How To Lift An Elderly Person From A Chair? Comprehensive Guide

Helen Skeates
Helen Skeates
13 min read

It is important to follow protocol when transferring patients. If you want to be sure you’re doing it right when helping an older person out of a chair, read up on the proper technique first. You know you can’t put someone else in harm’s way.

Employing safe and efficient lifting, helping, and moving techniques is crucial. The goal is to keep the patient and yourself safe.

Proper Body Mechanics When Moving the Elderly

Do Not Use Your Back to Lift

Use your leg muscles instead of your back muscles when lifting big objects. Your leg muscles are larger and stronger than your back muscles. The femur is one of the strongest bones in the body, and it is located between the knee and the pelvis.

Bend at Your Hips and Knees

Squatting down to lift someone is the safest and most effective method. This eliminates any risk of harm to your back from unnecessary strain. You can picture the stance bodybuilders adopt when they lift hundreds of pounds off the ground.

Helping Someone Out of a Chair - YouTube

Always Ensure Your Feet Are Apart

As you do the actual lifting, standing with your feet shoulder-width apart will greatly enhance your stability. To accomplish this, place one foot in front of the other and allow them naturally fall into a staggered stance. Lifting someone heavier may require more support than you can provide if your feet are too close together.

Chin, Wrists, And Abdomen

The human body can support significant loads, but only when the individual is standing in the most advantageous positions. While lifting, make sure your wrists are straight, your stomach is pulled in, and your chin is tucked in. You might not think much of this until you try it.

Always Count to Three

Before picking up a loved one from a chair or other surface, wait until you’ve counted to three. By doing so, you and your partner can gain momentum and settle into a shared rhythm.

Stay as Close to the Person You Are Lifting as Possible

Keep as near to the person being lifted as possible. Because of this, the stress caused by your physical separation will be mitigated. Compared to carrying the load at a greater distance, substantially less energy is expended when the weight is held closer to the body.

Lift a Person by Their Hips

You shouldn’t raise someone by their arms, despite what common sense might tell you. The muscles in that area aren’t particularly strong. Instead, you should always lift a person from the hips up. To add, watch that your body doesn’t twist when you lift. When slouched, your body can only support a fraction of the weight you’re capable of lifting when standing tall.

Proper Moves to Turn or Position Reclining Elderly Adults

Depending on the person’s current location, special care must be used when repositioning an old person. Here is a look at some of the common positions and how to handle them.

When Sitting Up

To transfer an elderly person from a wheelchair while they are seated to bed:

  1. The wheelchair should be brought up to the side of the bed and the wheels should be locked. Hold the senior under the knees with one arm and under the back with the other if they lack the upper body power to lift themselves up using only their arms.
  2. Lift the elderly person’s legs over the side of the bed and pivot them until they are seated on the bed.
  3. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees bent.

When Standing

If the elderly person requires assistance getting into a wheelchair, they should stand with their feet slightly apart and rest their hands on your shoulders. Put your arms around the older person’s back and clasp them together while you kneel down with your feet apart. It’s best to lean back and redistribute your weight as you lower the individual into the wheelchair. If you have access to a lifting belt, now is the time to use it.

When in Bed

Bent knees, pivot toward the bed, and lift the senior onto the wheelchair. Lower the elderly person’s bottom till it is snug on the wheelchair seat as they hold on to the armrests.

Use of Assistive Devices to Help Lift an Elderly Person

It can be intimidating to carry and move an elderly person. When dealing with someone who is noticeably heavier than you, the entire process might become challenging. Fortunately, there are many technologies available to help with this issue. Here are a few examples of typical aids that can make these kind of transfers and lifts much less taxing on the user.

5 Gentle Steps On How To Lift An Elderly Person From A Chair - Krostrade

Step-ladder Equipment

These tools are meant to aid in the process of rising from the floor or a chair. A person’s bottom can be lifted from one level to the next with the help of a step-ladder gadget. Once reaching the top of the stair, the person being carried can be transported with minimal effort to a waiting bed, chair, or sofa. Because of their portability, these gadgets are perfect for people providing care for the elderly.

Ceiling Lifts

A ceiling lift is a mechanical hoist used to raise a person above the ground or another level. To use one of these hoists, however, the person being transported must first be rolled over a cloth and then secured to the hoist. Some of these devices have wheels for easy transportation.

Inflatable Lifts

Inflatable lifts are convenient for lifting and elevating the elderly prior to transport. Inflatable portions of these elevators collapse to a flat profile when not in use. When the elderly person is sitting on the lift, you slowly inflate it to raise them to the required height.

Lifting An Elderly Person From A Chair

There is a lot more to patient care than just feeding and cleaning, especially when dealing with elderly people. There will be instances when you have to carefully transport them from one location to another. Here is how to safely remove a senior citizen from a chair.

