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:
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).
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.
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.
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:
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:
When 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 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 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.
Seat 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!
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.*
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 support. 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. I believe that the seat angle should be between 8 and 13 degrees because anything higher may result in being uncomfortable. 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?
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?
Poor posture is often associated with back pain. To address this, some people use lumbar seat supports to improve posture and reduce discomfort. When sitting or standing with proper alignment, the muscles and spine are in the correct position, which can decrease tension in the lower back and improve muscle function.
A lumbar support pillow can help maintain this alignment and avoid slouching or hunching, potentially leading to less pain and better spinal health. Additionally, good posture can improve appearance and confidence. Whether sitting at a desk or participating in physical activity, lumbar support can help maintain comfort. Maintaining a straight spine is a key component of good posture, and a lack of lumbar support can contribute to back pain and other issues.
Benefits of Using a Support Cushion for the Elderly
As we age, it’s important to consider how we sit, especially if you’re looking for ways to make your life easier. Sitting in an ergonomic position can help take pressure off the lower back and maintain the natural “S” shape of the spine. This can promote better posture while sitting. Additionally, using a cushion with a top layer of natural latex foam can also help to reduce pressure points and improve comfort. When used correctly, a cushion can make a big difference in making sitting more comfortable.
Choosing the Right Support Cushion for Your Loved One
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?
What Support Is Available for the Elderly
As we age, it’s common to experience various problems related to sitting. One way to address these issues is by using an ergonomic support cushion. This can help by providing extra support to the lower back and spine, promoting better posture which can improve circulation and prevent cramping. Additionally, it can ease joint pain by taking pressure off the joints and softening the impact when sitting down, also it can help to reduce fatigue by promoting better blood flow and muscle relaxation. Overall, a support cushion can be a useful tool for older adults.
How do You Use a Support Cushion?
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 the Elderly
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 the 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.
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.
While there are many seat support cushions for the elderly on the market, I believe that 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.
- 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 rehabilitation, 79(4), pp.388-394.
- 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.
- 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 Science, 20(1), pp.51-57.
- 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 Research, 20(1), pp.52-63.
- Timm, M. and Samuelsson, K., 2016. Wheelchair seating: A study on the healthy elderly. Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 23(6), pp.458-466.
- 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 Viability, 9(4), pp.133-137.