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Topic Need advice on a chair Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By Emma On 2010.10.20 22:46
We are having a problem finding a comfortable workable chair for my husband. So far we have been through 2 lift chairs. Neither was comfortable for him and he had trouble operating the remote. Eventually he broke both of them. Just this week we had a regular (not lift) power operated recliner (simple two button remote) delivered and it's been a disaster. The biggest problem is that my husband cannot sit up straight and stay sitting. In addition to leaning over he slides down until he is literally resting on his spine and he ends up on the floor. Twice this week he has slid down until he was on the foot rest part of his new recliner and that shift in weight has caused him to end up on the floor with the chair flipped up over him. And this is a heavy chair, not easily tipped. The mechanism on both of the lift chairs eventually broke because of this shift in weight distribution as he slides which apparently puts too much pressure on the chairs. He can't get up from a sofa so that's not really an option either. The same kind of thing happens with dining room chairs. He just slides off of them so I'm not sure that a stationary chair would be any better. Does anyone else have this problem? Since he spends most of his time sitting I want him to be comfortable and safe but we can't afford to keep buying new chairs. I'm pretty sure that putting velcro on the furniture and the back of his clothes won't work ... that's a joke.. and I'm tearing my hair out trying to come up with a solution. Any ideas?

By LOHENGR1N On 2010.10.20 23:42
Emma, I think all of Us with Parkinson's have a similar problem some to a lessor degree but yes. We can, will or do find ourselves in situations like you describe your Husband gets into with the chair over him. I've posted here and in the commentary section of some of my adventures with seemingly mundane just gotta laugh at yourself sometimes how you end up. (it beats crying) I got stuck at the computer a month or so ago which I posted about, hee,hee,hee I got stuck the same way a couple days ago but my vanity stopped my posting of it till now and once awhile ago I got submitted by a chair at bingo it wrapped me up and held tight. So yes we have trouble with sitting right in chairs, staying in chairs or any household furniture which is sneaky and attacks us when we're alone even if alone for only a moment. That velcro thing might be worth looking into ;) :) Sorry I don't have any answer for you but I will be reading this thread incase someone out there comes up with some help for Us. Take care, best of luck and hang in there.

By shakingpt On 2010.10.21 05:58
Hi Emma. I don't know if a standing wheelchair is an option for you but we did have a demonstration at our clinic. It was impressive that you could stand without falling and the legs were blocked in such a way that the legs stayed in place. I don't know how comfortable they are. I don't know if you are even interested in this. It is not like a lounge chair which is like what you were describing. The big caveat for these chairs impressive as they may have been was cost. HUGE expense, If you are interested let me know. I know that someone at the clinic must have a brochure on it somewhere.

By Cindy Bystricky On 2010.10.21 13:55
I don't know if the PDer's ya'll are speaking of are still walking on their own or require aids,but I have the perfect chair!!!! It is a "tilt wheelchair"! The medical supply company sends someone out and they measure everything on the patient, lenght of feet, distance from ankle to knee,from knee to lower back and from lower back to top of head. Shoulder width,etc. It is made to fit the PD patient and padded in such a way to keep the "midline" straight. It prevents the leaning, so common with PD, and provides a way to shift the body weight by tilting the entire "chair" portion of the wheelchair, thus it aids in preventing pressure wounds(bed sores). It can be electric or manual. Ours is manual and is tilted by squeezing the handles used to push the wheelchair around. (Sort of like the brake handles on a bike or walker.) It has a tray for eating,reading, etc. Can be partially disassembled to go into the car. This is the answer to problems ( like transferring patients) for caregivers. They can sit in it all day if they want, it is so comfortable!! It is made to be used as much as necessary. The good news is that like other wheelchairs, insurance will cover most of the cost. I was told about this chair when the Physical Therapist came with home health. She said this chair will provide the service we need from now on! Like you all, we have gone thru alot of recliners, etc. Hope you can check this out. Good luck!

By karolinakitty On 2010.10.21 15:59
We were able to find a high seated recliner overstuffed chair that has been just wonderful for him. Sometimes he has a bad night with the drooling and choking and goes to get some rest on it. I also just got a matching love seat that comes above the knees(my guy is 6 ft) and he absolutely loves it. So then i started looking for TV TAbles so he could eat and be on the laptop too... I found this on ebay....

Its called an Assist a tray.... a tv table that the table top swivels and has a handle so you cna hold it and lift yourself up. I think i'm going to get one of these they look great but i have to see how sturdy it is......

