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How to choose a perfect lift chair

One’s mobility is indeed a blessing often taken for granted! I realized this when I saw my grandmother struggling to stand up and sit down on her own after undergoing a knee replacement surgery. Increased dependence on people around and reduced mobility made her feel emotionally low and frustrated. The solution was a lift chair which she took to hesitatingly, but later just refused to part with. She was elated regaining her mobility with utmost ease. It also allowed her to be in different comfortable positions while seated.

Let us look at what a lift chair is, the types available and how one can choose the best lift chair.

Lift chairs as mobility aid

A lift chair is medical equipment which lifts from its base, gradually transporting the user to a standing position and similarly safely descending into a sitting position. It can be used in an upright position or reclined to different angles with the push of a button. There is adequate floor space below the chair’s front which helps the users find their center of gravity after standing up. Lift chairs are very stable and safe with no possibility of the user tipping over when helped in and out of the chair.

Lift chair features

  • While electrically operated via a hand controller, they also have an integrated battery backup system in place making them very reliable in case of power failure

  • Lift chairs offer different dimensions in terms of seat width, seat depth, back height, overall height – petite to tall

  • They have versatile weight capacity -normal to heavy duty/heavy weight capacity

  • They feature two main back styles - button backs and pillow backs. The button backs are firmer than the pillow backs. Some other choices include biscuit back, sewn pillow and split back

  • Upholstery, colors and designs include cloth, leather, velvet, vinyl and stain resistant

  • Lift chairs offer seat assists

  • They have footrest extension

  • Additional/optional features are heat and massage therapy, folding tray tables, side cushions, adjustable seat straps, etc.

Lift chairs are specifically useful to the aged, people with disabilities, infirm, those suffering from arthritisor recovering from a knee or shoulder surgery. Certain optional features, such as heat and massage, offer therapeutic advantages to those with stiff and sore joints, arthritis, back pain, swollen lower legs, ankles and feet.They can also be customized to improve postures and reduce pressure for those with spinal curvatures.
Lift chairs can be a beautiful addition to the home décor.The fabric designs and colors can complement the home interiors. The upholstery is also available in different fabric, colors and designs.

As per the recline mechanism and footrest positioning, lift chairs can be used for different purposes and are classified into three broad categories:

  1. Two-position lift chairs

  2. Three-position lift chairs

  3. Infinite position lift chairs

Let us look at each of these in detail to understand their functioning, uses and intended target user.

Two-position lift chairs

These chairs have a single motor common to the back and the footrest. Thus, as the back reclines, the footrest goes up simultaneously. They offer two positions:

  1. First is that of an upright chair wherein the back is in an upright position. When the user wants to get out of the chair, a push of a button will bend the back forward assisting the user to leave the chair.

  2. They can recline to a maximum of 45 degrees angle offering a relaxing ‘TV watching’ position.Again, when the user wants to leave the chair the controller is used to first come in a sitting position and then out of the chair.

However, the reclining back can be stopped anywhere between the upright position to 45 degrees angle by releasing the push button.

Two-position lift chairs are quite economical. Also, they do not require too much space and can easily be placed in the living room with a wall clearance of three-to-four inches. However, some of the 2-position lift chairs, such as the Med-Lift 1100 Series Two Way Reclining Lift Chair, are bariatric chairs available in larger dimensions for the obese and overweight. They employ a heavy-duty lift and reclining mechanism.
They are readily available in different sizes, weight capacity, looks and optional add-on features. For instance, the Med-Lift 1175 Series Two Way Reclining Lift Chair bears quite a contemporary look and provides heat and massage benefits.

Three-position lift chairs

Three-position lift chairs also have a single motor common to the back and footrest. So, the back and footrest operate in tandem with each other. As the back reclines, the footrest rises simultaneously. They allow the user to be in three comfortable positions:

  1. First is that of an upright chair wherein the back is in an upright position. When the user wants to get out of the chair, a push of a button will bend the back forward assisting the user to leave the chair.

  2. They can recline to 45 degrees angle offering a relaxing ‘TV watching’ position. Again, when the user wants to leave the chair the hand controller is used to first come in a sitting position and then out of the chair.

  3. They can recline further to a comfortable napping/lying down position, wherein a V angle is formed between the back and the seat. As and when the user wants to get off the chair, a hand-pressed button will bring the chair to an upright position and then bend the back forward helping the user leave the chair.

However, the reclining back can be adjusted anywhere between these three positions by releasing the push button. The Med-Lift 25 Series Lift Chair is available in both two and three recline positions.

Combining comfort and style, 3-position lift chairs employ heavy-duty lift mechanism. Offering real value for money, they are available in varied sizes, seat widths, height, user weight capacity, fabric, colors, back styles and add-on features. If one is looking for a more comfortable back rest, Med-Lift Model 4653 Three Way Recline Lift Chair meets the purpose. It has a four-pillow waterfall style back which is fiber filled. It does not sag and retains its original shape.

Infinite position lift chairs

These chairs operate on dual motors, one each for the back and the footrest. So, now that the back and the footrest are independent of each other, they can be adjusted separately by the user to suit his/her needs. The hand controller has two separate push buttons for the back and footrest each. The back can recline to 180 degrees angle and even further.
Consequently, these chairs possess a much higher functionality than 2-and 3-position lift chairs. Thus, other than sitting upright, being in a TV watching position and napping position, there are many more comfortable positions that one can manage with infinite position lift chairs. The Med-Lift 59 Series Bentley Lift Chair with its overstuffed back and pillow arms provides ultimate comfort in all the positions. It can even be upholstered to give the look and feel of ‘real’ leather without the cost of real leather.

Healthy positions

How to choose a perfect lift chair

Trendelenburg position: The user lies down flat on his back with his feet higher than the head by 15 to 30 degrees. It improves the blood circulation in the lower extremities. This allows various therapeutic benefits for congestive heart failure, edema or other circulatory conditions where patients need to keep their feet elevated above their head for some amount of time every day.

How to choose a perfect lift chair

Zero gravity position: While in a reclined position, the user elevates the feet above the heart and the head forming a torso to leg angle of around 130 degrees. This releases the strain of gravity on the spine, bringing it in a neutral position and relieving all sorts of back pains. Besides the spine, this position reduces muscle tension, decreases stress on the heart and improves lung capacity. As a result, the entire body experiences a heightened state of relaxation.

Like all the other lift chairs, infinite position lift chairs are also available in a variety of sizes, dimensions, weight capacity, colors and fabrics, aesthetics and add-on features.

For instance, the Med-Lift 5400 Wall a Way Recline Lift Chair with Paisley Print Lumbar Pillow is a fast-moving item because of its space saving feature. It can be placed within 3 inches of a wall when fully reclined. It also uses a long lasting and durable cushion system which contains high density fortified steel springs.

Key factors to consider while choosing a perfect lift chair

  1. Purpose: If someone needs a lift chair for purely relaxation purposes, then a basic model of a 2- or 3-position lift chair would do the trick. But for those who spend a lot of time in the chair, suffer from hypertension and are home bound, an infinite position lift chair would be a better deal any day.

  2. Budget: A basic 2-position lift chair is much more economical than a heavy-duty dual motor infinite lift chair. Add on features will further increase cost.

  3. Dimensions: The seat’s width and depth, the back’s height, chair’s overall height, weight capacity, back style, type of upholstery, add-on features, space availability, are other deciding factors in play. Those with space constraints can always opt for a wall hugger space saving piece of lift chair.

 

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