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The living room is where you come to relax. After a possibly tiring day, you come there to unwind and rest. You want to be comfortable, to listen to music, watch a film or a TV programme, or just to have a chat and a drink with friends and family.
But sometimes, especially if you live alone and are disabled, the living room can be a place of unseen problems. Armchairs that are not adaptable, side tables that are not manoeuvrable, TV remote controls that are too small to see and operate with arthritic hands, rugs that can cause accidents, are only a few of the problems that disabled people may encounter.
In this article we will cover some of the best living room mobility aids to help maximize your comfort and allow you to remain safe in your living room.
Stand-N-Go (Stand Assist Handles)
Anyone with reduced lower mobility who may struggle to get off a couch or chair may benefit from using stand assist handles.
Stand assist handles fit onto a couch or chair and they provide extra leverage to help someone to stand as well as sit down with ease.
Depending on your model of couch or chair, you can either fit the adjustable frame underneath or around the top of the chair’s cushion. The frame is height and width adjustable so it can be adjusted to suit most types of chairs and couches.
The stand and assist comes with two handles and it has weight capacity of 300 pounds, it can provide maximum support when sitting and standing from a chair and it can help to prevent falls.
Able Tray Table
The Able Tray is a two in one aid, not only does it come with a stand assist handle to help users steady themselves when standing and sitting from a couch or chair, but it also comes with a swivel tray with a built-in cup holder and accessory compartment which rotates 360 degrees. The swivel tray is perfect to eat from, store handy items, surf the web or read all from the comfort of your chair.
In order to fit one, place the feet of the chair over the base pads of the Able Tray. The Able Tray is height (34″ to 40″) and depth (20″ to 36″) adjustable so it should fit most couches, chairs and lift chairs.
The grip handle has been ergonomically designed and it supports weights up to 250 lbs allowing users to easily support and steady themselves when getting up and sitting from a chair.
Over Chair Table
For anyone who needs to sit down for extended periods of time, an over chair table can make tasks such as reading, eating, drinking or writing much more comfortable for the user. Over chair tables are height adjustable so they can fit over most types of chairs.
Many come with wheels so they can be easily manoeuvred into place with ease and they can be used throughout the home and in the bedroom, perfect if you like breakfast in bed.
They can also be tilted to suit the needs of the user which can help to promote a better sitting positon and reduce the strain on aching joints.
The below table from Platinum Health has a split surface design which allows the main table to tilt while the smaller fixed section remains stationary. It’s u-shaped base means it can accommodate all types of chairs. When the table is not in use, it can be folded down and conveniently stored away.
Raising the height of a chair can make it easier for users with reduced mobility to stand and sit down from a low lying chair.
It is a cheaper alternative then having to buy a new couch or lift recliner and it can make your existing chair much more comfortable. It also helps to elevate you in the chair which means it can reduce the pressure on your lower limbs when having to stand or sit from a chair.
Depending on your chair, a booster cushion can be placed under or on top of the existing seat cushion.
For anyone suffering with rheumatoid arthritis, the simple task of gripping and turning a doorknob can prove painful as well as challenging.
Fitting a doorknob grip sleeve to your doorknobs can make opening doors much easier. It fits over an existing round doorknob and it allows users with limited hand dexterity to open a door with ease.
It has a wing-tipped design and it is made from non-slip silicone so it’s easy to grip and it can be turned with just one finger. It also comes with a glow in the dark insert which makes finding the doorknob at night so much easier.
Fitting one takes less than a minute and it is more cost effective than having to replace your door knobs with levels. In order to fit one, you first need to wet it under hot water for 30 seconds to allow it to expand, next you just need stretch it over the doorknob and that’s all that is required.
An alternative way to raise the height of a chair is by using furniture risers. Furniture risers fit under a chair or a piece of furniture in order to increase the height and they are extremely easy and quick to fit.
The following furniture raisers come in 3 different height options including 8″, 5″ and 3″. They are made from heavy-duty unbreakable plastic and can support weights up to 1300 lbs.
Upeasy Seat Assist
The Upeasy seat assist is a portable mechanical lifting assist seat. It is placed on a chair and it helps users to get up from it.
The device is self-powered and uses a hydro-pneumatic gas spring which means it requires no batteries or electricity. It can be used on most couches and chairs and it can lift up to 80 of percent of a user’s weight and it can support weights up to 300 lbs.
In order to set-up the Seat Assist, turn it upside down and then pry it open. Next slide the lifting arm into the correct slot which corresponds closest to your weight. So, let’s say you weigh 120 lbs, you would slot the lifting arm into the 120 lbs slot.
The lifting mechanism activates automatically as you begin to stand up which helps to reduce the strain on your legs and provides extra leverage when attempting to get up.
The mobility aids weighs only 9 lbs and it comes with a built-in carry handle so it’s extremely portable so it can be used throughout the house as well as outside.
When attempting to lift someone from a chair or couch, it can put unnecessary strain on your arms and back and it can often prove challenging especially if the individual if heavier than yourself.
