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Senior Friendly Guide to Chairs

by: Max Baumgarten on: 03-31-2010

A few words to the wise regarding the purchase of a chair for seniors: one size does not fit all. For a product that is pretty much used by every conceivable segment of the population on a daily basis, picking the right chair is a rather particular and personal experience. Sitting in a chair might seem like a natural everyday experience, a household occurrence that doesn't take much thought or planning. But a high percentage of aging adults encounter difficulty in the process. Back pain affects 80% adults, which can often be the result of a lifetime of bad habits, such as poor posture, or simply the progressive loss of bone mass (osteoporosis). While finding the right chair doesn't necessarily cure bad backs, it's safe to say that having the proper chair is a step in the right direction. There are additional age-related bodily ailments, like having a bad hip or a strained neck, that necessitate searching for a compatible chair equipped with the right ergonomic features for your body. On that note, we like to introduce you to the features that aging adults should pay attention to when purchasing a new chair.

What Seniors Should Look for in a Chair:


I. Distributes Weight to Various Parts of the Body - A chair that distributes weight evenly throughout the bodily is meant to maximize comfort. Each body part that interacts with the chair is meant to take on a certain amount of weight so no one body part bears too much pressure. This is a particularly attractive options for aging adults who suffer from widespread arthritis. So let''s say you have a fairly equal amount of discomfort in your upper back, lower back, and rear, having a chair that distributes weight evenly to various parts of the body ensures that the pain is never stressed.

Aeron by Herman Miller - The Aeron is an ergonomically designed chair, meant to enhance your sitting pleasure. Not only does the chair''s suspension system attempt to distribute weight evenly throughout, but the chair also forms and fits to your exact body type.


II. Swivel Functionality - Having the ability to spin around in a chair provides users with a sense of mobility. For aging adults who might find it tedious to engage in basic movement (like getting up to grab a glass of water thats right behind you), the swivel-option eliminates the excess move. For example, you could just spin around on the swivel and avoid having to get up out of your seat and pick up an object.Office Star Space Collection Air Grid Equipped with 360 degrees swivel action, this chair''s mobility can help you reach objects within the immediate vicinity. You can also adjust the chair''s height to be lower to the ground if you want to use your feet, and the chair''s wheel''s, to move around a room without ever having to stand up.


III. Lift Capability - A chair with a lift gradually helps to move the a sitting person to a standing position or descends a standing individual to a sitting position. These so-called lifts are plugged into the wall for electronic support. Lifts tend to be a valuable feature for seniors with arthritis and other mobility restrictions. Chairs with lift functionality can usually hold people who weigh up to 375 pounds.Pride Lift Chair Heritage Collection GL-358S - 3 Position, Petite - Almond Unlike the standard lift function which only goes into ascend/descend position, the The Pride Lift Chair moves in three different directions. The chair is actually made for the mobility impaired but essentially looks and feels like a normal easy chair.


IV. Textured Fabric - Picking a chair with the correct fabric can prevent accidents. Many seniors loose muscle mass and strength as they age and can''t really control their own bodily motions. Thus, if one starts to slip, extra texture and support can help prevent a full-blown fall if the body can''t pull itself up. Thus, if an elderly person tends to slide out of a chair easily, a chair with a rough textured fabric might be a better choice than a slick leather back.Chair-Textured Chenille Grey While the chair is quite comfortable with its deep and soft pillows, the fabric is not too slippery or slick. It''s not the say that the fabric is rough or unpleasant; it is just that the fabric''s texture provides provides enough resistance to prevent slippery situations.


V. Armrest - Most of us use armrest for mainly one purpose -- to rest our forearms while we are sitting. But armrests can actually serve a quite functional secondary purpose: it makes entrance and exit from a chair a bit easier. If we need to get up from our seat, we could use the armrest as a crutch to push up our body. If we need to sit down, the armrest can support our body while we ease our way into the seat to ensure we don''t slip and fall. Arms rests are a particularly appealing feature for aging adults with poor coordination or lack strength and need some sort of extra support to get up and down.Vinyl Conference Chair With Armrests This classy conference chair is ideal for aging adults who want a chair equipped with armrests for leverage support. Without any wheels, the chair is stable and grounded, which in essence allows one to rely upon the durable frame for assistance without worrying that it will roll away.


VI. Neck/ Head Rest -Cervical Spondylosis - also known as arthritis of the neck - is a common condition for seniors. It leads to neck discomfort and strains; having a neck/head rest won''t cure your discomfort but will help to relax the neck for the interim. Also, it should be noted that those with Cervical Spondylosis find it painful to tilt or rotate the neck but a rest will help to stabilize the neck.Ergohuman ME7ERG Gray Mesh ergonomic chair with headrest This seems to be the ideal chair for anyone who suffers from neck pain. The head rest allows your neck to relax and you don''t have to worry about excess strain, pressure, or discomfort. You can also adjust the seat''s height in order to lock the neck and head into the ideal position.


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