Recliners for the elderly are more than adjustable armchairs to lounge in. They allow for better mobility and comfort at the touch of a button and can significantly improve the quality of life of the elderly and their caregivers.
Read on for more about the benefits of recliners and features to look for when buying one, followed by our round-up of the best recliners on the market.
Advantages of Having a Recliner for the Elderly
Recliners provide a host of benefits for both the elderly and their CDPAP caregivers. There are many reasons why you or your elderly family member should consider owning a recliner:
Recliners are excellent mobility aids
Recliners are of invaluable help for the elderly with limited range of mobility. They make it easy to stand up, sit down, and find the most comfortable resting position. Besides, regular changes in sitting positions can reduce stiffness and allow for better mobility. The reclining function also helps the elderly maintain their independence longer and minimizes their need to rely on someone else.
Recliners reduce the risk of injury
Recliners are very easy to adjust to a comfortable position. This can help you avoid straining your back and muscles when you attempt to move or sit down. What’s more, recliners can reduce the risk of falling if you have difficulties standing up from a chair. Recliners also minimize the possibility of the caregiver’s injuries that occur while they are assisting the elderly with changing positions or standing up.
Recliners help improve blood circulation
Elderly people often sit still for extended periods of time. This can lead to poor blood circulation and result in discomfort and complications including blood clots, and even a heart attack or stroke. By allowing frequent changes in sitting positions, a recliner can help improve blood flow to legs and feet. In addition, elevating legs regularly can help with circulatory problems such as swollen and painful ankles and feet or aching legs.
Recliners promote good posture
The best recliners promote good posture and keep your back straight while enabling you to change positions throughout the day. They can help ease back, joint, and even breathing problems that often affect the elderly.
Recliners help reduce back pain
Many high-end recliners for the elderly provide massage and heating of the lumbar region that can help ease your back pain. The chair’s therapeutic massage function will enhance blood circulation throughout the body, soothe your backache, and ensure a quicker recovery.
Recliners provide comfort
When sitting in a recliner, you can easily choose the most suitable position at the touch of a button. But many recliners also come with plenty of additional features to ensure the ultimate comfort, such as a backrest, footrest, remote control, USB charger, built-in storage units and side pockets, as well as heating and massage units.
Recliners save time for caregivers
The elderly are often dependent on assistance to stand up, sit down, or change sitting positions. Recliners make it possible to move with minimal help. If you are a caregiver, the fact that your loved one can easily adjust the recliner and get up on their own will give you more time to attend to other necessary tasks.
What to Consider When Buying a Recliner for Elderly
There are many different types of recliners for the elderly on the market and selecting the right one can be an overwhelming task. Here is what you should consider before buying a new recliner:
There are several different types of recliners. You can choose between manual and electric recliners, electric rise and recline chairs, and massaging recliners.
- Manual recliners function with the help of a lever positioned on the side of the chair
- Electric recliners are the most common types of recliners. You can recline and change positions at the press of a button with minimal effort
- Electric rise and recliner chairs combine reclining with the tilting and rising functions, making it easy to stand up from the sitting position
- Massaging recliners can be manual or electric. They combine sitting in a comfortable position with a relaxing massage
- Massaging rise and recliner chairs combine all of the functions for ultimate luxury.
While manual recliners come with a lower price tag, keep in mind that you will need some strength and dexterity to operate them. Electric recliners cost more, but they are invaluable for anyone with mobility issues.
Recliners come with either single or dual motors.
- Single-motor recliners use the same motor for moving the backrest, footrest, and the seat. This means that you can’t adjust each control independently, which limits the level of comfort you can achieve. Single motor recliners are less expensive and are a solid choice if you or your loved one have only moderate mobility issues.
- Dual-motor recliners use separate motors to control the backrest operation and footrest and seat-raiser functions. They allow you to adjust the backrest, the footrest, and the recliner independently. Dual motor recliners are ideal for the elderly with low mobility because they are flexible and allow for a number of different reclining positions.
Having a comfortable recliner is a must. If your chair is not comfortable, all of the other aspects and functions are of little value. At the very least, your recliner should provide good neck and lumbar support. It should also offer several recline options for improved comfort. Make sure to check whether the recliner includes any extra accessories like headrests, footrests, cup holders, a remote control, or a built-in charger.
Size is one of the essential elements to take into consideration when purchasing your new recliner. In order to provide good support, the recliner must perfectly suit your body size. The height of the chair will affect how easily you can get in and out of the recliner, while the right depth will provide full support for your back and legs.
Make sure to check whether you have enough space to accommodate a recliner in your home. Some recliner chairs are quite big and require a lot of space. If your space is limited, you may want to opt for a wall-hugger recliner, ideal for bedrooms and smaller living rooms. Instead of the seat going back like in other recliners, the wall-hugger chair moves only forward on its track mechanism.