By Emma On 2010.10.21 17:19
Thank you all for your replies. Lohengrin, I appreciate your humor in past posts about dealing with the trials and travails of Parkinson's even more since we've been dealing with this problem. I really don't know how you keep such a good perspective!

My husband is still able to walk with a walker. In fact his walking has improved dramatically since his back surgery so I don't think we're looking at a wheelchair just yet but it's good to know about the variety that are available. Our new recliner is high backed and very comfy too. He loves it except for sliding out of it.

KK- That tray looks good. I've been searching for a TV tray that is stable and won't tip over.

Now for the update. The nurse who sees my husband once a week was here today. I told her about the sliding problem and she suggested that I put a piece of a rug pad (the kind that goes under throw rugs) on the seats of his chairs and at his place at the table. I happened to have an unopened rug pad in the basement so I cut a piece to fit the seat of his reclining chair and so far it seems to be working! He still slides a little tiny bit but not bad. He has gotten through the day without landing on the floor so that's progress! We will see how it works on the table and his chair for dinner tonight. Maybe we can get through a meal without everything, including him, on the floor.

Again, thank you all for your help and I'm still open to other suggestions!

By caregivermary On 2010.10.22 12:06
Where are you all getting the high back recliners?

I am starting the process of buying a new chair. My husb has neck problems and needs support to relief pain.

By Emma On 2010.10.22 15:42
caregivermary, We found a nice recliner with a high back at a local furniture store. It's made by a company called Best, which is located in Indiana. I'm not sure but I think they only market in the midwest (we live in Michigan). It has a nice deep seat too so it doesn't cut his legs off mid-thigh. This one has a high back but it's pretty soft and cushy so I'm not sure how much neck support there would be. Anyway, good luck, I know how hard it is to find a recliner that has all of the features you want. We looked a long time before we found this one.

By Michele On 2010.10.22 17:23
Caregiver Mary, I found a comportable power recliner at Dynamic Living along with other useful items. They have recliners that are for large and tall individuals. My guy is big and I needed a chair with a bigger seat that the standard chair that you find in stores. Of course, they are pricier. I'm attaching a link:

Good luck.

By Michele On 2010.10.22 17:25
p.s. to Caregiver Mary
The Dynamic Living company was very helpful and used a delivery service that was knowledgeable of the needs of the disabled. Even though he wasn't supposed to, he set it up and showed us how to operate.

By caregivermary On 2010.10.22 18:25
thank you!!!!

By karolinakitty On 2010.10.22 23:08
caregivermary ... i also got mine at a local furniture store. It has a high back as well as the seat being high in position, so he doesn't have far to go down to the seat.It is also ovewrstuffed and very comfy.. ya just want to fall asleep as soon as you sit in it. It is made by a company known as Franklin....

By cgold On 2010.10.23 20:37
We purchased a lift chair made by Berkline. It comes in leather or fabric. The best features are the cushions for seat and back. The interior consists of air tubes that can be inflated/deflated based upon comfort and is worked from the remote control. The chair can be viewed on the Berkline website. Although in the $1,400 range, it is far superior than the usual lift chairs due to the interior air tubes and is a larger chair, therefore more comfortable.

By LOHENGR1N On 2010.10.24 00:33
Thanks for the info. Sounds like some nice chairs people have got.

One thing to be considered and I don't want to be the "wet blanket" here or anything but I as everyone on the forum knows can get into trouble at times without even trying. I know you've all got Your hearts in the right place and are trying to do or get the best for your loved ones. As far as contraptions are concerned the simpler the better.

It's not a case of not being able to figure them out or knowing the directions to follow, it's a case of Murphy's law and Parkinson's Disease. Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong and at the worse time it can. Even in the best of times television remotes will give one problems. I'm functioning fairly well and I would be leery of a remote for a chair that could contort myself into a bent, twisted mess. The idea of air filled tubes or pockets sounds comfortable to say the least to many. To me I think how long before I somehow puncture one? You know I'd be the one to do it too! Somehow, some improbable way I'd do it. I'd lose a fork while reclining and press the remote to sit up and hiss! I can see me with a remote, fingers in full tremor pushing repeatedly on button, arm swinging from dyskinesia, maybe a nice afghan (incase I got chilly) wrapped around me preventing me from my last window of escape! Bound and trapped until someone stopped by.........oops, sorry my imagination got the best of me there for a bit.

All I want to do is remind our beloved caregivers/partners that what while things sound nice and sales people/brochures paint items as easy and convenient. To a Parkinsonian easy and convenient are no longer in our vocabulary or actions. Again I don't want to sound like a nay-sayer but well you know what I mean....We're not here on the forum because Parkinson's Disease is easy and we don't present problems. Take care, best of luck and hang in there.

