Best Chairs For Patients with Parkinson’s Disease | The Features To Look For

The Best Features To Look For In Recliner & Lift Chairs for Parkinson’s Patients

Finding the ideal rise recliner or care chair for someone with Parkinson’s Disease involves finding a solution that enables better mobility and independence, which can be a challenge as it is a condition that presents itself in many different ways. 

Fortunately, there are chairs available that can provide comfort and support for individuals with Parkinson’s disease. In the UK, these patient chairs or treatment chairs can usually be found in healthcare settings, hospitals, as well as care and nursing homes, anywhere that you may expect to find patients receiving treatment and rehabilitative care.

Patient chairs and treatment chairs are designed to be adjustable and provide a comfortable seating option for individuals with mobility issues.

These chairs can help alleviate discomfort and stiffness associated with Parkinson’s disease and allow patients to rest and recover more comfortably. With features like reclining backrests, variable angle tilt, adjustable footrests, headrests, and lumbar support, these chairs can be customized to meet individual needs and preferences.

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How Does Parkinson’s Impact Seating Needs?

Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects the central nervous system and causes damage to specific areas of the brain. By attacking nerve cells in the brain, Parkinson’s prevents the production of the hormone dopamine, which helps to regulate muscle movement. This can cause uncontrollable shaking and tremors in certain areas of the body, slow movements, balance issues and stiff muscles which reduces a person’s mobility.

Diagram explaining that posture and pressure care are both reliant on the correct seat sizing.

The postural instability that can be caused by Parkinson’s may also bring about, stiffness, tremors, reduced mobility. When sitting in a chair for prolonged periods of time, there is also an increased risk of pressure sores. As a result, the right chair can make a big difference in their comfort and overall wellbeing.

If you’re looking to buy a chair to help support someone with Parkinson’s disease, it’s important to consider their unique seating needs.

Patient Treatment Chair for Parkinson’s | What to Look For

When choosing a patient chair or treatment chair for someone with Parkinson’s disease, there are several key features to consider to ensure the chair provides maximum comfort and support.

When choosing a chair, it’s important to consider factors such as the person’s height, weight, and body shape, as well as any specific needs they may have due to their Parkinson’s. Look for chairs with sturdy frames, comfortable padding, and easy-to-use adjustment features.

Variable Angle Lift (VAL)

When looking for rise and recline chairs to support someone with Parkinson’s Disease, Variable Angle Lift (VAL) is a useful feature to look out for. It is a setting that can be altered on some riser recliner chairs, and give your client a few different ways to be lifted to standing from a seated position. Particularly for ambulant people, VAL gives them a little more support and peace of mind when getting to their feet.

A patient treatment recliner chair with variable angle tilt can be particularly beneficial for someone with Parkinson’s. This feature allows patients to adjust the angle of the chair to a position that is most comfortable and supportive for their body.

What is Variable Angle Tilt?

Variable angle tilt is a feature in some patient treatment chairs that allows the user to adjust the angle of the seat and backrest independently to a position that is most comfortable and supportive for their body.

This means that the angle between the seat and backrest can be changed to create a more customized and comfortable seating position. Variable angle tilt can be especially important for patients who are recovering from an illness or surgery, or who have limited mobility.

With variable angle tilt, someone who prefers to sit with their legs at a slightly different angle than their torso can adjust the seat angle to accommodate this. Similarly, someone who wants to recline slightly while still maintaining good posture can adjust the backrest angle to achieve this.

Variable angle tilt can be particularly useful for people who spend long periods sitting in a chair, as it can help to reduce the risk of discomfort and pain associated with prolonged sitting. It can also be beneficial for people with specific health conditions or injuries that require a more customized seating position.

There are usually 3 different lifting options on a chair with VAL:

  1. Regular rise and lift usually found in most rise and recline chairs.
  2. The middle setting offers a rising movement with less tilt in the seat, giving extra support to find your feet when standing up.
  3. A vertical rise movement which keeps the seat flat throughout.

The typical action of a riser recliner will simply tip the individual out of the chair, and if their balance or leg strength is already inhibited, this could cause them to simply fall over. With Parkinson’s, you may find that the middle option or the vertical rise is best-suited to your client. The extra support of the seat will help to find their footing and stand when ready, ultimately preventing falls.

