What Is A Lift Chair?
A lift chair is a special type of recliner or easy chair with extra features added in, including a mechanical lifting mechanism, and sometimes heat and massage functions. The lift mechanism is used to push the entire chair up from the base, and forward, so as to assist the person sitting on it into a standing position.
They have three defining characteristics:
- The lift mechanism itself.
- They are built around luxury recliners and easy chairs.
- Have simple controls.
Uses of Lift Chairs
Lift chairs are meant to take the place of the living room recliner used by an elderly person or someone with who has limited mobility.
Its presence helps improve the user’s quality of life significantly. So much so that they are considered Durable Medical Equipment, and covered under Medicare Part B.
Types of Lift Chairs
There are three types of lift chairs, defined by the number of positions they offer:
- Two-position lift chairs – The most basic, and economical option, these chairs offer a basic recline function of about 45 degrees. In these models, the footrest flips into position as the chair reclines, and cannot be operated independently.
While these chairs can be used for moderate amounts of time (3-4 hours at a stretch) for sitting, reading, and watching TV, they are non-optimal for sleeping. They also tend to be somewhat smaller than the other types of lift chairs.
- Three-position lift chairs – These chairs are a bit more expensive, and offer the advantage of reclining to 180 degrees (perfectly flat), or nearly so, making them ideal for moderate periods of sitting or napping.
As with the two position chairs, the footrest flips up automatically as the chair reclines and cannot be operated independently. Some of the more expensive models in this class also offer heat and basic massage functions, giving them increased therapeutic value.
- Infinite position lift chairs – Of the three types of lift chairs, these are the most sought after, but also the most expensive. They are more plush and comfortable, and are designed for people who spend most of the day sitting on them. As the name indicates, they can be reclined to nearly any position, including Zero-G seating positions.
These chairs almost always come with heat and massage functions, and feature dual motors so that the recliner and footrest can be operated independently. Some models are even built around a proper mattress for added comfort.
History of the Lift Chair
Lift chairs are a distinctly modern invention, arising from the needs of our aging population and their mobility challenges.
The earliest designs were modeled after La-Z-Boy recliners, and featured a single button on one of the chair arms to activate the mechanical lift mechanism.
Over the years, as technology has advanced, additional features were added, most notably automatic recline (in infinite position models), therapeutic, and massage functions.