What is a Lift Chair?

Quite often as our body ages, some tasks become more difficult.

One task that can become very difficult is standing and sitting. Lower chairs, like recliners, are often the most difficult to get out of for a senior, especially after having been sitting for an extended period of time. This is why many people use lift chairs.

A lift chair is a recliner, but it is also much more. In the base of the chair, an electric motor helps to control the backrest and footrest. This motor also raises the chair into the air.

How They Work

When the person sitting in the lift chair is ready to stand, they activate a switch on the lift chair. As the lift chair is raised, the occupant remains seated and when it has fully risen, it is possible to exit the chair in a near standing position. When it is time to sit down again, simply lean against the seat and push the down button, then the lift chair will do the rest.

The chair does not rise completely vertically, but rather at an angle, so that when fully risen it is possible to remain in the seat, without fear of falling out. The chair also moves very slowly and steadily, so there are no jerky movements.

Some Safety Features

Quality lift chairs always use a constant pressure switch to control the movements of the chair. This switch ensures that the chair will only move while the button is being pushed. This way if the up button is accidentally pushed or the hand control is dropped, the chair will not move, greatly increasing safety and preventing falls.

A lift chair is controlled electronically and plugs directly into the wall. Many models also offer a battery backup, which is used if there is no power to the chair. Conveniently a nine-volt battery is generally used for the backup, so it can be replaced inexpensively and quickly. If the backup is used, it should be replaced afterward, but otherwise the nine-volt battery should be replaced once a year. Many people choose to replace them when they replace their fire alarm batteries.

The main service that a lift chair provides is of course making standing and sitting safer. However, lift chairs can also be a very comfortable place to sit, sleep, or watch television. Like a recliner, the backrest reclines and the footrest extends, but unlike most recliners, these components are controlled electronically. Making the lift chair much easier to use, because finding a comfortable position can be done quickly with only the push of a button.

Lift Chair Positions

The degree that a lift chair reclines varies by model, with three distinct types. 2-position lift chairs are designed to recline close to 45 degrees, which allows for comfortably watching TV or reading. 3-position chairs recline fully, as do infinite position chairs, making these models great for sleeping and extremely comfortable.

Unlike the other types of chairs, infinite position lift chairs allow the footrest and backrest to be operated separately of one another. This means that the backrest can be reclined, without extending the footrest, allowing for much more customization. Infinite position lift chairs also recline slightly farther than a three position lift chair.

Fitting the Chair to the Body

It is very important to fit the lift chair to the person who will be using it, as failing to do so can present a very big safety hazard.

The persons height and weight are very important, because each lift chair is designed for a certain body size. However, there are chairs available that will fit virtually anyones frame. For more information about how to understand lift chair measurements, so you purchase a lift chair that will be safe, click here.

Other Types of Lifting Aids

While a lift chair offers the functions of a recliner, quite often much more efficiently, there are a few other types of lifting aids that can be used to make standing easier. Seat lifts are available that resemble a straight backed chair. These lifts are usually about half the price of a lift chair, but they do not recline. Instead a seat lift would more closely resemble a traditional sitting chair, but usually with a little more padding. Seat lifts are often used by families who only need a lifting aid occasionally, such as for relatives during the holidays.

Another option is a lifting cushion. These are very portable and can be placed in the base of pretty much any sitting chair. They slowly rise up, providing a little bit of a boost. However, they do not provide the same level of service a lift chair or even a seat lift would. The major advantage to this type of lift is that they are very easy to transport, comfortably fitting in the trunk of a car.