Variable Angle Tilt Turns Your Chair Into a Standing Aid

Variable angle tilt in a patient treatment chair can help with getting out of the chair, especially for people with Parkinson’s disease who may struggle with mobility and balance.

The ability to adjust the angle of the chair can make it easier for patients to stand up from a seated position. By tilting the chair forward, the patient can shift their centre of gravity and bring their feet closer to the ground, which can make it easier to stand up. This feature can be particularly helpful for people with Parkinson’s who may have difficulty standing up from a seated position due to postural instability, stiffness, and reduced mobility.

Variable angle tilt can also help with getting in and out of the chair in general. By adjusting the angle of the chair to a position that is most comfortable and supportive for their body, patients can move more easily and safely in and out of the chair.

It’s important to note that while variable angle tilt can be helpful, it’s not a replacement for proper mobility and balance training, which is essential for people with Parkinson’s. Patients should work with a healthcare provider to develop a comprehensive plan for managing their Parkinson’s symptoms, which may include the right patient treatment chair with variable angle tilt.

Raked Seating

This is usually used more with care chairs than it is with rise and recline models, but a raked seat can also help when it comes to supporting Parkinson’s symptoms.

A raked seat is positioned so the back of the seat itself is slightly lower than the front. If you’ve ever been to the theatre, then you’ve probably sat in a raked seat.

People with Parkinson’s often struggle with sliding out of their chairs. Tremors and limited core strength makes it more difficult to maintain a healthy upright position when seated, meaning that those living with Parkinson’s often begin to slump and slide forwards.

Having a raked seat means that the person less likely to slide forwards because their hips and pelvis are cradled in a more stable position against the backrest.


Tilt-in-space is also a useful thing to consider when specifying a care chair or a riser recliner. Tilt-in-space is a particularly beneficial feature on most chairs, but it has its uses specifically in chairs for people with Parkinson’s. Take a look at our more in depth insight into tilt in space.

Tilt in space vs recline diagram

Like the raked seat, tilt-in-space will help you to maintain a healthy posture. By tilting backwards but maintaining your hip angle, tilt-in-space allows the individual to remain in the same position but with reduced pressure on their sacrum and posterior. This will help the client to keep their position despite shaking.

One particular chair that offers tilt-in-space features for those with Parkinson’s is our Lento mobile patient chair . This riser recliner actually pivots the seated person from the front of the seat, giving them the ability to attain a tilted position without their feet leaving the floor.

Positioning Supports

Non-ambulatory and ambulatory people with Parkinson’s may require some extra positioning supports in their chairs. People with Parkinson’s often develop poor posture due to muscle rigidity and stiffness, so getting their chair to be as supportive as possible is key.

People with Parkinson’s Disease are more likely to develop postural problems like a forward-leaning head, rounded shoulders, and a noticeable lean forward. Thoracic kyphosis is more likely to occur in those with Parkinson’s, so positioning supports can help to combat this.

You might want to include a built-in support wherever it is most helpful on the client, and you can remove some of the wadding in the backrest around the thoracic area to reduce the chances of pressure injuries occurring.

Lento patient Care and treatment Chair accessories pack

Lateral supports are also good to include, particularly if your client is leaning or slumping to one side. We would suggest using softer supports, as harder cushions can actually have an adverse effect on the individual’s posture.

Specialist chairs that provide lateral support and adjustability can help to address the issue, but in some cases, additional medical treatment or therapy may be needed to address the underlying condition.

The Lento patient care and treatment chair was built to support the comfort, treatment and rehabilitation of people who may lean to one side in a chair. The care chair and riser recliner chair versions of the Lento offer an array of positioning support configurations and feature built-in lateral supports.

Pressure Relief & Waterproof Fabrics

Particularly with non-ambulatory clients, pressure relief and waterproofing are key things to consider when specifying a care chair. People with severe Parkinson’s can be sat down for hours and hours every day.

This makes them much more susceptible to pressure injuries. Wherever possible, we always recommend built-in pressure relief cushions.

