Help for Elderly to Get Out of Chairs

by Fran
(Brampton, Ontario)

My mom is 87 years old and has quite a bit of dementia. She still lives in her own home, but my brother and wife are living there with her.

I've seen them try and help her get out of the chair by holding her hands and have heard this is not a good method.

What is the best way to assist my mom to get up off a chair other than automatic chair lifts.

What are the best techniques to provide help for the elderly to get out of chairs?

REPLY from
You're absolutely right, there are better methods for assisting seniors to get out of chairs.

The method you describe - help her get out of the chair by holding her hands - is a very common technique.

The main drawback of this method is that it can cause muscle and joint strain to both those assisting as well as the one being assisted (in this case your mom).

Backs, shoulders and necks are the main areas at risk. For obvious reasons, it's important to keep both your mom and her caregivers healthy.

There can also be over-compensation by a helper that can result in a fall by pulling to hard or not hard enough.

There are safer methods other than buying an electric lift chair.

Safest Solution

The safest solution is to enable your mom to be independent with getting up from sitting.

The main reasons why seniors/elderly have difficulty getting up from sitting is because the seat
is too low and/or there is nothing to push/pull from.

1) Increase seat height - You can do this by raising the whole chair/couch. Put it up on blocks or use furniture risers. You can also do this by adding high density cushions.

2) Something to push/pull - A chair with armrests is the easiest solution. Other solutions are installing floor to ceiling transfer poles.

Alternative to Electric Lift Chairs

There are cushions that are either battery powered or spring powered that assist seniors in getting up from chairs. They are portable and less expensive than electric lift chairs. Two models are the UpEasy Power Seat and Seat Assist.

Technique to Physically Assist

Although the safest option is to change the set up of the chair/couch so that your mom can do it on her own, there are ways to make it safer to physically assist her.

1) Transfer belt - I would suggest getting a transfer belt that your brother/sister can put around your mom. It gives them something to grab on rather than pulling on her arms or clothes.

2) Proper body positioning - Encourage your brother and sister to use proper lifting techniques such as bending knees (not their back), no twisting while lifting and use a wide stance. It's also important to communicate with your mom as to what she can do to help.

A Recliner Lift Chair is also an option.

For more information on taking care of elderly parents, read about help for elderly.

Thank you,

Comments for Help for Elderly to Get Out of Chairs

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rising from sofa or chair or bed NEW
by: Anonymous

I found the placing a kitchen straight back chair in front of the patient and I sit in the chair sideways to see what is happening helped a lot.

The ezlift vest has been a life saver!
by: Anonymous

I was looking for some help so I did not hurt myself when going out with my patient. The Ez lift vest was a lifesaver being able to easily transfer from one place to another. It is helped both me and my patient. I just wanted to share. The website is if anyone is looking for help. I hope you all have a good day and take care.

by: Kalpana

There are walkers available which can help them get up from the chair and walk

helping the elderly rise from a chair
by: Anonymous

I agree that pictures or video would be a better help than just words I belong to a small club and we are all over sixty but for one lady it is hard for us to get her out of the chair after our meeting links to portable aids ie the belt method would have been a help

Lifting patient from chair
by: Anonymous

I checked several sites and most instructions were terrible.....
People need to see actual videos on how to lift a person
From a chair....not to read paragraphs of information that doesn't mean anything.....a picture is worth a thousand words.

Why does everyone have to make things so complicated...

Thank you
by: Anonymous

I just stumbled upon this website. I am also trying to find the best techniques for helping my dad to stand and also to get in and out of the shower. I appreciate your post!

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