Clinical Seating for Dementia

Dementia & Alzheimer’s Chairs

Do you have a patient, family member or friend who has been diagnosed with dementia? Clinical, therapeutic seating is an essential aspect of care that can significantly improve the quality of life of people with dementia, both physically and psychologically.

The Seating Matters Atlanta and Sorrento chairs have both been recognised with an international Dementia Product Accreditation from the Dementia Services Development Centre at the University of Stirling. They are the very first chairs globally to receive this important acknowledgement.

FAQs: Dementia & Clinical Seating

Dementia is a condition that causes a decline in cognitive function, making it difficult for individuals to perform their daily activities. It’s a general term that covers a range of symptoms, including memory loss, difficulty with language, disorientation, and changes in mood or behaviour.

Dementia can be caused by various factors such as brain injury, infections, and neurodegenerative disorders, and is more common in older adults. The World Health Organisation says that Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia and may contribute to 60-70% of cases.

The symptoms of dementia can vary depending on the type of dementia and the individual. Some common symptoms include memory loss, difficulty with language and communication, changes in mood and behaviour, disorientation and confusion, and problems with reasoning and judgement. 

In the early stages, individuals may experience mild forgetfulness, difficulty finding words, or trouble completing tasks. As the disease progresses, the symptoms become more pronounced, and may include significant memory loss, confusion about time and place, and difficulty with basic activities of daily living, including basic motor functions. 

While there is currently no cure for most types of dementia, early intervention, treatment and support can help to manage the symptoms and improve quality of life for those living with the condition.

Dementia can have a significant impact on basic motor functions, including balance and mobility. It may be difficult for those who are affected by the condition to maintain an upright position while seated and/or to transition from sitting to standing.

People with dementia are also often prone to jiggling and consistently trying to stand up and walk around. This can be due to agitation and restlessness, confusion, or an attempt to regain control and mobility.

These factors combined generally mean that individuals with dementia are at an increased risk of falls and pressure injuries. The use of inappropriate dementia seating or chairs that lack proper support and comfort can have a further negative impact on quality of life.

Clinical, therapeutic seating is a crucial tool to assist people who are living with dementia, providing comfort, safety and support for those with physical and cognitive symptoms.

Seating Matters chairs are designed to meet the unique needs and preferences of the individual, offering adjustable height, tilt-in-space and pressure relief, amongst other features.

Benefits include:

  • Improved general comfort and security. 
  • Improved mobility and independence, leading to greater physical and emotional wellbeing. 
  • Significantly reduced risk of falls, discomfort, pressure sores and other injuries. 
  • Improved communication and social engagement.
  • Reduced agitation and stress. 
  • Maintenance of independence and dignity, including staying at home for longer periods.
  • Improved safety and ease of care for caregivers, nurses and staff in care facilities.

The Dementia Product Accreditation is used to help design and identify environments and products suitable for people with dementia. This is judged by the Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC) at the University of Stirling, who are recognised as world leaders in the field of dementia design. The aim is to improve quality of life and responsive behaviours associated with dementia, such as agitation, aggression and confusion.

To receive accreditation, products and environments go through a rigorous assessment, developed on the DSDC product design principles. These principles include: looks familiar and non-institutional, preserves dignity and sustains abilities, offers a safe and unthreatening world, designed with optimal colour and contrast, designed for the individual, and supports the caregiver.

The Seating Matters Atlanta chair and Sorrento chair are the first chairs in the world to have received this accreditation. Both chairs achieved a Class 1A, the highest possible rating, with respective scores of 95% and 93% from the expert judging panel.

The first step is to Book a Free Seating Assessment.

This personal approach involves testing the range of motion of a patient’s joints, understanding their specific cognitive, behavioural and psychological symptoms, and assessing the standards and impact of their current bed or chair.

On the basis of this assessment and any personal goals of the patient, their family and their care team, a specific Seating Matters chair will be recommended to meet their needs.

Clinical seating can be suitable for people with dementia at various stages, including those with mild to moderate cognitive impairment as well as those with more severe symptoms.

The specific needs and preferences of the individual should always be taken into account. This will be considered during an initial Seating Assessment, with a final Seating Matters chair recommendation provided on the basis of this Assessment.

Yes, our chairs are available to trial.

The first step is to organise a Free Seating Assessment, conducted by a clinically trained Seating Matters Specialist. This Assessment takes approximately 60 minutes and can be completed at home or hospital.