By Cindy Bystricky On 2010.10.24 13:25
This is the main reason we cannot handle anything with controls! Al cannot manage the cognitive or physical part of any control. The tilt wheelchair is for his comfort and health(pressure wounds,etc.) and for MY sanity! haha Good luck everyone!

By LOHENGR1N On 2010.10.24 15:55
Just one more thought on lift chairs. One of the more frequently posted problems on the forum is mobility. Parkinson's presents Us with many impairments toward mobility. Wether drops in blood pressure upon standing, leg tremor, dyskinesia or dystonia, freezes, slow reactions, falling and the list can go on. Now should we provide a means to get out of a chair for one with those problems? Sure, if You or someone is right there with the patient to assist in the procedure. However we know this isn't always the case and in Our innocence (some refer to this as a sneakiness on our part) We'll try to help you by getting out of the chair ourselves. Yes if we pitch backward the chair will catch us (think of the slide on the playground) and gently deposit us sitting on the floor. However if we tilt sideways or forward the chair won't help avoid injury. Without the aiding and abetting of a lift chair we're more prone to have to wait for help getting up. Avoiding rising when we're not able to ambulate safely.

I don't know what the answer is I guess it's up to the individuals involved to decide. It's just something to think about before investing in something intended to make life easier for everyone only to find it has the reverse effect. Take care, best of luck and hang in there.

By caregivermary On 2010.10.24 18:28
back from shopping for a chair and I'm not sure a chair of any type will solve the issue with my husb's neck pain. Because he is so tall and having had surgery on the neck he can't seem to get his neck to rest on the back of the chair comfortably. He wants to hold it staight up. It is the darnest thing. The chair is moving back and he holds his head up straight. Maybe his Dr. will have an answer.
Thanks again for all of the suggestions.

By cgold On 2010.10.24 20:56
Just to clarify on the chair with the inner air tubes. There is no way to puncture the tubes. You sit on the chair just as you would any other chair. The difference is the button on the remote control allows the person to adapt their comfort level. The air tubes are built into the cushion. My husband has found this very comfortable and easy to manage. I think the bottom line is for each person to check out what is available on the market, ask questions, and test out.

By LOHENGR1N On 2010.10.24 23:50
cg, I apologize for the following ......I just can't help myself...Mia Culpa's......I have a warped sense of humor along with a visualization problem. Or I can picture it in my head.....there in the middle of the room I'm sitting on a flattened out lump of upholstery containing the limp insides of the chair, remote in hand with button stuck on deflate! Again I'm sorry if I offend any with this. It gave me a chuckle and I figured if someone is on at this time of night a chuckle might do them good too. If you think this is bad, you should hear my maniacal cackling when I open the supermarket flyer to discover boneless chicken is on sale! Oh well, TGIMT (Thank G-d It's Med's Time)! Take care, best of luck and hang in there.

By Emma On 2010.10.25 05:25
Al, you're a breath of fresh air!

This really is such a frustrating problem. My husband picked out all three of the chairs we have purchased himself after several visits to the furniture stores. Yet once we had the chairs he didn't like them. Since he spends most of his time sitting we both want him to be comfortable, which he is in the latest chair, until he slides out (that problem has been greatly reduced by using the rug pad on the seat) or tries to get up from the chair. He has little if any tremor but has trouble figuring out the remotes because of dementia, yet he insists on having a recliner and it has to be power operated because he doesn't have the strength to use either a push back or stick type.

I just ordered the device that karolinakitty mentioned in her post. We'll see if it helps him get out of the chair. I also looked up the Berkline chair ... very very nice, but the remote would be too complicated for him. There has to be some kind of a solution. In the meantime our basement is starting to look like a used furniture store and my checking account is looking like a black hole.

By caregivermary On 2010.10.25 13:42
Al, anyone,

I wish you could help me with my husb's neck pain. He had cervical surgery in 2005 front & back. Decompression and fusion work from top to bottom. He has pain with headaches and it seems to be caused by hanging his head while sitting at the breakfast table, his tv chair in the FR, and generally the inability to rest the head/neck in a car seat or chair. I use tylenol 500mg to treat.

My husb also has been having very serious low BP issues which the Dr. is working with me to get it under control. As a result he has been staying in bed(hospital bed) most of the day and the neck and headaches go away doing this. I don't think this is a good idea because staying in bed can present another list of issues.

I use a soft collar which he had left over from his cervical spine surgery. This generally helps but makes him very warm around the neck and face.

