Best Support Cushions for the Elderly | Chiropractor Advises

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As we age, taking care of our bodies becomes more important. One way to do that is by using the best support cushions for the elderly when sitting or lying down.* Choosing the correct type of cushion can make a big difference in our comfort and health. In this blog post, I’ll discuss the best support cushions for elderly people.

As a general rule, the best support cushions for the elderly are designed to provide support and relieve pressure on major joints. Natural latex foam is one of the most popular materials in seat cushions because it’s exceptionally comfortable, resilient, and cooling.

After years of treating elderly patients with chronic back pain, I decided to train as an ergonomic adviser. I created ergonomic seat cushions and published a book on the subject. I also spoke about this topic on national television. The experience I gained from my work with countless patients taught me significant points to consider when choosing the best support cushion for the elderly. Please allow me to share my insights with you on this topic!

What is a Support Cushion for the Elderly?

The best support cushions for the elderly provide support and comfort and often come with various features. However, there are key features that all ergonomic seat cushions must have to be effective:

diagram how to tell if seat cushion is ergonomic

Foam Layers

Most back support seat cushions are one piece, but support pillows for elderly high-end models use multiple foam layers for increased comfort and durability.  (My latest design is above).

Density

Several factors determine the best seat cushions for the elderly, but one thing you can control is their density. Heavier foams provide more support and comfort than lighter ones because they weigh more on seats.

chart describing density of seat foam cushions

PU

Despite their popularity, polyurethane foam seat cushions are less luxurious than more expensive materials, and I believe they are not the back support cushions for the elderly. As a result, they are best suited for short trips rather than long ones where you might require support against bumps and noises from outside.

Memory

Even though memory foam offers more density and is more expensive, I do not recommend it for support cushions for the elderly since it is potentially toxic, difficult to clean, and can cause pressure points under your weight if you sit on it for extended periods.

I was surprised how similar cheap memory foam seat cushions were on Aliexpress from the listing on Amazon!

Why I don’t recommend memory foam:

the darker side of memory foam chart

                                       Sources: 1,2,3,4,5
Natural Latex

Since continuous movement is good for the spine, natural latex foam is considered one of the best materials for seat support cushions owing to its soft feel and springy quality.

Benefits of natural latex foam:

chart on benefits of latex foam seat cushions

Sources: 1,2,3,4,5

Resiliency

resiliency iconWhen searching for the best seat support cushion for chairs, choose high-resilience foam because it provides unparalleled comfort. Investing in a product only to have it fail to meet your expectations is universal. The best seat cushions should have resilience and longevity since this type has proven to work. 

These chairs are ergonomically designed to enhance your back and overall health for seniors traveling on airplanes or sitting at their desks all day. Quality seat cushions provide comfort, support, and resilience and will make long-term use more comfortable because they provide comfort and support.  Below is a video I made detailing resiliency:

Pressure Support of Foams

Natural latex 

natural latex icon Natural latex provides excellent pressure support, dense and supportive, yet has a bit of giving, making it perfect for ergonomic seat support cushions. Natural latex is also very durable, so it will last for many years with proper care and is naturally hypoallergenic, making it an excellent choice for people with allergies and sensitivities. For pressure support, natural latex is an excellent option. (source)

Memory 

petro chemical memory foam iconMemory foam seat support cushions are often marketed as incredibly comfortable. Still, for my patients, I believe that they end up causing more pain than they relieve because one of the main problems with memory foam is that it doesn’t provide enough support for the body, particularly for people who suffer from back pain.

Because memory foam conforms to the body’s shape, the spine can be out of alignment. Memory foam doesn’t have the same bounce level as other natural foams (like latex), making it difficult to change positions and get comfortable. Hence, I believe memory foam seat cushions can exacerbate chronic pain by exacerbating pressure points.

Gel 

gel foam iconSeat cushions with silicone gel infused into the surface are firmer than memory foam support cushions because they have been infused with silicone gel, making the surface feel cooler. I believe that these foams offer little to no support for elders.