Based on this Assessment, the most suitable Seating Matters chair will be provided for the patient to trial. This will be adjusted to fit them correctly, taking into consideration things like seat depth, seat width and chair height. Postural supports and further customisations can also be added. 

Quick Facts About Dementia

Dementia is the second leading cause of death in Australia, accounting for 9.3% of all deaths in 2021.

Dementia is the leading cause of all deaths for women in Australia, accounting for 12.6% of deaths in 2020.

Over 400,000 Australians are living with dementia in 2023. This number is expected to increase to over 800,000 by 2058.

Over 1.5 million people in Australia are involved in the care of someone living with dementia.

Seating Recommendations

The Seating Matters Sorrento and Atlanta chairs have been demonstrated to achieve positive outcomes for those living with dementia.

In June 2023, these two chairs were recognised with an international Dementia Product Accreditation from the Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC) at the University of Stirling. They are the very first chairs globally to receive this important acknowledgement. The DSDC is recognised worldwide as a leader in the field of dementia design, working to improve responsive behaviours associated with dementia, such as agitation, aggression and confusion.

 

Dementia Design Accredited Sorrento Chair from Seating Matters
Sorrento

The Sorrento chair was designed for high dependent patients. It features a 45-degree tilt in space, which can prevent falling and sliding, help minimise the risk of pressure injuries, and accommodate independent transfers. The removable, adjustable arms and lateral supports can also help with posture.

How can it help someone with dementia?

Sorrento can significantly improve the quality of life of an individual with dementia, increasing comfort, reducing agitation and promoting relaxation. Being completely mobile, Sorrento can be adjusted when needs change, allowing the user to maintain interaction with friends and family.

Sorrento has been recognised with an international Dementia Product Accreditation. It scored 93% and received a Class 1A rating (the highest available) by a panel of experts. 

Dementia Design Accredited Atlanta Chair from Seating Matters
Atlanta

The Atlanta chair was designed for patients with involuntary movements, and has benefited individuals with non-cognitive symptoms of dementia and reduced proprioception. Features include an integrated tilt and back angle recline, which enables the patient to sit deep within the chair, improving stability and comfort.

How can it help someone with dementia?

The Atlanta provides dignity to people at risk of falling or injuring themselves. The deep seat position and high arm rests create a soothing and reassuring environment to promote relaxation. The chair is easy to manoeuvre, which allows users to remain sociable and independent where possible. 

Atlanta has been recognised with an international Dementia Product Accreditation. It scored 95% and received a Class 1A rating (the highest available) by a panel of experts. 

Case Studies & Additional Resources

Sorrento Case Study – Valerie’s Story

Valerie is an 86-year-old resident of a care facility, suffering from dementia, limited mobility and limited independence. She was unable to feed herself or drink independently and spent the majority of the day with her arms crossed to stabilise herself. Valerie's experience with the Sorrento chair was hugely beneficial, serving to dramatically improve her quality of life and ability to interact with others. This is her story.

Read More

Supporting Families Dealing with a Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease

Do you have a family member living with Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia? Read this article to learn more about some of the complications that may arise from these illnesses, ultimately affecting the patient’s health, quality of life and overall comfort. Many of these concerns can be addressed through proper seating and correct posture.

Read More

Free Webinars: Dementia & Therapeutic Seating

Therapeutic Seating for Dementia Care webinar
Therapeutic Seating for Dementia Care
Therapeutic seating can play a critical role in reducing agitation, aggression and confusion, three key symptoms associated with Dementia & Alzheimer’s Disease. In this webinar, we explore the symptoms and progression of these conditions, and the positive impacts that therapeutic seating can have on the lives of dementia patients.
We introduce various case studies of real dementia patients and the chairs have changed their lives, with a specific introduction to the Atlanta and the Sorrento.
Chair designed for dementia Seating Matters Atlanta
Living with Dementia: A Conversation with Martina Tierney & Mental Health OT, Eileen Hegarty
In this free webinar, Seating Matters Clinical Director, Martina Tierney, sits down with Mental Health Occupational Therapist, Eileen Hegarty, to discuss the importance of quality seating for people living with dementia.


Together, they cover topics including the importance of postural care for non-cognitive symptoms of dementia, improving sensory feedback and reducing agitation, and how to assess your client’s overall seating needs. 

Download Your Copy Of 'The Clinician's Seating Handbook'

This practical guide by world-renowned OT, Martina Tierney will assist you in the prescription and use of therapeutic seating for patients with various conditions. It’s the best place to start.

Download your free copy now.