement. Remember the idea of renting is to save money, don’t end up spending more.
Hopefully, this information has given you the advice necessary to find the right chair for you and the advantage of lift chairs is made clear.
Similar Mobility Aids
There are other great mobility aids for the home to compliment the support and comfort that a lift chair can provide. These include adjustable beds, stairlifts, and more.
Have a look around this site for more information on all of these life-changing products.