Dementia is a general term for cognitive decline that affects the person’s day-to-day functioning. As well as causing mental confusion and behavioural changes, dementia affects the person’s general mobility and coordination. These physical impairments open the need for assistive seating that will help manage their physical condition.
Alzheimer’s is a disease that affects the brain, and is one of the main (but not the only) cause of dementia.
Dementia patients may not be aware if they are positioned uncomfortably in the chair, or have the presence of mind to change their posture. Seating needs to have the right postural support and repositioning to compensate for these inadequacies. Tilt-in-space is the main positioning feature helping to centralise their alignment in the chair and alleviate pressure.
As dementia progresses, patients may spend more time seated due to cognitive decline and decreased mobility. Being seated for longer periods of time brings in the need for higher pressure relief, and this can be achieved through upgrading cushions to gel or alternating air, and using a breathable, vapour-permeable fabric such as dartex to absorb moisture. The Lento chair range includes dartex as standard, and has the full range of pressure relief options available.
There are lots of seating accessories to assist dementia patients with their condition. Accessories like trays or overchair tables assist with eating and make daily routines easier. Additional backrests like the lateral waterfall back may support their posture better if they tend to slump in the chair, and lockable handsets prevents them from adjusting the seat position unnecessarily.
There are symptoms that are common across all dementia patients, and some that might not manifest themselves until the more advanced stages, like incontinence and weakness down one side of the body.
The Lento Neuro chair has been specifically developed for patients with neurological conditions like dementia, and we have worked with dementia care experts Vida Healthcare during the development phase to make this an all-inclusive chair for dementia patients.
These are some of the typical characteristics of dementia and how the Lento Neuro can help with them.
There are other important features to consider and look for when choosing the right seating for dementia patients. Keep an eye out for the following features, which may not be as obvious, but can go a long way in improving quality of life for dementia patients.
An angled seat rake that slopes down towards the back of the chair keeps the patient secure and stops them from sliding forward if they have little postural control. Being angled slightly back in the chair helps to centralise their position, similar to tilt-in-space. The Lento Neuro has a raked seat and channelled legrest, which supports the legs and gives carers peace of mind, because the patient is secure and safe from getting up out of the chair and potentially falling.
Removable lateral supports or lateral wedges and cushions improve your client’s posture in the chair, and make them feel more supported. They may not have the mental capacity to realise when they are slumped to one side, which lateral supports will prevent.
Patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia can suffer from incontinence in the later stages, due to a loss of bladder and bowel control. Dealing with incontinence can be a troublesome issue, fortunately our Lento range of seating has features that make this considerably easier. The dartex fabric on the seat and vinyl to the outer of the chair are both waterproof, anti-ingress fabrics that can be easily wiped down. They have been designed with minimal seams and recesses that can harbour bacteria, and the removable cushions have zipped covers that can be washed separately if required.
Keeping the chair clean and free from body fluids in this way is essential to maintaining good pressure relief and skin care.
Dementia patients can feel insecure and anxious when getting out of the chair if they feel like they are losing balance. The graded vertical rise makes this process more gradual, by raising the chair vertically at first and then at a slight angle to keep the patient more balanced. This may need the carer to operate as it requires pressing two handset buttons simultaneously.
Participation in activities and communal interaction is important for dementia patients, as it helps their overall mood and condition. Being in familiar environments and familiar smells and objects all them feel more connected to the world around them. Have a chair that is mobile and being able to participate with others is a key factor, so look for braked castors, push handles and simple handsets that the patient can operate easily.
There are a range of physical features as well as cognitive decline that need managing with dementia. Fortunately, chairs like the Lento Neuro consider for all facets of the condition, with a comprehensive range of features to manage the needs of dementia patients.