Construction and mechanism
To ensure maximum safety, the frame construction of the recliner needs to be strong and reliable. The mechanism should be soft and silent. Moreover, be sure to check the recliner’s maximum reclining angle. It varies from model to model, and some chairs don’t recline enough for a comfortable nap. Around 150 degrees is a good reclining angle.
Functionality and features
Depending on their type, recliners have different functionalities to ensure maximum comfort:
- Pressure relief cushions that reduce the risk of developing bedsores
- Additional built-in head support, invaluable for the elderly with poor head control
- Continuous footrest (no gap between the seat of the chair and the footrest)
- USB chargers for charging your phone and checking your blood pressure from the comfort of your chair
- Speakers, built-in radios, and slots for headphones
- Cup holders and snack trays
- Locking wheels that allow the caregiver to easily move the chair from room to room and facilitate social interactions of the elderly
- Low-level vibrational massage, particularly useful for anyone suffering from chronic fatigue or arthritis
- Inbuilt heating option
- Storage pockets for snacks, TV remotes, books, magazines, and other items you like to have at hand.
Upholstery and ease of cleaning
Recliners can be covered either in fabric, leather, or polyester. Each type of upholstery has its advantages and disadvantages, but whatever material you choose, make sure that it is soft to the touch and breathable.
- Leather recliners are extremely durable and their look improves with age. They are water-resistant and very easy to clean. However, leather tends to get hot, sticky, and slippery in warmer temperatures, so leather chairs may not be suitable if you live in a warmer climate. What’s more, leather is prone to scratches and is not the best choice if you are a pet owner.
- Polyurethane (PU) leather is artificial leather—a synthetic, environmentally friendly material. Although it doesn’t age as well as real leather, PU leather is soft, comfortable, and resistant and makes recliners very easy to maintain.
- Fabric recliners are soft and extremely comfortable. They are available in a variety of different options such as cotton, chenille, and velvet and come in plenty of styles and patterns. However, fabric recliners can be stained easily and require quite a lot of maintenance.
Recliners have moving parts that can break and things can sometimes go wrong with the mechanism. For your peace of mind, make sure to buy your recliner from a reputable retailer. They should offer a warranty and let you return the chair if you’re not happy with the purchase.
There is a huge variation in prices when it comes to recliners. They can cost anywhere from around $400 to over $800 or more depending on the recliner type and features included. It is often worth buying the best recliner you can afford.
Will Medicare or Medicaid Pay for Recliners?
Recliners are considered durable medical equipment (DME) that is used to treat conditions like arthritis and balance or mobility issues. If your doctor determines that a recliner is necessary for your health, Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) or Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) may cover the seat lifting mechanism part of your recliner. However, the frame, fabric, cushion, and accessories are not covered by Medicare even when they are built into the chair.
What is covered by Medicare?
Medicare covers about 80 percent of the recliner price. The amount is usually around $300, but you should check state-specific Medicare information for details. You will have to pay for the remaining 20 percent of the recliner cost out of your pocket.
Supplemental Medigap plans may help cover the costs that are not covered by Medicare.
In what cases are recliners not covered by Medicare?
It is important to keep in mind that recliners are not covered by Medicare in the following cases:
- If you’re residing in a hospital or nursing home
- If Medicare has already paid for your wheelchair, scooter, or another motorized device
- If your recliner uses a spring device to lift you out.
What are the requirements?
Before you ask for reimbursement from Medicare, you have to meet the following criteria:
- You must have Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) or a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C)
- You must purchase your recliner from a Medicare-participating supplier
- Your Medicare-approved doctor needs to prescribe the recliner as a necessary supply for your health condition. This presupposes that you can’t stand up on your own from a regular chair, you have severe arthritis in your knee or hips, and that you are able to walk either on your own or with the help of a device
- You or your provider must submit a claim to Medicare by completing sections B and D on the Certificate of Medical Necessity for Seat Lift Mechanisms Form (Medicare Form CMS-849).
Does Medicaid cover the cost of a recliner?
In some states, the Medicaid program fully covers the cost of a recliner, while in others it is covered only partially. To check your eligibility, contact your local Medicaid office.
10 Best Recliners for the Elderly
There is a wide range of recliners for the elderly to choose from. Here are the best recliners that will keep you comfortable no matter how many hours you spend in them every day:
- Serta Power Recliner
The Serta Power recliner is a sturdy, comfortable chair designed specifically for the elderly. Its beautiful design and suede microfiber fabric will fit within most home decors.
- Smooth and quiet mechanism
- Gel-infused memory foam cushions for ultimate comfort
- Generous side storage pocket
- Ergonomic LED remote control
- USB power port
- Hard-wearing microfiber upholstery that is easy to clean
- The seat may feel too firm for some people
- Only available in one color
- Mcombo Electric Power Lift Recliner Chair Sofa with Massage and Heat
The Mcombo Electric Power Lift recliner is a comfortable and stylish recliner upholstered in high-quality faux leather.
