Alzheimer's, Caregivers, and Mealtime:
Why dining chairs need to swivel…turn…roll…and lock for safety
Mealtimes can be especially problematic for caregivers providing care for persons with Alzheimer’s. While the process of being seated at the table is routine for many of us, it is a significant challenge for caregivers as persons with Alzheimer’s often have difficulty comprehending verbal instructions.
Caregivers are encouraged to establish a “relationship bond” and to maintain “eye contact” with persons in their care. To do so they are cautioned from “approaching persons from behind” or from “surprising or startling” them. And yet when mealtime assistance is required caregivers have no choice but to approach the seated person from behind and push on the back of the chair simply to get the seated person moved up-to the table.
The Challenge in the Dining Room
While the process of being seated at the table is routine for many of us, the process of seating a person with Alzheimer's at the table involves two distinct and separate steps that need to be understood by the family and caregiver.
Step 1: Getting seated in the chair
It is not uncommon for a person with Alzheimer's to bump into furniture while attempting to get seated in a chair. This can have disastrous results, as any unintended contact with the chair can cause it to move unexpectedly, often resulting in a fall or injury.
Unfortunately, traditional chairs fail both seniors and caregivers
as a standard dining chair is not designed to
putting the caregiver at risk of incurring a personal injury
as a result of overexertion,
the office/task chair is designed to roll too
easily (not stable)
putting the seated person at risk of incurring a injury due to a fall
when the chair moves unexpectedly.
Step 2: Being moved up-to and away-from the table
Once seated, the physical demands required to move a seated person up to the table can be exhausting for the caregiver. Any activity which involves pushing, pulling, shoving, and twisting of the seated person serves only to increase mealtime stress and anxiety for both seated person and caregiver.
A Better Way
Dining chairs designed for today’s seniors and caregivers must include features enabling the chair to swivel…turn…roll…and lock for safety, thereby reducing the risk of injury for both the seated person and the caregiver!
Chairs that swivel and lock eliminate table interference as the seat of the chair is swiveled 90 degrees away from the table.
This allows full access to the seat of the chair for the person being seated. Once they are comfortably in the chair, they can release the swivel lock and rotate themselves towards the table.
Additionally, chairs that also roll and brake for safety can be moved even further from the table, providing increased clearance, should a second caregiver be required when transferring the person into the seat of the chair.
Once seated, they can be rotated back towards the table, and the caregiver effortlessly glides them into position at the table before securing the brakes.
Exiting the table: With the seat of the chair
turned (90 degrees) away from the table, the seated person is
also able to rise from the chair and walk directly away from
This eliminates the need for the person to lean on the table and shuffle/pivot his/her feet as they reach for their walker.
Why is a heavier chair safer when caring for a person with Alzheimer's?
At first glance, caregivers assigned the task of moving a seated person up to the table opt for a lightweight chair, thinking this will ease their effort when moving that person forward.
However, what they fail to appreciate is (a) once the person is seated, it is the total weight of the person and the chair that needs to be moved up-to the table, and (b) a lightweight chair tends to move prematurely, increasing the risk of injury to the person being seated.
Caregivers should consider selecting a chair designed both for stability and mobility. A sturdy chair with arms offers support as the person slowly lowers him/herself into the chair. A heavier chair provides increased stability and thus is less likely to move prematurely. Chairs fitted with lockable inline wheels provide needed mobility, enabling the caregiver to roll the seated person up-to the table with ease and grace.
Chairs that Swivel...Turn...Roll...and Brake for safety:
- provide those with Alzheimer's a greater degree of dignity and self-worth
- eliminate the need for care partners to push-pull-shove-twist on a chair
- reduce mealtime stress and anxiety for both the seated person and the care partner
- create a more enjoyable mealtime routine for all
My son Edward made arrangements for the chair to be sent
to us in San Marcos CA for my husband who now has
Alzheimer's. I want to tell you how wonderful we think
the chair is. It meets all of the needs of a person who
cannot move about without assistance.
The arms on the chair are sturdy enough for my husband to push himself up and the wheels and lever to turn the seat make it so much easier for caregivers and I to move him about.
Swivel & Roll - San Marcos, CA
I just want to say thank you and your team for building
such an amazing chair that has literally been a life
saver for my mother who suffers from Alzheimers and
dementia. The upholstery has held up for a year of hard
use, it looks brand new. We added a backrest at her
chiropractor's request because she literally sits on a
chair all day.
I have no doubt that I will be enjoying the benefits of this arm chair 25 years from now!