Consumer research for older and disabled people

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Benefits of riser recliners

If you find it difficult to sit down and stand up, you may end up in the same chair all day unless you have someone to help you. Or if you can't get comfortable, you may end up staying in bed. Getting the right riser recliner chair can help with these difficulties and keep you independent. 

A riser recliner is good in two ways:

  • The rising action helps you sit down and stand up.
  • The reclining action can make you more comfortable, especially if you're sitting down for a lot of the day. This can help with some medical problems.

Rising

All riser recliners work on the same basic principle - you press a button on a hand control and the seat and arms (usually the whole chair) slowly raises you up so you can stand.

Man backing into raised riser recliner chairSitting down goes the other way - you position yourself on the raised seat and press a button and the seat goes down slowly.

Keep your hands on the arm rests until you're safely sitting or standing and don't need their support.

Usually the seat tips forward as well as going up, to help you get out. For some people who have weak legs or difficulty controlling their legs, this makes things harder, or just a bit scary. Some chairs can be set up to go straight up without tipping. You can see which suppliers provide this vertical lift option in our round-up of riser recliner suppliers.

Some suppliers also provide low-lift chairs that don't go up so high, and high-lift chairs for people with long legs.

If you think you need one of these special lift options, you can ask about this when you get an assessment.

Reclining

Reclining chairs are good because they let you get your feet up and lie back for a rest. You can also get yourself comfortable in different positions for different things, such as reading or watching TV.

If you're sitting down for long periods of time, a recliner is also useful because you can easily keep changing your position, which stops you from getting uncomfortable and sore. For some medical problems affecting the legs, it helps to be able to lift your legs up when sitting.

If you're getting a reclining chair because you have problems with pressure sores or other medical issues, it's a good idea to discuss this with an expert - get an assessment.

Man in riser recliner with legrest upFeet up

The leg rest ought to support the whole length of your leg.

Man lying flat in a riser recliner chairLie back

Some recliners let you lie back with your legs out straight. Some recliners go completely flat so you can sleep on them. Many professionals say it's not a good idea to sleep in your chair for long periods, but there are specially designed chair-beds for just this purpose. Ask your occupational therapist or physiotherapist if they think one of these might be suitable for you.

Man reclining in a tilt-in-space riser recliner chairTilt in space

This is important if you need the recliner to relieve pressure and soreness. The whole chair tips back - the back rest still supports your lower back and your weight is spread evenly through your whole seat and back.

Last updated: October 2016


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