Chairs and the Elderly


When I was moving mom and dad to assisted living, I had to replace their living room chairs they had because they were worn out.  At that time someone told me (don’t remember if it was a nurse or even someone in the store showroom) that I should not get rocking chairs.  Rocking chairs might move when the elderly person is sitting down or standing up and make them unsteady enough to fall.

I was also told that the chairs should be firm for good support and have armrests to grab when sitting and standing.  I ended up choosing Lazy Boy chairs that did not rock, but did recline for both mom and dad.  Mom used her chair as a regular straight chair (without reclining it) and found it very comfortable.

Dad always likes to sit back in his recliner and take his naps there.  When I moved dad to his current assisted living facility, he had to wait almost 2 weeks for his furniture to arrive.  In the meantime he didn’t have a comfortable chair in his room.  The chair he had was too soft and did not recline.  He asked about his Lazy Boy chair every day until it finally arrived.  Now he has grown so used to his Lazy Boy that we even moved it to his temporary room for the several weeks he had to be in the nursing home.

I was thinking about this yesterday as dad was in the lounge when I visited him at his assisted living facility.  He was in a different lounge from where he usually sits and he was in a straight back upholstered chair that I later realized was coveted by a lot of the residents.

One reason that his chair was so popular was that all 4 of the sofas in the 2 lounges were way too soft.  Once a resident or visitor sits in one of the sofas, they have a very difficult time getting up again.  I always have that difficulty myself when I visit dad while he is sitting in the lounge.

I overheard some of the residents talking about the chairs while I sat talking to dad.  One of the residents suggested that a newcomer sit on the sofa.  She said she couldn’t do that as she would never be able to get up again.  She had to sit in one of the single chairs available or on her walker.  (Even some of the chairs are too soft and difficult to get out of.)

As I drove home, I wondered why an assisted living facility like that one would keep so many uncomfortable chairs and sofas in the lounges and even in some of the rooms.  I noticed that the firmer chairs always get taken before the seats on the sofas and many people are unable to use the sofas at all.  The funny thing is that although dad also has trouble standing up from the sofa, he still sits in one most days.  I don’t know if he doesn’t remember that he will have difficulty standing, or if it doesn’t bother him enough yet.

I thought about saying something to the director of the assisted living facility.  Then I decided to wait and save my complaints and suggestions for something more immediately pressing.  I still think this is important; however I don’t believe they would spend the money to get new chairs or sofas.  Therefore, I decided it would be unproductive to complain at this time.

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About letstalkaboutfamily

I am a retired and was the primary caregiver for both my parents before they passed. I have children and grandchildren. This blog is an attempt to connect with other caregivers and share ideas and experiences. I hope you will let me know what worked for you if you had an experience similar to mine. The main issues I am going to talk about are elder care, death and dying, assisted living, family relationships and hoarders and hoarding. Other topics will come up as I address the issues and my relationship with other family members.
This entry was posted in Assisted Living Facility, Caregiving, chairs, Eldercare, furniture and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Chairs and the Elderly

  1. boomer98053 says:

    Unfortunately, when companies are designing and outfitting their facilities they’re thinking of the aesthetics of the place – what looks great to the family members who are touring the building and possibly moving mom/dad into – rather than the practical matters important to the residents. Feel free to drop in an anonymous suggestion into a suggestion box that might exist in that facility’s lobby or reception area.

    • Thanks. You are absolutely right. All the facilities concentrate too much efforts on marketing and not enough on day to day comfort for the residents. I like your idea of using the suggestion box. I am pretty sure they still have one in the lobby. I will follow through on this.

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