Consumer research for older and disabled people

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How to get a riser recliner

Try before you buy

It's important to try out any chair properly before you buy it whether you're buying in a shop, in a showroom or having a home visit. Take your time and if you're making an appointment, tell them you mean to take your time.

Woman sitting in riser recliner chairMake sure:

  • you can operate the controls properly and use any accessories
  • you can sit down and stand up safely, without too much effort
  • you're going to be comfortable sitting for long periods

Try out the chair for at least an hour. Bring a book or something to do and make sure you try the different things you might do in the chair, such as reading, eating or watching TV. 

You can also try chairs out in your local Disabled Living Centre (DLC).

Disabled Living Centres (DLCs) are a local centres where you can go for independent advice on disability equipment. They have a wide range of equipment for you to look at and can give you free, impartial, professional advice.

Who's paying?

If you need a riser recliner to support your independence or to help with a medical condition, your local council or health service may be able to fund one for you.

If you're already seeing someone from your council or health service, and you think you need a riser recliner, ask about an assessment. If not, call your local council or see your doctor.

You can buy a riser recliner yourself. Prices range from about £350 to several thousand. It can be a big investment so it's important to make sure you get the right one.

Getting assessed

If you're buying a simple riser recliner at the bottom end of the price range, work out for yourself if it's suitable. If you need special features, get an assessment.

The assessment needs to look at your abilities taking into account where and how you're going to use the chair and for what. Ask yourself questions:

  • When will you be using the riser recliner, and for how long?
  • Do you have hobbies that you want to be able to do in your chair?
  • Do you have someone to help you at home?

If you're getting your chair from the council or health service, they'll arrange for an assessment.

Often, they'll do a shorter assessment first to work out if you qualify for the chair, then do a longer assessment later to work out which one you need. They may bring a sales rep from a supplier to do a joint assessment.

If you're buying your chair yourself, you can get a private assessment from an occupational therapist or physiotherapist. See Useful organisations for information on how to find a local therapist.

Wherever you are having your assessment, you'll probably need to book in advance. It's a good idea to tell them about any special requirements you have when you make the booking.

Home visits

Some suppliers have reps who will visit you at home to assess you for one of their chairs. They may not be trained occupational therapists, and of course they won't recommend any other suppliers' equipment. They will know their own products well - if you know what you need, they'll be able to find the right chair in their range and make sure it fits.

If a sales rep from a company is visiting you at home, it's wise to take some precautions.

Visiting reps should:

  • show identification and tell you who they represent
  • give you written information on cooling-off periods and cancellation rights
  • not use pressure or manipulate your emotions  for example, with scare stories or exaggerated claims
  • be honest about prices, and not expect an on-the-spot decision
  • leave as soon as you ask them 

If you can, make sure you:

  • have someone with you if you want some moral support
  • tell the rep you want more time to think, if you aren't entirely sure
  • know the full cost
  • understand if you are getting expensive extras, what they are for
  • don't let yourself be pressured into getting add-ons you don't need

Some suppliers belong to the BHTA which aimes to protect you against sharp selling practices. In our list of suppliers, we identify those that are members of the BHTA.

Know your consumer rights

Check to see if you know your rights when buying goods and services online or when visiting shops.
Go to consumer rights here.

Last updated: October 2016


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