 

I was surprised how similar cheap memory foam seat cushions were on Aliexpress from the listing on Amazon!

chart of density, cooling,resiliency, comfort of chair foams

Design

A seat support cushion for elders can also enhance the comfort of your sitting surface by reducing the curve in your lower spine and tilting your pelvis forward when used correctly.* If you suffer from back pain, investing in an ergonomic seat cushion should help improve your sitting posture.*

Best Seat Cushion for Chairs Design

Ergonomic Seat Cushion

To have good posture, you should sit or stand straight and hold your head high. This will allow gravity to do its job and keep your joints aligned, and as a result, blood flow will be more efficient.

This ergonomically designed seat support cushion will provide comfort and alignment. At the same time, the cover material is incredibly durable, allowing you to quickly wipe away any stains or dirt without worrying about ruining it! 

Choosing the right ergonomic cushion is vital. The seat angle should be between 8 and 13 degrees because anything higher could result in back pain. Test your seat before buying because a too-soft or firm seat can cause discomfort after prolonged use.

Why Lumbar Support Is Needed for the Elderly?

lumbar back support with 2 straps

Whenever someone slouches or leans forward while seated, it puts a strain on their lower back as the lower back curves outward instead of inward, which can cause strain on the various structures within the lower back.* In a slouched position, there is a lot of pressure and strain on the lower vertebrae (L5 and S1), and a lumbar support cushion for the elderly helps to provide additional support to the lower back to help alleviate the strain.

Is Lumbar Support Necessary?

the best lumbar support cushion

Back pain is frequently caused by poor posture, and lumbar seat support can help to improve your posture and reduce pain. When you sit or stand with good posture, your muscles and spine are correctly aligned, reducing tension in your lower back and increasing muscle performance.

With a lumbar support pillow, you should stay in alignment, avoiding slouching or hunching, and as a result, you will experience less back pain and better spinal health. In addition, good posture makes you look taller and more confident, and whether you’re sitting at a desk all day or are exercising, lumbar support may keep you comfortable and pain-free.

The essential part of good posture is keeping your spine straight, but poor lumbar support can lead to back pain and other health problems.

Benefits of Using a Support Cushion for the Elderly

An ergonomic seat support cushion is always best, especially as we get older and our bodies are not as forgiving. A support cushion can help to take the strain off the lower back and maintain the spine’s natural “S” shape, which promotes better posture whilst sitting.

Furthermore, the top layer of memory foam helps to reduce pressure points and improve your comfort — no matter where you’re sitting.* When used correctly, a support cushion can make a world of difference for elderly people. So if you’re looking for a way to make life a little bit easier, invest in a good quality support cushion.

Choosing the Right Support Cushion for Your Loved One

best support seat cushion for elderly

When it comes to finding the right support cushion for your elderly loved one, there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind. Firstly, consider the size and shape of the cushion. The cushion must be large enough to support the entire bottom but not so large that it’s uncomfortable or inconvenient to use. Secondly, take into account the material of the cushion. A natural latex foam support cushion is often the best choice for older adults, as it contours to the body and provides maximum comfort. Finally, ensure that the cushion cover is machine washable, making it much easier to keep clean.

How Can a Support Cushion Help to Alleviate Common Problems of Aging?

Support Cushion Helps Alleviate Common Problems of Aging

What Support Is Available for the Elderly

There are many ways in which a support cushion can help to alleviate common problems associated with aging. Firstly, it may help to reduce back pain by providing extra support to the lower back and spine. Secondly, it may improve circulation by encouraging good posture and preventing cramping. Thirdly, it can ease joint pain by taking pressure off the joints and softening the impact when sitting down. Finally, it can reduce fatigue by promoting better blood flow and helping the muscles to relax. All these benefits make a support cushion an essential tool for older adults.