Before physically relocating a patient, you must first explain the process to them. This is crucial in order to control any impulsive actions.

The second step is to get rid of everything that could get in the way of the lifting. If the ground seems to be damp, you should be aware that it could be hazardous due to the potential for slipping. Check the area where you and the patient will be transferring to make sure there are no hazards.

The third step is to find a comfortable stance. Keep your chin up, your shoulders back, your back straight, and your chest out. Make sure your feet are hip-width apart.

Get near to the patient but don’t touch them. Please use your knees and hips to stoop.

Fourth, instead of using your arms, use your leg muscles to do the lifting. To avoid injury, avoid twisting your waist. Do not reach out to help the sufferer lift anything unless absolutely necessary.

Step 5: Once you’ve lifted the patient, safely transport them to a wheelchair, a bed, or another stable surface. Also, be sure to inquire as to whether there is anything they would like you to alter for the future.

The safety of your patient depends on your rigorous adherence to these procedures. Also, if you get hurt, you may forget about playing. You can’t risk hurting yourself or the old person by picking them up in that state.

Helping an elderly person sit on a chair

The weakening of joints and muscles in the elderly makes it difficult for them to maintain a seated position for any length of time. They need our help, which is why it’s crucial to provide it.

First, check to see if the patient can get up from the floor to the chair. If that’s the case, move the chair back until you are.

Second, go into a spot where you can easily reach the patient. Next, put your hand on her hip.

Make a fist with your other hand. Make the patient place the hand she is holding over the wound.

To proceed to Step 4, move her to a position where she is supported by the back of the chair and can feel it against her legs. As you sit down, be sure you have ample support. The older person will benefit by sitting in a chair with arms so that she can grasp on to them.

Tips you should remember when assisting elderly people

  • Permit them to self-regulate to the greatest extent possible. They won’t improve if you discourage them from taking advantage of their abilities.
  • Keep in mind that you should always keep them apprised of your activities. Lifting, moving, and transferring should always be announced.
  • Provide them with sufficient time to carry out your directives. Don’t rush them or put undue pressure on them.
  • Never grab their arms or legs and pull. It’s recommended that you always grab them by the hips or trunk.
  • A wide transfer belt around their waist will provide a secure hold when you’re moving them.
  • Whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to reach out for assistance. Undertake not try to do something by yourself that you know you cannot succeed at.
  • Implementing sound body mechanics is crucial. Your safety and the safety of the old person are improved by this measure.
  • Wear shoes with non-slip soles so that you don’t injure yourself or them while trying to help.
  • Before doing anything, be sure the area is secure. Look around for anything that could cause injury to you or the elderly people living there.
  • Don’t freak out if the person you’re transferring to starts to fall. Bend over and gently place them on the ground. Never try to catch a patient by their clothing to prevent them from falling.
  • Keep in mind that if you are hurt, you shouldn’t try to raise somebody. In the same vein, unless you have specific training, you shouldn’t attempt to lift someone who is significantly bigger than you.

Checklist for Lifting an Elderly Person

Here is a helpful checklist to review if you’re not sure what to do when lifting and transferring an older person.

Please be patient, since seniors with diminished cognitive abilities may require more time to respond to your gestures and verbal commands. You could easily confuse them if you tried to hurry things forward. It’s also wise to prioritize safety above speed. Spend the time it takes to properly configure all safety measures.

Review the methods: Proper lifting and moving skills are simple to forget or ignore. Review these methods thoroughly before interacting with the elderly person. Keep in mind the proper alignment of the knees, back, hips, and feet.

Constantly think ahead: Although it may appear to be a simple procedure, lifting and transporting a person requires some preparation. Spend some time clearing out the spaces you’ll be using, making sure everything you’ll need is in one place and within easy reach. Carex Upeasy Seat Assist - Chair Lift And Sofa Stand Assist - Portable Lifting Seat With Support Up to 200 Pounds, Provides 70% Assistance : Everything Else

Inquiring Minds Want to Know: It is important to discuss the need for additional assistance with moving and lifting the elderly person ahead of time. Ensure that any necessary technological or tool support is in place before the move. The following is a list of some of the more common lifting and standing assistance that may be necessary for you:

  • Non-slip mat
  • Handrails for the disabled
  • Bed on wheels
  • Automatic elevating chair
  • Squat toilet with elevated seat
  • Sliding board


It’s crucial to ensure the security of your loved ones when they require mobility aids. You should seek professional counsel based on the condition’s severity and the level of assistance you require. Health care professionals, such as nurses and aides, can provide guidance on how to perform tasks more efficiently.

The measures you take will benefit not just the patient, but also yourself. So that you can maintain taking care of them, it is crucial that you stay safe.

One of the fundamentals of caring for an older loved one is learning how to safely move them from a chair. They benefit greatly from mobility aids in addition to proper feeding and cleaning.

Helen Skeates

Helen Skeates

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