Waterproof fabrics are also something to be thought about when specifying for non-ambulatory clients. Parkinson’s Disease can often cause incontinence, and so ensuring that the chair (or at least the seat cushion) is covered in a waterproof fabric can be particularly useful.

As mentioned before, Parkinson’s can be presented in an array of ways. It varies massively from person to person, and of course you’ll also find that your clients will vary between needing a riser recliner and care chairs.

Parkinson’s is a disease that varies massively from client-to-client. It’s also progressive, and so will gradually get worse over time. With that in mind, it’s best to choose chairs for people with Parkinson’s that offer flexibility and can be altered for changing needs over time.

Useful Seating Features for the Late Stages of Parkinson’s

As Parkinson’s progresses, symptoms grow and become more disruptive for the individual concerned. Some of the cognitive side effects match those of dementia, like memory loss and delusions. At this stage, drugs may start to become less effective at managing the symptoms.

Patients may have severe postural issues, like kyphosis or curvature of the spine, which will need more advanced seating to manage.

The Lento Neuro has a cocooned-shaped seat, creating space to support deformed postures and provide maximum comfort.

The raked seat of the Lento Neuro keeps the patient angled back in their chair, altering their centre of gravity and relieving pressure, as well as keeping them secure and preventing them sliding forward. The incremental backrest recline also helps open up the back angle further, assisting swallowing or breathing difficulties in the late stages of the disease.

The Lento Neuro chair

The Lento Neuro chair

Measuring For a Chair | Seating Assessments

It is important to note that being assessed before getting a rise and recliner or care chair can be very helpful. An assessment by a qualified healthcare professional can help ensure that you get the right type of chair to meet your specific needs.

A healthcare professional can assess factors such as your size, weight, mobility, and any medical conditions you may have to recommend the most suitable type of chair for you. They can also assess your posture and provide advice on how to use the chair safely to avoid any potential harm.

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In addition, an assessment can help determine if you are eligible for financial assistance to help cover the cost of the chair. Some chairs may be available through the NHS or other healthcare providers, while others may require you to purchase them privately.

An assessment can provide valuable information to help ensure that you get the most suitable chair for your needs, improve your comfort and quality of life, and avoid any potential harm or injury.

If you would like a personal and professional touch, our qualified assessors are able to


It’s important to identify the underlying cause of a person leaning to one side in a chair, this helps greatly when selecting the appropriate seating solution. In addition to selecting the right chair, it’s also important to ensure a patient knows how to use their treatment chair properly to maximise its benefits. Caregivers or healthcare professionals can help educate the chair user on how to adjust the chair to find a comfortable position and ensure they are sitting and getting up from the chair safely.

At Vivid.Care, we work closely with healthcare providers and caregivers to ensure that our chairs are part of a holistic approach to addressing postural issues in elderly individuals.

To help you specify the right chair, our seating assessors have come up with a few things to think about when it comes to clients with Parkinson’s. To see more hints and tips concerning specifying specialist seating for Parkinson’s, download this free seating eBook.

If you would like more personalised guidance when choosing your therapy chair, contact us or book an assessment, our qualified assessors will help you find the ideal seating solution for you.

Book a seating assessment today:

We understand that getting the right type of chair is crucial for your comfort, mobility, and quality of life. That’s why we offer professional assessments to help you find the perfect chair to meet your specific needs.

Our assessors are highly trained healthcare professionals who can travel to your residence to perform the assessment in the comfort of your own home. This is designed to make you feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible during the assessment process.

During the assessment, our assessors will take the time to understand your specific needs and recommend the most suitable chair for you. They will also provide advice on how to use the chair safely to avoid any potential harm.

So if you’re looking for a chair that provides maximum comfort and mobility, we encourage you to take advantage of our assessment service. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our assessors and experience the difference that a professionally assessed chair can make in your life.

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Date Published


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Author avatar


Brian Chege

Brian is a university graduate with a particular interest in researching and writing about healthcare topics, including medical conditions, and current NHS issues and solutions. To ensure his articles are relevant and accurate, Brian uses UK government and private sector reports, and draws on a vast network of independent occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and healthcare professionals to both inform and verify his work.

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