How do You Use a Support Cushion?

seat cushion diagram better posture

Using a support cushion is simple — just place it on any chair, sofa, or bed (as support for sagging cushions) you’ll be sitting on for extended periods. It’s important to remember that the cushion should be positioned to support the lower back and spine rather than the head or neck. Use the cushion daily for best results, and take regular breaks to stretch your legs and back. With a bit of practice, you’ll soon find that using a support cushion is second nature.

Other Ways to Help Improve the Quality of Life for Elderly

elderly couple dancing

Activities of Daily Living

In addition to using a support cushion, there are many other ways you can help improve the quality of life of your elderly parents.

  • Ensure they get enough exercise by helping them stay active and mobile.
  • Encourage them to socialize by organizing regular outings and activities with friends and family.
  • Help them to eat a healthy diet by preparing nutritious meals and snacks.
  • Ensure they have plenty of rest by creating a comfortable sleeping environment and a regular sleep routine.

Neck Support Cushion for Elderly

When seeking neck support for the elderly, finding what support is available for seniors is sometimes challenging. A good night’s sleep is crucial for overall health and well-being, yet many people struggle to get the rest they need. One of the main reasons for this is poor sleep posture.

woman sleeping with hip replacement

Sleeping with your head and neck out of alignment can make you feel stiff and sore. A pillow designed to help keep your head and neck aligned can make a difference. The Tencel® cover and perforated latex foam of the customizable height pillow wick heat away to help keep you sleeping cool. At the same time, the luxuriously soft resilience feel keeps you comfy night after night. Whether you’re struggling with back pain or just looking for a more comfortable way to sleep, this pillow could be the answer.

Summary

While there are many seat support cushions for the elderly on the market, natural latex foam is one of the best materials for elderly individuals. The cushion will support and relieve pressure on significant joints, making sitting more comfortable for extended periods. If you’re looking for a quality cushion to help improve your loved one’s comfort, consider purchasing a well-designed ergonomic natural latex foam support cushion for the elderly.

 

 

 

Sources:

  1. Brienza, D.M. and Karg, P.E., 1998. Seat cushion optimization: a comparison of interface pressure and tissue stiffness characteristics for spinal cord injured and elderly patients. Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation79(4), pp.388-394.
  2. Takahashi, M. and Nanba, R., 2012, August. An analysis of elderly person’s arising action from chair using cushion-type support tool. In 2012 Proceedings of SICE Annual Conference (SICE) (pp. 623-628). IEEE.
  3. Anan, M., Okumura, K., Kito, N. and Shinkoda, K., 2008. Effects of variation in cushion thickness on the sit-to-stand motion of elderly people. Journal of Physical Therapy Science20(1), pp.51-57.
  4. Choi, N.G. and Wodarski, J.S., 1996. The relationship between social support and health status of elderly people: Does social support slow down physical and functional deterioration?. Social Work Research20(1), pp.52-63.
  5. Timm, M. and Samuelsson, K., 2016. Wheelchair seating: A study on the healthy elderly. Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy23(6), pp.458-466.
  6. Collins, F., 1999. The contribution made by an armchair with integral pressure-reducing cushion in the prevention of pressure sore incidence in the elderly, acutely ill patient. Journal of Tissue Viability9(4), pp.133-137.
**As a service to our readers, Axial Chairs provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of the last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.
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Dr Lawrence Woods DC

Dr Lawrence Woods DC

Founder

My goal is to create the highest quality ergonomic office chairs and accessories for unmatched comfort.

With 30 years of spinal healthcare experience in Ireland as a chiropractor, I learned the value of high-quality sitting for living a happy and healthy life.

I have a Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West and I am NBCE Physiotherapy certified.

 

Dr Lawrence Woods

My goal is to create the highest quality ergonomic office chairs and accessories for unmatched comfort. With 30 years of spinal healthcare experience as a chiropractor, I learned the value of high-quality sleep for living a happy and healthy life. I have a Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West and am NBCE Physiotherapy certified.

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