Elderly people often find it difficult to remain seated in one position, especially those who are a bit frail. There are plenty of instances where they just sidle off of their chair and end up tilting over or even falling over to one side.
A fall from a chair can cause serious injuries, especially because the body is already quite contorted when a person is sitting on a chair.
Needless to say, a fall from a bad angle could lead to a serious injury and can also have a major impact on their confidence. If the chair is too big for the elderly person, they are going to have difficulty in seating themselves properly on it, and there is always a chance that they might slide out and fall.
That is one of the main reasons why so many seating specialists and companies that make different kinds of chairs are coming up with new and different techniques to ensure that a person is able to sit comfortably in a chair without falling off.
There are several important features incorporated in modern chairs, as well as multiple other techniques that you can use to ensure that the elderly remain seated in their chair.
1 – Tilt-in-Space Chairs
One of the most common features that you will find in modern chairs is the tilt-in-space feature. The tilt-in-space feature simply tilts the chair a little bit backward, which provides more cushioning at the bottom and uses the hips as support.
Because the person who is seated on the chair will be tilted backward, slipping or sliding out of the chair is going to become just a bit more difficult.
More importantly, many elderly people like to recline in their chairs. It gives them more comfort, and is a pretty common feature that is now integrated in most kinds of wheelchairs as well.
2 – Using Footplates
Footplates are designed to provide a fixed platform for someone to keep their feet in. However, footplates also prevent injury and can even prevent someone from sliding off the chair.
When you combine the footplates with a tilt-in-space chair, the former will serve as a barrier of sorts, preventing the person from sliding downward.
Their feet will remain firmly on the plates. There are plenty of different kinds of footplates installed in newer chairs, including flip-down or slide-out options, both of which can be moved away when they are not in use.
3 – Use an Ergonomic Pommel or Air Cushion
Another excellent choice available to you is to make use of an ergonomic pommel or air cushion.
The pommel cushion is designed for the elderly, and has a slight protuberance in the front, which prevents the elderly person’s legs from sliding forward. Think of it as a saddle with a bit of a rise in the front to prevent bad posture or slippage.
Pommel cushions are designed for a number of different reasons. They are not just used to prevent an elderly person from sliding out of their chair but they are also quite useful for creating a natural separation between the knees.
On top of that, they reduce the amount of body weight on a person’s coccyx, which further brings down the pain.
Another option is the wedge cushion. This cushion can be placed on the seat of the wheelchair, and the low end usually remains toward the back of the seat. The thickest part of the cushion is placed under the knees of the elderly person.
When buying a wedge cushion, it is highly recommended that you choose one that has a removable, washable cover. There should also be ties on either side of the cushion to tie it firmly to the chair.
Because of the angle at which the cushion is placed, it becomes a bit more difficult for the elderly person to just slide out of the chair. However, it’s important that you don’t keep the cushion too high.
Placement is very important, and you need to make sure that the feet of the elderly person are able to touch the footplates.
The anti-slide wedge cushions are generally a less expensive option and are generally used as a non-restraint product to ensure that the person remains in their chair.
4 – Use a Belt
This might not seem like a very humane method, but it definitely works. If you want to keep the elderly person from sliding out of their chair, it is important that you first place the belt around them and make sure that it’s firmly tied around their waist.
Check the belt to ensure that it is not overly tight, as that could cause difficulty in breathing for the elderly person. It should be firm, but not too tight around the person’s waist. This is going to ensure that they remain seated comfortably without sliding anywhere.
Harnesses are also available with modern wheelchairs and other custom seats. These harnesses work much like seatbelts, and are designed to restrain and hold the person in place without causing them any kind of discomfort or problems.
5 – Using a Raked Seat
If you have the option, you might want to consider making use of a raked seat instead of a normal one. Raked seats are a better choice on all counts, because they tend to cradle the person sitting on them.
Raked seats usually have a bit of tilt on them, like you would find at a theater or at a cinema. The back of the seat will always be a bit on the lower side when compared with the front, so it’s virtually impossible for a person to slide forward out of the chair.
6 – Pommel Seat
Did you know that there are custom pommel seats available as well? Pommel seats are a bit unconventional, and this is not the exact use for which they were designed, but as long as it works, why not?
Pommel seats provide great protection and can easily prevent a person from sliding out of their chair.
The pommel basically creates a strong barrier between their legs, thus preventing them from sliding forward. The pommel seat also has raised edges around the sides, so the elderly person will remain firmly seated in one place.
7 – Non-Slip Pads
There are non-slip pads available for modern seats that you can place on the underside before seating the elderly. These pads have a textured surface that prevents a person from slipping easily from one side to another.
However, care needs to be taken to ensure that the person who is using the non-slip pads doesn’t get abrasions on their legs or their buttocks.
You need to check the non-slip pads on a regular basis and also make sure that you avoid using them all the time. When moving an elderly person in a wheelchair, you might want to consider tilting the chair just a tiny bit backward.
This is going to provide considerable support to the elderly and also give you the peace of mind that the person has their feet firmly on the footplates, which is going to prevent them from falling.
These are just some simple tips to prevent an elderly person from slipping off their chair.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard.