Occupational Therapy Advice and Information

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Are you finding it difficult to sit down and stand up from your chair and are you having to rely on someone else to assist you or are you having to spend periods of time in bed simply to be more comfortable?

Getting the right chair can help keep you independent and can assist in managing general mobility problems, joint pains and can also help with managing fatigue.

It is important that you try a chair out before purchasing one and spend as much time as possible making your choice as there are a number of things to consider and it is important that the chair meets your needs. Otherwise you will find that you rarely use it and the problems you encountered before have not been resolved or you will continue to be dependent upon others for physical assistance or you will become increasingly bed bound.

General Points to consider for a Chair:

 Size and Support:

  •  To be comfortable, a chair needs to give you support where you specifically require it, and be just the right size for you.
  • It is fairly easy to tell if a chair is the right size, though you might need to sit in it for at least an hour to be really sure.
  • The correct seat height can be calculated by measuring the distance from the floor to the crease at the back of your knees. When seated, your hips and knees should be at right angles whilst your feet are flat on the floor whilst wearing your usual indoor shoes.
  • You should be able to sit with your bottom right at the back of the seat and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Your thighs should be level on the seat and your lower legs straight up and down.
  • To calculate the correct seat depth, measure the distance from the back of your hips, along the thighs to approximately 1.5” (3 cm) before the back of your knees.
  •  You should be able to get two fingers between your knees and the front of the seat.
  • The seat should be wide enough to fit you, but not so wide that it doesn’t give you any sideways support.
  • If the chair has arm rests, you should be able to sit between them with enough room to get your hand in on each side (Ideally, it should be the width of your hips plus a clenched fist on either side).
  • The back rest should be slightly angled backwards and should support the whole length of your back and your head. This usually means that it should have padding at the bottom to support your lower back and also at the top for your head to support your head and neck.
  • Armrests should support you comfortably under the elbows without you having to raise your shoulders as this will cause unnecessary tension in your neck, shoulder and head areas. The length of the armrests should accommodate your forearms.
  • You can use a footstool or leg rest with a standard high backed chair to keep your feet up. This should support the whole of your lower leg right down to your heel and should usually be at the same height as your seat to prevent water retention in your ankles and feet and/or causing your circulation to be compromised.
  • Ensure that the cushion on the seat is thick enough that you cannot feel the frame underneath it otherwise you could end up with pressure areas developing and this will cause a number of other problems that could result in medical treatment. This is particularly important if you are spending significant periods of time in your chair and, if this is the case, you may also need to consider purchasing a chair that has pressure relieving properties in the seat.

Are you having problems standing and sitting from your chair?


For more information of what is the best option for you, get in touch with us.