When making a home safe for an elderly loved one, one of the places that both the senior and caregivers often forget to consider is the seating/dining area of the kitchen.
Many times, a senior’s kitchen stools and chairs are on wheels or casters, which can be problematic.
And don’t get me started on kitchens that only have bar stool seating – you know, the kind that requires the elderly person to boost themselves up to sit on the chair. Wheels and tall seats are very unsafe for seniors.
Features Of The Best Kitchen Chairs For Seniors Include:
- Will support the user’s weight
- Have a back rest and arms that are weight-bearing and can adjust
- Are stable and won’t tip when sitting down or getting up
- Have adjustable height legs and a flat, padded seat that adjusts
- Have non-slip rubber or silicone “feet” on the legs
- Are lightweight and easy to clean
What Type Of Chair Is Best For Elderly Adults?
There is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on the individual’s needs and preferences. However, some general tips that may be helpful include:
- Choose a chair that is comfortable and supportive, with a backrest if possible.
- Make sure the seat is the right height so that the feet can rest flat on the floor.
- Avoid chairs with sharp edges or hard surfaces.
- Look for features such as armrests and swivel bases that can make it easier to get in and out of the chair.
- Consider adjustable chairs that can be adapted to meet changing needs.
If you’re not sure what kind of chair to get, consider consulting with an Occupational Therapist for some help. But if you want to measure for a chair, click here.
What To Look For In A Kitchen Chair
Back to those wheeled chairs I mentioned – people often think that kitchen chairs on casters are better for seniors. In some ways they are because they make it easier to pull the chair out from the table.
However, wheels also make it easier for the chair to roll away – especially when a possibly shaky senior tries to sit down or stand up.
I remember one family friend of my parents whose kitchen chair rolled back slightly after she bumped against it just before sitting. The poor woman ended up in a heap on the floor because she misjudged where it was. Thankfully, she didn’t break any bones.
This does not mean that you have to purchase new chairs if you already have ones that are on casters. You can replace those regular casters with ones that Auto Lock like these.
These particular casters automatically lock when there’s no weight on the chair. But when someone sits in the chair the casters unlock so that the person can then roll the chair.
We recommend that you set up your loved one’s eating area by following the list at the start of this article. Additionally, check the senior’s kitchen area and adjust to account for the following:
- Location – If the location of the chair is such that there is no room for the user to push it back, and having arms on the chair would make it more difficult for them to get up, opt for an armless chair. But have a cane nearby to assist the person with getting up.
- Vision – if vision is an issue, we recommend getting a very colorful chair to help distinguish it from the surrounding area.
- Avoid bar stool seating and saddle-type seats that the senior could slide off of.
- We recommend something like the Comfortek Seating Titan Armed Dining Chair. Yes, it’s on wheels, BUT the chair has a brake system to keep it from moving when a person transfers their weight from sitting to standing or vice versa.
- If in doubt, get a professional home assessment from an Occupational Therapist to help you make the best decision for seating in your loved one’s kitchen.
What Is The Best Seat Height For The Elderly?
The best seat height for the elderly is one that allows them to sit with their feet flat on the ground and their knees at a 90-degree angle. This position helps to maintain good posture and prevents pain in the back, neck, and shoulders.
A seat that fits these parameters also makes it easier for the user to get in and out of the chair.
Additionally, it is important to have a chair that is comfortable and supports the back. For seniors who have difficulty getting up from a seated position, chairs with armrests may be helpful.
In general, standard kitchen and dining chair seat heights are about 18 inches high, as measured from the floor to the top of the seat. Some seniors have weaker leg muscles, however, and would do better with a slightly taller chair seat height (a chair with height-adjustable legs would be helpful in this situation).
Helpful Kitchen Chair Ideas For Seniors
In addition to the Titan dining chair, above, there are several other types of chairs (and a lifting device) that may best suit your elderly parent or loved one’s needs:
- A post-surgery chair for seniors healing from a hip replacement
- An adjustable height chair
- Bariatric kitchen chairs
Post-Surgery Hip Chair
This type of chair is best for someone who is healing after a hip replacement. They need a solid chair no matter where they are in the house.
We like this Apex Hip Chair from Platinum Health. It has an adjustable seat to prevent too much hip flexion. This types of seat ensures the user’s knees stay below their hips while they are healing.
Although the chair is specifically designed for someone recovering from hip surgery or a hip replacement, it can be used instead of bar stool seating if a senior has only a counter-style eating area in their kitchen.
Also, it’s lightweight, so it can be moved around the house (or even used in the shower) as needed until the senior recovers.
Additionally, the height can be adjusted. And, while a chair is safer with the arms attached when someone is elderly, the arms can be removed on this model if it doesn’t fit under a counter or bar.
Another option for this type of high chair is the Lumex Everyday Hip Chair with Adjustable Footrest. It is perfect for someone who has recently gone through hip surgery or they just prefer a high chair to use in the kitchen while preparing a meal.
Adjustable Height Chair For Seniors
As we mentioned before, an adjustable height chair is safer for seniors.
It allows them to sit comfortably without having to boost themselves up into the seat. Though it seems like a small detail, having a chair that is the proper height for the user means it takes less effort for them to stand up or keep their balance while in the act of sitting down.
This type of chair is also a good option if the senior only has a bar/counter style eating area in their kitchen.
The Drive Medical Kitchen Stool in the photo is a nice example of an adjustable height chair.
The height on this kitchen chair can adjust from 21 inches to 27 inches tall, so it can be used at both a table and a counter.
Bariatric Kitchen Chair
Bariatric kitchen chairs are meant for larger individuals. This type of chair isn’t good just for plus-sized people, though. They also allow caregivers to safely and more easily assist an elderly loved one who has mobility issues, such as Parkinson’s, arthritis, or vertigo. And, they decrease the caregiver’s own risk of injury.
TIP: If a chair is advertised as being bariatric, it should be capable of supporting more weight than a standard chair. We’ve seen chairs that say they can support anywhere from 400 to 600 pounds, but we’ve also come across chairs labeled “bariatric” that can only hold about 300 pounds. Before you buy one, check that the chair you purchase will meet your senior loved one’s needs.
For a bariatric kitchen chair, we recommend this Bariatric Chair. This model holds up to 1000 pounds.
Yep, we know it has those pesky casters again. But this chair also has a braking system of anti-slip locks to keep it from sliding around when the senior sits down on it or tries to get up.
It has a padded seat, provides lumbar support, and the foam seat repels stains and odors. This chair is also a good choice for a senior with wooden floors because it won’t mar the wood. It works well on carpet, too.
Another option for a more “standard” type of chair is the Wooden Mallet Valley Bariatric Chair. It can hold up to 800 lbs and it has an oak finish to it.
SitnStand Portable Smart Rising Seat – Chair Lift Assist Devices for Seniors
Although not an actual chair, the SitnStand Portable Smart Rising Seat can be used in virtually any chair in the house – from the kitchen to the living area and even outside on the patio. It weighs 8.8 pounds, so just be aware that a frail senior may have trouble moving it from room to room with them.
It’s designed to lift up to 265 pounds of weight. It has a washable seat cover and doesn’t require installation or assembly.
The SitnStand works via a rechargeable battery that inflates four “cells” – one at a time – to different heights within the cushion, slowly lifting (or lowering) the senior into / off of the chair.
The user controls the device with a hand control, so they determine the lifting or lowering speed by themselves (instead of the chair doing it for them). This is helpful for someone who is unsteady or has balance concerns because it gives them time to adjust to each new height level before moving on to the next one.