One of the first things you will notice an older adult having problems with is getting up from a chair. It could be a regular kitchen chair, or one with arms and a back. It does not matter what type of chair it is, if the older person cannot get up from it without help, then they have a problem.
Most family caregivers don’t know how to properly help an elderly person up from a chair. It’s actually pretty simple, and if done correctly, can make a world of difference for the elderly person.
But also know that there is no one “best way” or “best technique” to help an elderly person up from a chair. Techniques will change depending on the individual’s abilities, the type of chair they are sitting in, and whether or not there is someone else available to help.
The most important thing is to be safe and not try to perform the task if you don’t think you can complete it. Also, always be aware of your own weight capacity. Don’t try to lift someone if you don’t think you can safely support their weight.
The methods are different depending on the physical and cognitive condition of the senior person you are helping.
If you’re not sure how to go about this or if your senior citizen has physical disabilities such as cognitive issues, it may be worth consulting with a occupational or physical therapist before proceeding.
Another item to be aware of is that chairs come in all shapes and sizes. The important thing to remember is that the types of chairs in homes with seniors should all be sturdy chairs.
This is to help prevent any accidents from happening. If a chair is not sturdy, it puts the person at risk of falling and serious injury.
So, let’s go over the different ways you can help an elderly person out of a chair.
How Do Elderly Adults Get Up From Chairs?
How do older adults generally get up from their chairs?
There are a few ways that elderly people usually get up from their chairs, depending on their mobility and strength. Normally, their natural instincts would tell them to use their hands on the arms of the chair to push themselves up, they can use their legs to stand up, or they can use a combination of both.
If an elderly person has trouble getting up from a chair, it is important that they ask for help. Getting up from a chair can be dangerous if not done properly, so it is always best to have someone nearby to assist.
Yes, I know – this is probably the stumbling block that many adult children have with their senior parents. They simply won’t ask for help!
I remember one of my elderly patients in the hospital who refused to ask for help getting up from his chair. He was determined to do it on his own, even if it meant taking a tumble and fracturing his hip in the process.
And guess what? That’s exactly what happened. The nurses and doctors in the hallway heard a big thump and when they checked his room, there he was. Laying on the floor with a hip fracture.
Needless to say, his family was upset, the hospital staff (and myself) were upset, but other than tying him down to his chair, there really was nothing we could do to chip away his stubbornness.
All I can say, based on my training as an Occupational Therapist and years of helping so many older people in my life is that you just have to stay patient and just keep reminding your elderly relative or friend to ask for help. But don’t expect it to happen.
Why Do Seniors Have A Difficult Time Getting Up From A Chair?
There are a few common reasons why seniors may have a difficult time getting up from a chair. As we age, we tend to lose muscle mass and strength, which can make it harder to get up from a seated position.
Additionally, many seniors experience joint pain, stiffness, or balance issues, which can also make it more difficult to stand up from a chair.
If you have an elderly loved one who is having difficulty getting up from a chair, there are a few things you can do to help.
- Make sure all the chairs in their home are sturdy.
- Try to make sure that the chair they are sitting in is at the proper height. If the chair is too low, it will be harder for them to stand up.
- Make sure that the chair has arm rests. This will give them something to push against when they are trying to stand up.
- If possible, try to place a chair near a wall or other sturdy surface. This will give them something to lean on if they start to feel unsteady.
If you are still having trouble helping your loved one up from a chair, you can always call their doctor or a home health care agency for assistance.
Common Techniques On How To Help Someone Up From A Chair
Helping someone up from a seated position safely (for them and for yourself) requires just a little bit of know how.
Here are some simple things to know before you begin.
- Never, ever try to help someone up who is heavier than you or who has poor balance issues. If you are not careful when helping an elderly person up from a chair, there is a risk of injury to them and yourself.
- All older adults should use chairs with arm rests. It’s much easier to get up from this kind of seating.
- First thing you should do is to assess the situation and the person’s needs before taking action.
- Use proper body mechanics when lifting or moving the person.
- Use proper tools if needed (gate belt, sit to stand aids, walker, etc.)
- Be aware of the person’s medications and medical conditions.
- Communicate with the person throughout the process.
- Make sure the person is comfortable after being lifted up.
- Thank the person for their cooperation.
Now that you know these 7 general rules, here are the steps to use to properly and safely help someone up from a seated position.
How to Position Yourself
When you’re helping an elderly person up from a chair, it’s important to put yourself in the right position. You should stand at the person’s side – their weaker side. Face the same direction as they are.
Then, bend your knees and bring your body close to theirs. This will give you more leverage and make it easier to lift them.
How the Person In The Chair Can Help
The first step before you begin to help the senior in the chair is to ask them to move forward (scoot forward) towards the edge of the chair. This will make it easier for them to stand up and easier on you to help them up.
Make sure they have both feet flat on the ground and if possible slightly apart.
Tip: If your senior loved one has trouble scooting forward, place a towel or pillow case on the seat of the chair before they sit down. This way you can just pull on that to help bring them forward.
How to Use Your Arms and Legs
When you’re helping an elderly person out of a chair, you should use your arms and legs properly to help protect yourself and them.
First, put your arm around their back and grab onto their opposite shoulder. Then, put your other hand either by their hip or if you are using a gait belt, on that.
Next, lift with your legs and help your senior person up to a standing position.
How to Hold the Person
Once you’ve lifted the person out of the chair, you need to hold them close to your body. This will help prevent them from falling.
