Specialist seating for people with dementia/Alzheimer’s
We’re all becoming more aware of dementia and Alzheimer’s and how these diseases affect people as they age. Although they may not have any immediate physical effects, we can specify seating for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s to stay as comfortable and supported as possible over time.
One key problem for people with Alzheimer’s or dementia is that they slip forward in their chair. This is certainly something to be concerned about in terms of a lack of postural support and poor positioning that may result in pressure injuries and spinal pain.
A raked seat can help to keep your client in a healthy seated position with very little chance of sliding forwards in the chair (find out what else a raked seat can help with here). The Flexi Porter care chair is equipped with this as well as a sliding footplate, which also help to stop you from sliding forward because they can keep their feet on the ground.
In terms of riser recliner chairs, the Le Chair is a popular option in seating for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s. This chair innovatively allows the seat to tilt backwards and become raked whilst your client can keep their feet on the ground.
Backrest and Back Angle
A backrest with lateral support is also beneficial to people with Alzheimer’s or dementia. This is because people tend to slump to one side or another when sat for a long time, and lateral support will help them to keep a healthy midline spine position. It also helps your client feel secure and well-supported in both care chairs and rise and recline chairs.
An extra back angle is also advantageous because it opens up your hip angle. This teamed with tilt-in-space will give you the most comfortable positioning available without compromising on support and alignment. Tilt-in-space also helps to stop your client from sliding out of the chair and redistributes their weight over a larger surface area to prevent pressure injuries from occurring.
Fabrics and Handsets
It’s not uncommon for people with Alzheimer’s or dementia to suffer from incontinence, so fabric choice is key. To prevent any long-lasting damage that could be caused by accidents, we recommend having the chair covered in a waterproof material that can be wiped clean. Having a breathable fabric will also be much more comfortable for your client when they are sat for prolonged periods of time.
Another thing to think about it whether or not your client should have access to the handset. If they do not quite have enough cognitive function, then you may want to attach the handset to the back of the chair. This means that your client cannot easily access it, and ultimately, the caregiver controls the positioning of the chair. Key-to-lock handsets are also available, which locks the controls away from anyone who does not have a key.
These are some of the main things to consider when specifying seating for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s. It is very much a case-by-case basis as to how affected the client is, but it’s always worth including these things in a chair just in case. For people who perhaps don’t require a riser recliner or care chair yet, then a high back chair may be more suited. In any case, get in touch with our seating specialists if you have any queries.