Saturday, May 9, 2009

Caregiver Aids #5: Lift Recliner

When Skip was still ambulatory, though not for long distances, she used a walker around the house. As walking became more difficult for her, she would spend most of her day on the couch. Getting up from the couch became more and more of an issue for her, so we searched around for lift aids. The first we tried out was a seat lift, shown here, which you placed under yourself on the chair. When you went to stand up, the lift would give you additional oomph and help you stand. However, Skip found the device uncomfortable, so it didn't serve its purpose.

I'm not sure just when we decided to look into power recliners, but that was the solution we eventually settled on, and it worked for many years. Our mini-dachshund at the time, Sadie, was constantly by Skip's side on the couch, so we had to get a recliner with adequate seat width to comfortably seat both Skip and Sadie. As a result, we ended up buying a large recliner which proved quite expensive, but worked perfectly for years. The recliner allowed Skip to keep her legs elevated during the day, gave her a prop for her laptop (a constant companion) on the arm, space for the other constant companion, Sadie. And, most importantly, it performed a good portion of the work getting her from seated to standing position.

When Skip started using a wheelchair in the house, she eventually began to use a transfer board to get from wheelchair to recliner and vice versa. This was successful 99% of the time. Unfortunately, she did fall when transferring occasionally.
A few cons about the recliner:
  • the large size version was very expensive
  • I never saw a power recliner that wasn't pretty ugly. Our house is modern in design and somewhat in furniture so the recliner, design-wise, did not fit in
  • the second one we bought (when the first wore out) was very uncomfortable for Skip and we eventually negotiated the replacement of the seat by the manufacturer. This took a lot of pushiness and perserverance from me over an extended period of time, but ultimately resulted in a good outcome.

The key pros:

  • the recliner helped Skip retain her independence for longer than without it. Since she could get out of it on her own, she could be home alone during the day while I was at the office and did not need my help at bedtime to get from living room to bedroom.
  • with an end table holding all variety of items beside her, Sadie and laptop on the chair with her, Skip had what she needed around her throughout the day

Now that Skip uses a wheelchair full-time during the day, the recliner serves no purpose for us. Fortunately, it has proved very useful for my parents. They, too, think it's pretty ugly but have grown to love it for its comfort. It was helpful for my mother to elevate her legs while trying to heal an ankle sore. When I visit them every other Saturday, I inevitably find one of them taking advantage of it when I arrive at their home.


awb said...

That seat lift looks exceedingly uncomfortable. We are going to go look at the power recliners, I imagine they are over in the corner of the store in the ugly department?

Cranky said...

Andy - hope you find something you like. I know it's all a matter of taste, but I do find them to be ugly. Worth it, though.

Tricia said...

I have a nice leather recliner - wonder if I could get a power one in that style? :) Hubby doesn't need it yet he can still get off the couch and can get up if he falls.

I agree though - having seen them in stores - they are ugly.