You should also keep their head close to yours so they don’t hit it on anything. Finally, make sure you have a good grip on them before you start moving.
For information on how to help a senior while walking – click here.
Instructions On Helping A Senior Get Up From Different Seated Locations
Below are a series of instructions on the steps you should take to help a senior get up from different types of chairs, bed, etc.
Helping Someone Up From The Chair To A Standing Position
- First, make sure that the person is ready to stand up. If they are not ready, do not try to force them.
- If they use a walker or need something to balance on for a minute or two once they stand up, make sure that the walker or a piece of furniture is by their side.
- Second, place your hands on their upper arms, just below the shoulder.
- Third, gently pull on their arms as you ask them to stand up.
- Fourth, once they are standing, support them with your hands on their arms until they are steady.
- Finally, let go when they are ready.
Helping Someone Up From A Chair To Another Chair
- Make sure the person is stable and ready to stand.
- Place your hands on their upper arms, just below the shoulder joints.
- Firmly but gently pull the person to a standing position.
- Have the person place their hand on your arm for support.
- Walk with the person to the other chair.
- Help the person sit down in the chair.
- Make sure the person is comfortable and settled before letting go.
Helping Someone Up From A Chair To A Bed
- Make sure the chair is close to the bed and positioned in a way that will make it easy for the person to get up.
- Position yourself so that you are standing next to the person, facing them.
- Bend your knees and place one of your hands on each of their arms, just above their elbows.
- Gently and slowly lift the person up from the chair, using your legs to support their weight.
- Once they are standing, guide them towards the side of the bed and help them to sit down on the edge of the bed.
- Help them then to scoot back so that they are securely on the bed. Assist them with their legs if they need that help as they proceed to lay down.
- Make sure they are comfortable and adjust their pillows if necessary.
- Thank them for their cooperation and let them know that you are there if they need anything else.
Helping Someone Up From A Chair To A Toilet
- First, make sure that the chair is stable and will not tip over.
- Next, have the person stand up and then turn around so that they are facing away from the chair.
- Then, bend down and place your arms under their armpits.
- Lift them up slowly, being careful not to strain your back.
- Finally, help them turn around and sit down on the toilet.
Again, the number one thing to remember is to be safe. You should never attempt to help someone if your own balance is not 100% or if your strength is compromised.
Helping Someone Up From A Reclining Position
- First, make sure that you are in a stable position yourself. If you are not steady on your feet, do not attempt to help the other person up.
- Next, bend down so that you are close to the other person. You may need to get into a kneeling position if they are very low to the ground.
- Place one of your hands under their shoulders and the other under their arm, close to their armpit.
- Ask them to put their hand on your shoulder for support, and then slowly start to help them up.
- Once they are sitting upright, make sure they are steady before letting go of them. If they are still unsteady, continue to support them until they are safe.
If you are helping someone who is very heavy or difficult to lift, it is best to get help from another person. Do not attempt to lift them on your own as this could result in injury.
It is also important to be aware of the other person’s limitations. If they have difficulty moving their legs or arms, or if they are in pain, it is best to let them do as much as they can on their own and just provide support when needed.
Never try to force someone into doing something that is beyond their capabilities. This could result in serious injury.
What Muscles Help You Get Up From A Chair?
There are several muscles that help you get up from a chair. These include the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and core muscles. The quadriceps are the large muscles in the front of your thighs. They help straighten your knees.
The hamstrings are the large muscles in the back of your thighs. They help bend your knees.
The glutes are the large muscles in your buttocks. They help you extend your hips.
The core muscles are the muscles around your spine and pelvis. They help you maintain balance and stability.
When getting up from a chair, it is important to use all of these muscles. First, straighten your legs and lean forward from your hips. Then, push down on your feet to stand up. As you stand, keep your back straight and your abdominal muscles pulled in so that you do not arch your back.
If you have difficulty getting up from a chair, there are several things you can do to make it easier. First, try using a higher chair. This will help you get your hips closer to the edge of the seat, making it easier to stand up.
Second, try using a chair with arm rests. This will help you support yourself as you stand up. Finally, try doing some simple exercises to strengthen your muscles.
Once you are able to get up from a chair without difficulty, you can try using a lower chair. This will help you build up your strength and make it easier to stand up from a higher chair in the future.
Tools To Help An Elderly Person Stand Up From A Chair
There are a few different tools that you can use to help an elderly person to stand up from a chair.
One way is to use a tool called a gait belt. This is a wide belt that goes around the person’s waist and helps to support them as they stand up.
Another way to help an elderly person stand up from a chair is to use grab bars. These are bars that can be installed near the chair or bed that the person can grab onto to help themselves stand up.
Another option is to use a lift chair, which has a mechanism that helps to lift the person up from a sitting position.
Chair assist products as well as standing aid tools are perfect for use by a sofa or living room recliner or chair.
Whichever assistive device you end up using (or maybe a combination) to help an elderly person out of a chair, make sure to practice with them beforehand so that they feel comfortable and confident using it.
The most important thing to know when assisting someone up from a chair is to be safe and not try to perform the task if you don’t think you can complete it.
There are a number of professional caregivers who can help you with this task. They are trained and experienced in safely lifting and moving people. If you are not sure how to proceed, or if you feel like you might not be able to complete the task safely, it is best to consult with one of these professionals.
When lifting someone from a chair, be sure to use your legs to support their body weight and not your back. This will help prevent injuries. Also, be sure to communicate with the person you are helping so that they know what to expect. Finally, take your time and move slowly so that everyone stays safe.