Senior Lift Chairs: Selecting the Right Type

Published by Steve Hedberg on November 23, 2011 Under lift chairs

For a senior citizen, not being able to get up on your own can be something that affects many aspects of their life. It may, in some cases, even hasten the need to move to an assisted living facility. One way that this issue is overcome is by using a lift recliner.

Lift recliners offer a way for seniors, and others with mobility related disorders, to stand and sit on their own. A lift recliner is typically modeled after a standard recliner, with the exception that it is operated electronically. Electric lift chairs utilize a powerful electric motor in the base of the device, which is used to control most aspects of the chair. Not only are the footrest and backrest operated electronically by a hand control, but the entire chair can be raised into the air allowing the occupant to safely enter or exit.

The design and function behind a lift recliner is not exactly a new concept and they have been around for many years, with some models dating back to the eighties and even before. However, many of these older models used unsafe lifting systems. For example, a spring lift system was popular in the eighties, but offered a number of problems, mainly that it could not be stopped or otherwise controlled once it started moving.

Today’s lift chairs, however, use a whisper quite electric system that only moves while the user is pressing the hand control buttons. This means that if an individual sits on the hand-control or accidentally pushes one of the buttons, the user is not going to be automatically catapulted from the chair.

Lift chairs come in a number of different shapes and sizes, but are typically classified by their weight capacity, height rating, and the degree they can recline.

The first two lift chair categories are fairly self explanatory. Based on the width and shape of the seat, height from the ground, and power of the electric motor, the chair is rated for a certain height and weight individual. Failing to adhere to these ratings can damage the chair and risk injury to the user.

Understanding Lift Chair Positions

The degree the chair can recline, or recline position, however is a little more complicated and requires a broader description. Lift chairs are usually classified by how far the backrest can recline. There are three main categories, two-position, three-position, and infinite position.

Two-position lift chairs can recline a little over 45 degrees, which is often referred to as a TV-Recline. Three-Position lift chairs are able to recline significantly further and position the user in a nearly horizontal position.

Infinite position lift chairs often recline even further, but the main difference is how the backrest and footrest operate. In other lift chairs, the backrest and footrest are tied together, so when you recline the chair, the footrest extends.

When using infinite position lift chairs, however, the footrest and backrest can be operated individually. So, you can move the footrest up without extending the backrest and vice-verse. Most also offer a single button that ties the footrest and backrest together, like a three-position lift chair.

One common misconception is that a three-position lift chair only can go in three distinct positions, however this is not really true. Since the lift chair is controlled electronically, when reclining it is possible to stop at any time up until you reach the limit of the lift chair.

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