With awareness of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia is on the increase, so is knowledge of how these diseases affect people as they age.
Although Alzheimer’s and dementia generally do not have any immediate physical effects, other complications can arise, let’s discuss the potential positive impact that the right kind of chair can have on supporting a dementia patient.
As a supplier of specialist seating, we can specify the correct chairs for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s to stay as comfortable and supported as possible over time.
Decline in physical strength and a general reduction in mobility increases the possibility of instability when walking and moving around.
When paired with the cognitive decline that people with dementia experience, the situation can become potentially dangerous.
Comfortable seating is essential for a person living with Alzheimer’s or dementia at home or in a long-term care facility.
Someone living with Alzheimer’s or dementia may find themselves losing strength along with the ability to stand, walk or position themselves in a bed or chair.
They may be sat in their chair for prolonged periods of time, this presents risks from increased likelihood of pressure injuries to potential postural issues presenting themselves as a result sitting incorrectly.
In these situations, the right specialist chair is one that offers the correct amount of support and keeps the patient supported and comfortable while reducing the possibility of slipping and injuries.
The specialist care chair must address to issues that are likely to present themselves in someone living with dementia.
Poor posture such as slouching or leaning to one side can cause further complications. These can range from mild or serious back pain, spinal dysfunction, joint degeneration and even breathing problems.
For these reasons, it is important to maintain a good posture when sitting.
In a situation where someone is living with dementia or Alzheimer’s; it becomes even more important the specialist riser recliner or care chair can be fitted with accessories and additions such as lateral supports that assist the seated person in sitting upright and help them retain good posture.
Usually, when someone gets out of a chair, they do so by placing their palms on the armrests of their chair and lifting themselves up.
This action places a lot of pressure and strain on the arms and can be an issue for elderly people generally, as well as those with decreased body strength and a lack of mobility.
The correct chair for a dementia patient would act as a standing aid and effectively lift the seated person to a standing position using a motorised tilt function.
This mechanical movement lifts the chair and the seated person into a standing position and acts as a standing aid.
This removes the need for the seated person to get up by placing their arms on the armrest and lifting themselves up.
Another key issue to consider when looking for a chair for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia is the potential for slipping forward and sliding out of the chair.
A raked seat can help to keep the seated person in a healthy position that reduces or completely removes the potential of them sliding forwards and falling out of the chair.
Find out what else a raked seat can help with here.
The Omega care chair is equipped with a raked seat that is uniquely linked to the backrest.
Controlled by levers on the back of the chair, this function will change the angle of the seat and backrest which will keep a person seated in the chair.
A backrest with lateral support is also beneficial to people with Alzheimer’s or dementia. This is because people tend to slump to one side or another when sat for a long time, and lateral support will help them to keep a healthy midline spine position.
It also helps your client feel secure and well-supported in both care chairs and rise and recline chairs.
An extra back angle is also advantageous because it opens up your hip angle. This teamed with tilt-in-space will give you the most comfortable positioning available without compromising on support and alignment.
Tilt-in-space also helps to stop your client from sliding out of the chair and redistributes their weight over a larger surface area to prevent pressure injuries from occurring.
Whether you’re looking for a specialist rise and recliner or care chair for a loved one or a patient, several things must be constant and available in all the chairs you are considering.
One of these must have’s is a fabric(s) that is comfortable, can withstand heavy duty cleaning/use and is breathable to reduce the potential risk of pressure sores developing.
It’s not uncommon for people with Alzheimer’s or dementia to suffer from incontinence due to a loss of bladder or bowel control.
Fabric choice is key for this reason, to prevent any long-lasting damage that could be caused by accidents.
The best incontinence management technique with a specialist chair is to ideally have the chair covered in a waterproof material that can be wiped clean when required.
Having a breathable fabric will also be much more comfortable for your client when they are sat for prolonged periods of time.
The versatile and highly adjustable Lento rise and recline chair is designed with several fabrics on the user contact surfaces.
A hard-wearing Ultima vinyl on the outer shell that is designed to withstand movement and the general wear and tear of moving around.
This is ideal for hospital and care environments where the specialist chair can expect to be moved around regularly and may experience some bangs in transit.
The interior, black fabric is a medical grade fabric called Dartex, which features a comfortable and durable 4-way stretch.
This is a Vapour Permeable material that is breathable meaning you can place a pressure care cushion in the seat of the chair and experience the full pressure injury protection.
Both fabrics are easy to clean and waterproof, making them ideal for dealing with incontinence and cleaning.
Both materials can be wiped down with hospital grade cleaning products without damaging them meaning they can maintain the high levels of infection control needed in hospitals and care facilities.
With tilt in space, rise and recline along with a host of other features available to change the position of the seated individual, it is important to decide who will be in control of these features.
Access to the remote control that offers you these functions is another thing to think about it whether your client should have access to the handset.
If you are concerned that the chair user does not quite have the necessary cognitive function, then you may attach the handset to the back of the chair.
This positioning means the remote is not easily accessed and ultimately, the caregiver controls the positioning of the chair.
Key-to-lock handsets are also available, which locks the controls away from anyone who does not have a key.
Each experience with dementia is different and there are specific needs that will need to be addressed differently with each case.
However, there are some general standards that a rise and recline or care chair must meet to effectively meet the requirements of the situation.
These main factors must also be considered when specifying seating for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
For people who perhaps don’t require a riser recliner or care chair yet, then a high back chair may be more suited.
For more on when specialist seating is needed – read this piece on the Hierarchy of Provision.
The Lento Care Chair & Lento Rise & Recline Chair are both highly adjustable specialist seating solutions that can help with the reduced muscle function associated with late stage Alzheimer’s.
This can be a difficult period and finding the relevant information and equipment you can trust is extremely important.
If you would like a personal touch, please contact us and our specialist seating team will be in touch.
We can offer no obligation assessments to find the right chair for you and advice on what equipment is suitable for your situation.