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Should Seniors Use A Kitchen Stool?

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Towards the end of her life, my mom had trouble standing at the stove long enough to cook. She was diagnosed with a blood disorder that made her weak, especially after the medication made her anemic. She often sat on one of the chairs at the kitchen table, but it was wooden and heavy so she couldn’t move it around too well.

Instead, I got her a kitchen stool. A kitchen stool for older adults or anyone who has limited mobility is more like a chair than a step stool. It has arms and a backrest for extra support, plus a padded seat for comfort. It is lightweight for easy moving, but gives the user stability when standing or sitting.

Who Should Use A Kitchen Stool?

Senior citizens with mobility issues, back pain, or any type of body weakness should use a kitchen stool. They make everyday tasks, like cooking and food prep, less of a chore because the elderly person can sit while they are working.

I’m not talking about using counter a bar stool. These have higher seats that often can’t be adjusted for height and may not have backs or arms, which could make them dangerous for a senior.

Conversely, older people might also have problems if they tried to sit by using a step stool.

Instead, they should get a kitchen stool that is more like a tall chair.

There are a variety of stool options available in a range of sizes, depending on the person’s needs. For example, there are chairs without wheels that are sort of like a highchair for the elderly.

Also, there are roll-about stools for people who have a hard time getting up and down, and bariatric kitchen stools for larger seniors.

What To Look For In A Kitchen Stool

Senior safety is top priority, so you want to find a kitchen stool that has these important features:

  • Stable and won’t tip over when an older individual sits on it or tries to get up
  • Has non-slip feet (either rubber feet or silicone ones) on the bottom of the legs
  • Provides a back rest to keep them from sliding off the seat
  • Has arms/arm rests that are preferably weight-bearing, particularly if the senior has difficulty with mobility. Also, you want the arm rests to adjust to a variety of sizes width-wise to accommodate the person’s size
  • Able to adjust the seat height to prevent injury or to help someone who is recovering from surgery (for example, a hip replacement)
  • Has a seat that adjusts. An angled seat (the seat is tilted so that the front is slightly lower than the back) can allow the senior to rise to a standing position with minimal effort
  • Provides a padded seat and padded armrests for extra comfort
  • Is easy to clean
  • Will support the user’s weight
  • Lightweight for moving from place to place
  • Has a flat (padded seat). Avoid saddle-type seats that the senior could slide off of

Types Of Kitchen Stools For Seniors

Aside from using a plain kitchen chair for washing dishes or cooking like my mom did, an elderly person needs something they can easily move around. It also needs to be sturdy enough to keep them safe when sitting on it.

Adjustable Height Chair For Elderly

An adjustable height chair is safer for seniors.

It allows them to sit comfortably without having to boost themselves up into the seat, the way you do with most bar stools / counter stools.

Plus, having an adjustable kitchen stool for elderly users means the chair will be the correct height for the senior, so it will take less effort for them to stand up.

The Drive Medical Kitchen Stool in the photo is a good example.

The height on this kitchen stool can adjust from 21 inches to 27 inches tall, so it can be used at both a table and a counter. 

Bariatric Kitchen Stool

Bariatric kitchen stools are meant for larger individuals. If they are advertised as being bariatric, the stool should be capable of supporting more weight, so be sure to check that the one you get will meet the specific needs of your senior family members.

For a light weight kitchen stool that an elderly person could easily move around, check into bariatric shower benches. They can do double-duty and be used in the kitchen as well as the shower.

The OasisSpace Tub Transfer Bench is made of heavy-duty plastic. Its anodized aluminum frame features A-frame construction for added support. Plus it has the extra features we like, such as a back rest, arm rest, non-slip legs, and adjustable height.

Although more expensive, a more decorative option is a bariatric arm chair or desk chair. Some of these come with castors (wheels) so the person can move around the kitchen without having to get up.

If you get something like this, be sure the material can be cleaned. No matter how neat the cook, they will always do something like getting sauce on their fingers and transferring it to the chair, or splatter something on it. It’s inevitable.

Roll-about Stool For Kitchen Use

Personally, I don’t think a frail senior should be using a stool with wheels. I understand the concept – it would be nice if they could scoot from stove to sink to table. But, stools with wheels are inherently unstable.

And, there backless stools out there (like the type the doctor sits on when examining you), but please don’t get one for your elderly parent. I’ve seen too many reviews of wheeled stools that tipped over when someone pushed themselves around on it.

However, if the person is fairly healthy, but their issue is with limb weakness, they could try using a wheeled office chair in the kitchen. Make sure it is one with a back and arms. Check that the base of the chair is supported by five legs (not just four) for fall prevention. Five wheels will make it less likely to tip over when rolling.

Some office models have a lift mechanism with pneumatic controls so the user can raise or lower the seat. Many also come with controls that allow the seat to tilt backwards or forward, which prevents the chair from tipping.

As I mentioned before, one important factor in using an office chair in the kitchen is that the chair probably won’t stay clean for long. To help, it could be scotch-guarded or a towel could be placed over the seat and arms. If the backrest is plastic, it could be wiped down after use.

Another option for a kitchen stool could be a rolling walker with a seat like the image above. Some models come with a basket attached, which is handy for getting supplies from the pantry to the stove or taking dishes from the cabinet to the table.

TIP: A rollator walker should have locking wheels. Also, the wheels should be non-marring wheels so the kitchen floor doesn’t get covered in black marks.

Post-Surgery Hip Chair

If your senior parent has had a hip replacement, they are going to need a solid chair while they are healing, no matter where they are in the house.

One great option to consider is this Apex Hip Chair from Platinum Health.

This style of chair is specifically designed for someone who is recovering from hip surgery or a hip replacement, but it is perfect for use as a kitchen stool (and it can double as a shower chair).

It has an adjustable seat to prevent too much hip flexion. This ensures the user’s knees stay below their hips while they are healing.

Although it is safer with the arms attached, they can be removed on this model so it can be used at a table or counter/bar.

Senior Step Stools

I don’t know about you, but I’m always needing something that is on the top shelves. I know my mom had the same problem, especially as she began shrinking in height in her later years.

Although simple plastic stools would be fine to give me that extra height right now, my mom needed to use something with a handle, like this AdjustaStep Deluxe Step Stool, because she had some balance problems.

Another good reason to have a handle on a step stool for home use is if a senior has health conditions that might make them dizzy or had joint issues that give them less mobility.

The extra support of a step stool with both an adjustable height base and an adjustable height handle, like this one, adds peace of mind when a senior needs to add a little height to their reach.

The AdjustaStep has a 300 pound weight capacity.

For more information on stove safety, fire safety, best cabinets, and more, visit our kitchen section.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a perch stool?

A perch stool is a stool with a small, sloping seat. They help you take some of the weight off your feet. You “perch” on one, partially seated, when performing simple chores or household tasks like cooking or vacuuming. It may not have a back rest or arms. The leg base isn’t as wide as a kitchen or shower stool, so a perch stool takes up less space.

NOTE: This is not the best choice of stool for someone with poor balance.

What is the best chair for elderly?

The best chair is the one that meets the senior’s needs, both now and in the long-term. The chair should be comfortable and have adjustable features (for example: an adjustable head support). It should be stable when the person sits or stands, be made of washable materials, have a foot rest, and provide back, head, and lateral body support.

If you need help choosing the right aid for yourself or a senior loved one, a physical or occupational therapist can be a huge help in guiding your towards the best option for your particular needs.

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