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How Can A Lift Chair Help A Person With Alzheimer's Disease?

Alzheimer's Disease and other forms of dementia create unique difficulties for both the person who has the disorder and their caregivers. The mental deficiencies are all too well known - loss of brain activity that starts with short term memory loss and eventually degrades into impairment of autonomic functions. However, the physical side effects of the disease are frequently overlooked due to the emphasis on the obvious mental impairments of the disorder.

Even in the early stages of Alzheimer's, patients exhibit two symptoms which can lead to greater physical complications. The first is apathy, or a general state of mental indifference. As an Alzheimer's sufferer becomes increasingly more apathetic, they tend to be less active overall. This lack of activity can cause muscles and joints to weaken or stiffen from disuse, which makes daily motor function even more difficult. This lack of activity often exacerbates existing physical disabilities brought on by age, since most Alzheimer's patients are already elderly when their symptoms lead to a formal diagnosis.

The other physical symptom of Alzheimer's is apraxia, or the loss of learned purposeful movement. Apraxia, presents itself in many different ways. Some patients lose control of facial muscles, which leads to a perceived lack of affectation. Others may forget how to carry out complex tasks in a given order, such as remembering to put on their socks before their shoes, or to remove their clothes prior to bathing. Sometimes similar objects may be confused: you might hand an apraxic Alzheimer's patient a wrench, for example, and ask them to demonstrate its use, at which point they attempt to use it like a hammer.

But the most daunting type of apraxia is limb-kinetic apraxia, which is the loss of ability to make precise movements with their arms or legs. Combine limb-kinetic apraxia with weakened muscles and joints from inactivity and age, and a serious risk of self-injury arises. Something as simple as a misplaced arm that doesn't steady their walk down a few stairs or a misstep during the process of sitting or standing can cause considerable harm to the patient.

Fortunately, in this day and age assistive technology exists to help such individuals. A lift chair is one example of such assistive devices. Lift chairs are designed to help a user stand or sit safely and easily, reducing the chance of a slip or fall that could break bones or do even worse damage. They also allow the user to reposition themselves with the mere touch of a button (or let a caregiver make such adjustments on their own). As an Alzheimer's patient loses motor functions, this becomes more and more important because they may wish to sit for a long period of time, which puts the patient at risk for pressure sores. Simple repositioning their seat ever so slightly shifts the pressure caused by the body laying on the chair to another location, reducing the likelihood of a pressure sore forming.

Some lift chair buyers have mentioned that getting a person with Alzheimer's or dementia to use the chair is often the hardest part of the process. People in advanced stages of the disorder may not want to use the chair because they don't recognize it, especially if it has recently replaced their usual armchair. For this reason, we recommend purchasing a lift chair when the person is still in the early stages of the disorder so that they have adequate time to adjust to using the chair and thinking of it as being "theirs".

For more information on choosing the correct lift chair for someone who suffers from Alzheimer's or dementia, please contact our lift specialists now by dialing 1 (800) 791-6264. Our experts can advise you on selecting a chair with just the right features for the specific needs of your patient or loved one.