First of all, what’s a lift chair?
Have you even seen those recliners that slowly raise or lower the seat with the touch of a button? If you know what I’m talking about, those are lift chairs. If you still don’t have a clue, click here to watch a quick video (Sidenote: I just picked this video to show you what lift chairs do. I do not endorse this particular brand).
Lift chairs are fantastic for people who struggle to stand up from recliners, sofas, couches, etc. It helps people retain their independence and move around freely!
Lift chairs remain stationary in that they don’t swivel side to side. They only move up and down. This makes it easier to prevent falls!
Also, if you or your loved one has any health conditions that make the legs and feet swell, a lift chair could reduce the the swelling by lifting up your feet when you recline.
Older female adult smiling at camera. Photo by Pexels
Case in point, my grandmother developed congestive heart failure in her late eighties. She would sit in a bat wing recliner with her feet on the ground for most of the day— this is called a dependent position. Blood pools in your legs which leads to swelling.
Grandpa would very sweetly struggle to move a clunky stool along the carpet and place it under Granny’s heels to raise her legs. Watching a person with a heart history work so hard physically to move a stool was very strenuous on my heart!!!! Because it was a difficult task to do, Granny’s legs were not raised very often during the day which resulted in continuous swelling of her legs.
Mom and I talked to Granny about buying a lift chair in order for her to raise her legs whenever she wanted without the danger of Grandpa dragging furniture across the ground. Granny readily agreed to a lift chair and delighted in using it every day. Incredibly, the swelling in her legs went down quickly after a week of use!
My grandmother was a very petite person. She had to have been around 4’10”! So finding a suitable lift chair for her size was at the top of the list for us.
If you are purchasing a lift chair or helping a family member, here are the top four tips to remember when you’re shopping:
1) Sit in the lift chair.
Man sitting in recliner outside near trash. Obviously, don’t do this, BUT do try sitting in a lift chair to make sure it’s comfortable for you! Photo by Pexels.
You (or whoever is using the lift chair) need to go to the store of your choice and sit in the chair. This will help determine if the seat depth and the seat back length will work for you! If you’re petite like my Grandma, you’re bottom and legs are probably not long which means you don’t need a deep seat. When I see petite people sitting in deep seats, I observe them scooting a lot to get in and out of the chair.
Have you scooted on your bottom in a seat lately? It’s a workout! Especially if you have arthritis all over your body!
It’s beautiful that people come in all shapes and sizes. We all have different needs and feel comfort through various means.
Remember that recliners come in small, medium, tall, and extra wide. You really don’t know what will work best until you actually sit in the lift chair and feel it out!
2) How far back do you want the recliner to go?
Some recliners stop at 45 degrees while others go farther. It really depends on how you think you’ll use it.
Do you see yourself taking lots of naps in the lift chair? Or will the chair be used primarily for reading and watching TV?
If you’re sleeping a lot in the lift chair, you may want to choose the type that reclines 90 degrees.
3) Take measurements of the space you want to put the lift chair to make sure the chair in the store will fit!
Bright living room. Photo by Unsplash
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen lift chairs placed in rooms where the chair can’t even recline all the way! What a travesty! No nap for you, Grandma!
If it doesn’t look like the lift chair will fit in the space at home you had in mind, do you have the ability to move around the furniture? Or do we need to think of a different seating option?
4) Buy a SIMPLE lift chair remote with easy to push buttons or toggle switch.
There are so many fancy, schmancy remotes for lift chairs out there. I’ve seen remotes with the option to massage or move individual parts of the lift chair, like the knees for example.
At the end of the day when our memories start to work a little harder, how bad do you want to fight with the remote to lower the legs of the lift chair?
I mean, I don’t have the time to push 800 buttons to figure out how to get out of the damn chair. Do you?
Make it as easy as possible and purchase a lift chair with a remote with TWO options: up and down. That’s all you need.
Besides, I hate when chairs “massage” you. I feel like I’m being violently shaken. It’s not relaxing whatsoever.
Person holding up smiley face. Photo by Unsplash
Overall, a lift chair can be a great investment. I know some therapists frown on lift chairs because it doesn’t give that person the opportunity to “stay strong” through their legs, back, and arms if the chair pushes them up.
But to that point I argue that you can still set up the lift chair like a normal chair when standing up. It depends on the self-discipline of the individual. I appreciate lift chairs for helping people stand quickly when they have an emergent need, like going to the bathroom. Also, like I mentioned up top, they keep people independent in positioning their bodies.
Whatever your reason is for buying a lift chair, I hope these tips will help you in your journey as a consumer. You better believe I’m getting one in the future! Except it definitely will be without the massage feature!
Have you experienced purchasing a lift chair? Tell us about it in the comments below!
Remember, you better do it before you need it!