- Solid base with anti-back-tipping design
- Power lift mechanism operated with a two-button intuitive remote control
- Vibrating and heating functions with a timer
- Low-maintenance upholstery
- Two USB outlets
- Two cup holders
- Side pocket for storage
- Four different color alternatives: black, white, red, and brown
- This is quite a big chair that requires a lot of space
- Signature Design by Ashley Yandel Power Lift Oversized Recliner
The Ashley Yandel Power Lift recliner comes from the manufacturer with over 70 years of experience. The recliner looks and feels fantastic—it is comfortable, durable, and convenient.
- Sturdy frame and high lift that makes it easy to get up
- Separately operated backrest and footrest
- One-touch power button
- Quiet and smooth operation
- Generous size chair with high back
- Soft leather-like poly fiber upholstery
- Thick high-resiliency foam cushions
- Side storage pocket
- No cup holders
- No USB ports
- Upholstery is not waterproof
- The chair may be too large for petite individuals
- Limited color selection (black and deep brown)
- One of the most expensive recliners
- Homegear 2-Remote Microfiber Power Lift Electric Recliner Chair
The Homegear 2-Remote Microfiber Power Lift recliner is a high-quality chair with solid wood frames, capable of handling a lot of weight.
- Remote control
- Soft microfiber upholstery
- The backrest and armrests are padded with thick foam cushions
- Storage pockets on each side
- Lumbar heater
- Five massage functions
- The chair reclines up to 150 degrees
- No cup holder
- No USB port
- The chair is not ideal for very tall individuals
- MAGIC UNION Power Lift Massage Recliner
The MAGIC UNION Power Lift Massage recliner is not only comfortable and stylish but also among the most affordable massage recliner models on the market.
- Solid wooden frame
- Smooth and silent operation
- Soft and durable faux leather upholstery
- Two cup holders
- Two remote controls
- Side pockets for storage
- Lumbar heater
- Four areas of massage focus: lumbar, back, leg, and tights
- Five modes of massage and vibration functions
- Backrest and footrest move together
- Reclines only up to 130 degrees
- Christopher Knight Home Emersyn Tufted Fabric Power Recliner
The Christopher Knight Home Emersyn Tufted Fabric Power recliner is an elegant and sleek recliner designed specifically with the elderly in mind.
- Strong and sturdy frame
- Power reclining feature
- A range of motor-powered adjustments
- USB port charging
- Hidden storage compartment in the armrest
- No heating and massage functions
- Narrow design makes it better suited for slender individuals
- Giantex Power Lift Chair Recliner
The Giantex Power Lift Chair recliner is an affordable and easy to use recliner made from high-quality materials.
- Sturdy build and very quiet motor
- Lifting and reclining mechanisms are smooth and safe
- Soft and durable velvet fabric
- Seat cushions are firm and hold up well for intensive use
- Great lumbar support
- The chair can hold the weight of up to 330 pounds
- The chair is on the smaller side and not fitting for taller people
- Legrest and backrest can only move together
- Lifting and reclining mechanisms are quite slow
- CANMOV Power Lift Recliner Chair for Elderly
The CANMOV Power Lift recliner is a well-made, functional chair with a superior reclining mechanism.
- Sturdy metal frame
- Smooth and safe mechanism
- One of the most comfortable recliners on the market
- The chair is very easy to get up from
- Suitable both for short and tall individuals
- Remote control
- Soft suede-like polyester fabric
- Anti-skid upholstery
- Large side pockets
- Armrests may be too low for some people
- The backrest is too low for taller individuals
- Side pockets are quite low and it may be difficult to reach for things
- ERGOREAL Power Lift Recliner Chair for Elderly
The ERGOREAL Power Lift recliner comes with plenty of nifty features and is easy to operate. It is very affordable for a recliner that includes both heating and massage functions.
- Strong iron frame
- Can hold up to 330 pounds
- USB port for charging smartphones and other devices
- Upholstered in waterproof, oil-proof, and dust-proof linen fabric
- Smooth and silent motor
- The back can be adjusted from 100 to 150 degrees
- Heating and massage function
- Good support along the lower back
- Comes in blue, brown, and gray
- The seat is on the small side compared to other recliners
- The armrests are quite narrow
- The chair may not be suitable for taller people
- The heating mechanism takes a long time to warm up
10. U-MAX Recliner Power Lift Chair Wall Hugger
The feature-rich U-MAX Recliner Power Lift Chair Wall Hugger is a good option if you don’t have enough space for a larger recliner. You will only need 10 inches of clearance between the wall and the chair for it to recline or lift.
- Soft and comfortable polyurethane leather
- The recliner lifts the user up smoothly and safely
- Built-in remote control to operate the recliner functions
- Two back wheels to allow for easy maneuvering
- Two cup holders and four storage pockets
- Extra-thick sponge padding in the back, head, and armrests
- Four different massage areas: leg, thigh, lumbar, and back
- Heating function
- Recline only goes down to 130 degrees
- The material is not durable for long-term use
- The recliner may not be suitable for taller people