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Senior Safety – How to Safely Stand Up and Sit Down From a Chair

People often write to me about how difficult it is for a senior loved one to stand up or sit down safely. Many older people lose the strength necessary to easily come to standing and gently sit down, even though it used to be easy. When someone is having difficulty rising up from a chair or you notice they tend to flop down to sit, it could mean leg weakness and/or postural instability, which puts them at increased risk for falls while they are walking; you are smart to take notice.

If the chair is low, try placing a firm cushion on the seat to raise the height. Also it is best to use chairs that have arms. You may want to consider a new favorite chair. Also it may sound silly, but there is a right way to stand and sit from a chair. Try it yourself, for instance, without having your feet backed up to the chair; it is nearly impossible. Hopefully, this will help:

Use good body mechanics to stand up from a chair:

  1. Scoot the buttocks forward toward the edge of the seat.
  2. Bring feet back as close as possible to the chair.
  3. Lean head and shoulders forward (Nose over toes).
  4. Push hands down on the arms of the chair to stand (rather than pulling on a walker or another person).

To sit from standing:

  1. Back knees up against the seat.
  2. Reach back for both arms of the chair prior to sitting.
  3. Lean head forward as buttocks are gradually lowered to seat.

If your senior loved one continues to have trouble, you may want to seek out physical therapy for a strengthening program and a safety evaluation.

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