What is the Best Chair for the Elderly to Sit On?

Some seniors have difficulty with standing when they’ve been sitting for too long in a chair. Challenges with chair transfers are often due to multiple factors ranging from physical ailments to poor seating choices. For instance, not all chairs are created equally and some may actually impede a senior’s ability to get up. 

This article will discuss the best chairs for the elderly and some of the factors that one must consider when choosing a seat. Afterwards, it will highlight some transfer devices that can be used to help with getting up from a chair.

Factors that make standing up from a chair more difficult

Some chairs are more supportive than others for seniors. These are some of the features of a chair that may make it more difficult for a senior citizen to stand up:

  • No armrests – nothing to push on for support with getting up
  • Low sitting surface – one must work harder to raise their body a greater distance to stand
  • Swivel chairs – less stable during a transfer attempt as they may rotate
  • Wheels – chair may move during any attempts to stand
  • Soft seat – a cushion that sinks in when seated is harder to stand from compared to a firmer surface

How do you raise a chair’s height to make it easier for the elderly to stand up?

Seniors commonly complain of difficulty with standing up from low surfaces. A good way to overcome this challenge is to increase the height of the chair’s seat.

There are several ways to raise a chair’s height to make it easier for the elderly to stand up:

  1. Furniture risers – placed underneath the chair’s feet, this raises the chair’s height overall and positions its user into a taller sitting position
  1. Seat cushion – a therapeutic grade cushion can offer increased sitting comfort by reducing pressure points, but also boosts the seat height allowing someone to sit a little higher

Transfer devices that can be used to help the elderly get up from a chair

If raising the height of a chair is not sufficient to help a senior stand up, transfer aids can also be explored. These devices can also be used in conjunction with other methods used to raise the height of a chair. 

Some common transfer aids used by the elderly to help with standing up from a chair include:

  1. Transfer pole – a height adjustable tension mounted floor to ceiling pole that allows a user to grip the bar firmly for support with sitting or standing from a nearby seat.
  1. Chair assist grab bars – stand assist frame that is secured around or underneath the cushion and provides ergonomic safety handles that can be grasped for support with sitting or standing from a chair, couch or recliner.
  1. Stand assist safety handle – placed underneath the feet of a chair, couch or recliner to provide a sturdy support handle to assist with standing up or sitting down.
  1. Sit to stand walking cane – a mobility cane with an added grab handle to support someone with rising up off a low chair, couch or other sitting surface.
  1. Uplift adjustable walker – a four point walking frame that supports ambulation with an additional rubber handle to help someone stand from a low seat
  1. Seat lift assist – a portable assistive device that is sat on and tilts forward to provide help with standing up through its lifting assistance

Are reclining lift chairs good for the elderly?

Lift chairs are a popular piece of furniture in the home of many seniors. While this device can be more expensive compared to a traditional recliner, it can help seniors live more independently and rely less on support from direct care aides.

A reclining lift chair is remote control operated and can tilt forward while rising up high to help put a senior in an optimal position to stand up and move away from the chair.


As well, this chair can recline fully backwards to put the senior in a lying down position on their back. This helps to reduce pressure points on the “sitting bones,” also known as the coccyx, as it helps to redistribute one’s weight across their entire body. As a result, some seniors purchase this device if they are at high risk of developing pressure ulcers or sores on their bottom.

Because of its benefits in repositioning a senior by simply pushing a button on the remote, many seniors prefer to use this furniture as their primary chair within their home. As a result, reclining chairs are commonly featured in the living room and bedrooms.


The elderly tend to have more medical complexities that may make them more frail and reliant on others for support. Sometimes these individuals also have challenges with getting up from a chair.

As a result, it is important to consider whether a chair is supportive enough for a senior to stand up from it before they decide to use it as a seat. A home safety audit would usually make suggestions to remove very low sitting surface and replace them with moderately higher seats to make standing up easier.

When removing the low seats is not an option, various assistive aids and transfer devices can be used to make standing up a little easier for seniors. With these tools, it is possible to rely less on caregivers and be a little more self sufficient.