A better way to help lift someone who may lack lower body strength to a standing position is by using a standing handle. The portable and simple to use device contains non-slip padded ergonomic handgrips on either side.
In order to use the standing handle, the carer holds onto one set of handgrips, while the patient holds onto the other end. The carer can then use the handle to help lift the user more efficiently from their chair and this helps to avoid any grabbing or arm pulling.
Nothing beats relaxing back on a comfortable recliner. This is particularly true for users with limited mobility who may suffer with chronic pain who may need to sit down for extended periods.
A recliner can be adjusted to different seating positions to suit the needs of the user. The use of recliner can help someone to forget about their aches and pains while they relax reading or watch TV.
Recliners come in a range of different styles, the most common styles include:
Traditional Two-Position Recliner
This type of recliner comes with two seating positions, upright and recline. In order to release the footrest on the recliner, you either touch the lever or button depending on the chair and it will recline back with the help of your body weight. This type of chairs require more space although it is normally the most affordable type of recliner.
As the name suggests, this type of recliner will allow the user to rock back and forth. These types of chair will normally have several reclining angles. A rocker recliner costs slightly more than a traditional two-position one although it does have the advantage that it takes up less space.
In order to activate the reclining mechanism on a push-back recliner, you simply need to lean back into the seat in order for the chair to recline. This type of recliner does not come with a built-in footrest although a separate footrest or ottoman can be purchased separately if required.
Due to the recliner not having a footrest, it means it takes less room up than a two-position recliner or a rocker recliner so it’s suitable for smaller sized living rooms.
Rise and Recline Chair
A lift or power recliner is a motorized reclining chair that can be reclined automatically to the desired angle with a simple touch of a button. It can also rise you from a sitting to a standing position which means less effort is required to get out of a chair which is perfect for users who struggle to get out of a regular couch or recliner.
This type of recliner comes normally with either a single or dual motor. Single motor chairs are only able to recline the backrest and footrest together. With dual motor models, the backrest and the footrest can be operated separately. This allows for greater adjustability which means you can alter the chair until it’s just right for your particular needs.
A riser recliner requires the most space so it needs to be placed well away from walls and other obstructions.
Always check first the minimum and maximum dimensions of a recliner to ensure it will fit into your living room. Remember a riser recliner will take up more space than a push-back recliner so always measure the area where you intend on using the chair to ensure it will accommodate it.
Riser recliners are ideally suited for users who suffer with limited mobility who may struggle to sit and stand unaided and where the factor of comfort is the upmost importance.
A good way to help with painful and weary legs is to use a foot stool. Sitting down with your legs elevated can help to improve circulation in your lower limbs as well as alleviate ankle and feet swelling and prevent fatigue.
They are particularly recommended for anyone recovering from surgery such as knee or hip replacement or for anyone who suffers with painful arthritis.
Foot stools come in a wide variety of types and sizes. Some foot stools are height and tilt-adjustable which allow for maximum comfort and they are normally constructed from either soft or solid material to suit different requirements.
Hand Grip Reacher
A hand grip reacher can provide a useful way to extend your grabbing reach while remaining seated. With these reaching aids you avoid having to bend down unnecessary in order to pick things up and this means you avoid having to strain your painful limbs.
Grip reachers come in a wide range of types and sizes. The following reacher from Ettore is recommended. It’s durable rubber clamp can rotate at 90 degrees which means you can pick up anything you may have dropped even in the tightest of spaces. It can securely hold up to 5 pounds in weight which should be suitable for most needs.
For wheelchair users with reduced lower mobility, transferring to and from a chair can be challenge. To help in these situations, a useful mobility aid which can be used is a transfer board.
A transfer board can help to bridge the gap between a wheelchair and chair. The user can transfer easily without ever having to stand up which can help to reduce the risk of falls.
The below model from BeasyTrans model comes with a rotating seat that slides along the length of the board which makes transfers quicker and easier. The transfer board is 32″ long and 10″ wide and supports weights up to 400 lbs.
Flipper Big Button TV Remote Control
Anyone who suffers with painful arthritic hands will know that operating small buttons on a remote control can often prove a hopeless task. Gone are the days when a remote control would only have a few buttons, nowadays they have hundreds of buttons that are too small and you now seem to need a degree to operate one.
Thankfully help is in hand with the Flipper big button remote control. The universal remote contains large-coded tactile buttons that can be operated easily with arthritic hands. It works on most TV’s as well as set-top boxes. The TV remote control allows you to program up to 30 favorite channels which means you only get to see the content that you actually want to watch.
Coccyx Wedge Cushion
A wedge cushion can help to promote a better seating position and it can relieve the pressure on the lower back as well as the legs.
Wedge cushions contain a cut-out section for the coccyx area which can help to alleviate back pain and other musculoskeletal conditions. The cushion has been especially shaped to help tilt the pelvis forward to align the spine and therefore helping to support a more natural posture.