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What are the key characteristics of a chair suitable for elderly?
- the height of the seat: the knees should not be higher than the seat if the person is tall and the feet should be flat on the floor if the person is short.
- the depth of the seat: as deep as possible to maximise the surface area and reduce pressure on the seat, without the front of the seat pressing against the calf (so as not to impede venous return to the popliteal fossa).
- the width of the seat: not too narrow, of course, but also too wide, so that the armrests can be used as a stabiliser and as an aid to getting up.
- the inclination of the seat and backrest: a seat angle of about 10° allows the person to be securely seated in the chair, without it being too difficult to get up; if the chair is installed around a table, allow for a smaller angle of about 3° and the person is at risk of getting a pressure sore, allow for a larger angle so that the upper body weight is supported by the backrest.
- a lateral wedging : a very effective solution is to position thin pads between the trunk and the arms, under the armpits (they are adjustable in width and fixed to the backrest) ; a rounded headrest or ears will help to wedge the head and avoid draughts in the neck.
- Removable cushions; avoid coated fabrics that are easy to wash but on which you perspire, as perspiration weakens the fabric; there are fabrics coated with polyurethane that are waterproof, permeable to water vapour and elastic.
Mistakes to avoid
- the ugly chair, because it's degrading...
- the reclining backrest with a seat that does not recline, because it slides forward.
- imitation leather cushions in which you perspire.
- the chair that is too big or too small
The ideal armchair
It is made to measure from the measurements of the elderly person.
The cushions are adapted to the risk of pressure sores, evaluated by a doctor or therapist. If the risk is low, the high resilience Bultex foam is very comfortable (density 40 kg for the seat and 30 kg for the backrest).
The inclination of the chair is defined with therapists, according to the activities of the person or his need for support. If necessary, side cushions help to support the person.
The chair has a style that pleases the resident.
Accessories complete the equipment according to the activity: shelf, reading light, wheels for moving around, etc.