I was exploring a new chair hoping I could find one that would support the neck automatically. However, the chairs don't work that way and my husb just wants to hold his head up straight rather than allowing it to relax on the back of the chair.

We do see his Geriactric Internist this week but I thought you all might have some ideas.

By karolinakitty On 2010.10.25 14:31
caregivermary .... i recently purchased, for myself, a traveling pillow that supports the neck. I got it at walmart and i think it was about $15. It's hard to describe, but it looks like a french donut. it's curlyqued, and round but if you turm it in half it is awesome. I too get headaches if i am not keeping my neck at the right position. I damaged my back and neck as a kid, and it wasn't until my adult years i started having problems. The chiropractor i went to used to take this drill like thing and tap the back of my neck to put it back in place, BOY did that feel good when he did. Things he told me about keeping it "straight" were sleeping with a nothing pillow or paper pillow as my guy puts it. The other was not stooping over my plate and letting my neck rest downward when watching TV. One thing i do in reagrds to TV is get a high 4 shelf stand as then you are not looking down but upward at it. The other problem is driving, after a few hours i have needed to prop up my neck and regular pillows were so clumsy and big it was hard to get it fixed right. On our last adventure i drove 6 hours straight and used this travel pillow from walmart when my neck got tired and WOW what a difference. The ones our satore had where a navy blue and light blue. They look a little silly but it didn't get hot around my neck and it felt really good........

By LOHENGR1N On 2010.10.26 00:13
Mary, I can sympathize and empathize with your Husband other than that I don't know what can be done. You can try kk's solution and it may work. I've spent some time in cervical collars myself both soft and hard and they do tend to make you sweat. You said that He hangs his head at the table and in the chair watching TV? Is it a case of hanging his head or is it dystonia causing it? For awhile now I've been having trouble with my neck and head, it feels like an invisible hand is forcing my head forward and down, sitting and walking. I've noticed when the medicine is working this lessens, however between the med's kicking in and wearing off it's worse. Which at this point in the game more time is spent awaiting the med's to kick in or having them wear off or quit working than having them work and do their job. Ask Him if He thinks that's what's happening with Him. I can tell you that trying to stop the flexing forward of ones neck hurts when trying to keep their head upright. I asked my Neurologist if I should go to wearing the cervical collar He advised against it and said to try a warm towel draped around the neck and shoulders or a heating pad to relax the muscles. Rethinking the collar I guess His line of thought is with dystonia the twisting or force being exerted will still be there and putting the collar on to block the downward movement would in the long run cause more problems as the jaw will be pushing down on it and the neck will begin stretching pulling the muscles at the rear of the neck as the head tries to tilt forward and down. A neck x-ray might be wise to request just to make sure everything is ok where they repaired. Other than that I don't know what to say may help, sorry I wish I had a better solution to help. Take care, best of luck and hang in there.

By caregivermary On 2010.10.29 17:39

Thanks for reply. Geriactric Dr. feels it might be dystonia based on his exam. We agreed to do any testing at this point would not help. My husb would not be able to undergo surgery of any kind. He agreed to using heat and if the soft collar helped, to use it to relieve the pain. My husb is not at the stage to be able to communicate and remember from any point in time where in the dose this is happening. I will keep a close eye on it. Although, I think it generally occurs late in the afternoon and right at bedtime. He takes sinemet and stavelo 5 times a day. In the pain article by Blair Ford MD, he states amantadine can be used to treat dystonic spasms caused by PD meds. I think I will talk with his neuro about this.

By LOHENGR1N On 2010.10.29 19:19
Mary, Please keep us posted as to what his Neuro thinks and about the amantadine. I'd like to know what's available to help with this problem too! The other night I wasn't sure I'd make it back from Squires last sortie out to go before bed. The forward tilt and twist of my neck hit me like a blow to the back of my neck that just kept pressing. I felt like I was going to just drop to my knees like from the neck (pain) down I couldn't control the rest of my body. Oh the "fun" we have and the strangeness we endure. But I digress, please let us know what you find out. Take care, best of luck and hang in there.

By karolinakitty On 2010.10.29 20:50
Amantadine .. our neuro was gonna script that for his freezing but the movement doc went against it... so we never tried it... the side effects caused me to question the movement doc about it.....

By caregivermary On 2010.11.02 20:30

Well, the neuro said it is not dystonia. He said it is dyskinesia and to decrease the sinemet by one half tablet for each dose. This is not good news because decreasing the sinemet will not help mobility. My husb had been on amantadine for 9yrs prior to this neuro taking him off of it in 2008 due to hallucinations.

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