furniture [ES&H]

We need furniture which fits the adults in Bethel and isn’t too soft or ill-fitting. Too soft furniture does cause muscle, ligament, and bone injuires as people struggle to get out of the chair or couch. Ideally, we can design our own, we certainly have the skills locally.

[see additional information and resources in the comments section for this post.]


2 Responses to “furniture [ES&H]”

  1. 1 vuee 2005 July 19 at 10:17 am

    Avoid dangerous furniture design principles

    I’m having trouble locating design principles or guidelines for making, modifying, or buying furniture suitable to the elderly and frail.

    Like many senior centers in rural areas, I’m sure furniture for elders is usually castoffs. (We have an especially niggardly program) But furniture of the wrong design can be dangerous, contributing to fractures, vessel and muscle injuries, stroke, etc.

    We also have a population of people of genetically short-stature, unique physique (not average Euro-American) people for whom the typical furniture is not appropriate.

    So, if people want to purchase, modify, or build ourselves furniture, what guidelines should we follow?

    Thank you.

    Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2003 10:44:35 -0500
    From: ABLEDATA Resource Center on Accessible Housing and Universal Design!
    Subject: Re: furniture design principles

    Hello Dr. B,

    The ABLEDATA project is funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), US Department of Education, to provide information resources about assistive devices and rehabilitation equipment products for people with disabilities for the purpose of aiding people in finding needed items. However, we, unfortunately, do not have available the kind of guidelines you are seeking.

    You might find some assistance through the following organizations:

    Center for Inclusive Design & Environmental Access
    378 Hayes Hall, School of Architecture & Planning
    3435 Main Street
    University at Buffalo
    Buffalo, NY 14214-3087
    (716) 829.3485 extension 329
    (716) 829.3758
    (716) 829.3861
    idea AT

    College of Design
    North Carolina State University
    50 Pullen Road, Brooks Hall, Room 104
    Campus Box 8613
    Raleigh, NC. 27695-8613
    toll-free : 800.647.6777
    ph. 919.515.3082
    fax. 919.515.7330
    E-mail: cud AT

    Alaska Assistive Technology Project
    Department of Education
    Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Assistive Technologies of Alaska
    1016 West 6th St., Suite 205
    Anchorage, AK 99501
    V: 800/478-4378 (in state only); 907/269-3570.
    TTY: 800/898-0138 (in state only); 907/563-0153.
    Fax: 907/269-3632.
    E-mail: james_beck AT

    In addition, the following company specializes in products for individuals of short stature:

    Adaptive Living
    4981 SE Sterling Circle
    Stuart, FL 34997
    561-781-6153, 561-781-9179 Fax

    Katherine Belknap
    Project Director

  2. 2 vuee 2005 July 19 at 10:19 am

    While looking for ways to modify, buy, or build suitable seating for older people–I ran across this:

    And the conclusions (but not yet specific enough)–
    Based on displacement and velocity data of the study participant, one could speculate that rising from the rocking chair was a more difficult task than rising from the standard chair. The lower and more posteriorly slanted seat of the rocking chair and the more forward movement of the knees during the rocking chair condition contributed to greater hip, knee, and ankle flexion (Wheeler et al., 1984; Rodosky et al., 1991). Larger torques at lower extremity joints likely occurred as a result, and more knee extensor muscle activation would be necessary during the extension phase (Wheeler et al., 1984). Using arm supports on rocking chairs would help to decrease joint torques (Bahrami et al., 2000). While greater momentum is generated in the rocking chair, quicker completion of the sit-to-stand transfer does not imply less stress on the joints. While rocking chairs may be comfortable for sitting, they do not provide the best conditions for standing up. For those who lead sedentary lifestyles, the elderly, or those with limited lower extremity range of motion, chair types other than rocking chairs would help to facilitate the sit-to-stand movement.

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