Parkinson's Disease Chairs

A Guide to Seating Patients

Do you have a patient or family member who has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease? While there is no cure for this degenerative condition, finding the right Parkinson’s disease chair is an essential element of care.

Therapeutic chairs like the Orlando, Sorrento or Milano from Seating Matters have been specifically designed for both the early and more advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease, helping to combat major symptoms, maintain posture, improve stability, and benefit a patient’s overall quality of life.

Parkinson's Disease Chairs

Parkinson’s disease presents a myriad of symptoms that profoundly impact seating needs, from tremors to muscle stiffness and postural instability. These challenges, coupled with difficulties rising from a chair as the condition progresses, can significantly impact a patient’s quality of life.

But there is hope.

Seating Matters offers specialised clinical Parkinson’s disease chairs that are designed to address the unique challenges of the condition. Among them, Orlando stands out as one of the only chairs equipped with both riser recliner and tilt in space functionalities, making it suitable for both the early and more advanced stages of Parkinson’s.

A quality clinical chair helps initiate movement, seamlessly transitioning the patient from a seated to standing position. It strikes the delicate balance between providing postural support and maintaining independence.

Finding the right clinical Parkinson’s disease chairs is critical. The first step in this process is to Book a Free Seating Assessment & Trial.

Parkinson's disease chairs
Facts About Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s is the fastest growing neurological condition in the world, with 10 million currently affected.1 

Parkinson’s is the second most common neurological disease in Australia after dementia.1 

Up to 150,000 Australians currently have Parkinson’s.2

More than 1 million Australians are impacted by Parkinson’s.2

One Australian is diagnosed with Parkinson’s every 27 minutes.2

FAQs: Parkinson's Disease & Clinical Seating

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects movement. It arises when certain nerve cells in the brain fail to produce sufficient amounts of dopamine, a chemical that helps control movement and emotions.

A dopamine deficiency can lead to symptoms such as tremors, muscle stiffness, slowed movement, and difficult with balance. These symptoms develop gradually and worsen over time.

While there is currently no cure for Parkinson’s, quality clinical seating may help alleviate symptoms and enhance quality of life.

Individuals with Parkinson’s disease may develop a range of symptoms, both motor (movement-related) and non-motor. No two people will experience Parkinson’s the same way, so every patient’s treatment and Parkinson’s disease chairs will be unique to them.

Common motor symptoms that may impact seating for Parkinson’s disease patients include:

Tremors: Involuntary movements, often starting in the hands, fingers, or limbs.

Bradykinesia: Slowed movement, making simple tasks more difficult and time consuming. Steps may become short and shuffling, and patients may have difficulty rising from a chair.

Rigidity: Muscle stiffness and resistance to movement, causing discomfort or pain.

Postural instability: Difficulty maintaining balance and coordination, leading to an increased risk of falls or sliding from a chair.

Loss of automatic movements e.g. blinking, swinging arms when walking

Other non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease may include:

  • Cognitive symptoms including mild memory problems, difficulty concentrating, and problems with planning or organisation
  • Depression, anxiety or irritability
  • Loss of sense of smell
  • Nerve pain, burning or numbness
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Hypotension leading to dizziness and blurred vision, especially when moving from a sitting or lying to a standing position
  • Excessive production of saliva (drooling)
  • Dementia, visual hallucinations and delusions (in more advanced cases)

Seating individuals with Parkinson’s disease presents numerous challenges due to its impact on mobility, balance, muscle control, and posture. These challenges include:

Muscle Rigidity: Parkinson’s often causes muscle stiffness, making it difficult for individuals to relax into a seated position. This stiffness can lead to discomfort and difficulty adjusting posture. A riser recliner chair may alleviate some of these issues.

Postural Instability: Patients may lean to one side, slouch or have difficulty sitting back in their chairs. When selecting a clinical chair for someone with Parkinson’s, it’s crucial to incorporate head and lateral supports to address these concerns.

Reduced Mobility: Parkinson’s can hinder mobility, making it challenging for individuals to move in and out of chairs independently. Assistance or additional support may be necessary for transitions between seated and standing positions.

Tremors: Tremors, particularly in the hands and limbs, can interfere with fine motor tasks like reaching for arm rests or adjusting seating positions. This can impact activities requiring precision, such as using a chair remote.

Recognising and addressing these challenges with suitable support and accommodations is vital when seating individuals with Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s is a progressive condition, and its effects vary from person to person. When selecting a clinical chair for Parkinson’s patients, it’s crucial to consider their unique needs and level of independence, while also addressing potential future challenges.

Adjustability is a critical requirement of Parkinson’s disease chairs.

In the early stages of Parkinson’s, a riser recliner chair like the Seating Matters Orlando offers optimal support. Its slight forward tilt can help a patient initiate movement from sitting to standing.

Other essential features of Parkinson’s disease chairs include:

  • An adjustable back angle recline to prevent falls or sliding
  • Options for head, leg and lateral supports
  • Pressure management materials for prolonged sitting comfort
  • Larger, easy-to-operate controls for tremor or rigidity management

In the later stages or with advanced symptoms of Parkinson’s,
a tilt-in-space feature becomes necessary. This encourages movement initiation and maintains the patient’s upright posture, while helping to prevent falls and sliding.

As the patient may still be mobile, it’s important that the chair also includes a forward tilt function.

It is important to find the balance between maintaining independence and providing postural support when choosing a chair for Parkinson’s disease patients.

The first step is to Book a Free Seating Assessment, or request this from the patient’s occupational therapist. 

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.

Yes, our Parkinson’s disease 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. 

Seating Recommendations: Parkinson's Disease Chairs

In the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, a Seating Matters Orlando riser recliner chair is typically recommended. The Orlando offers essential pressure management and posture support, while promoting patient independence with its assisted stand function.

Crucially, the Orlando also accommodates patients in the later stages of Parkinson’s thanks to its tilt in space feature. It is one of the only chairs available that combines both riser recliner and tilt in space functionalities.

The Seating Matters Milano and Sorrento chairs are also suitable for patients in the later stages of Parkinson’s. Both chairs provide critical back angle recline and tilt in space functionalities, as well as high levels of pressure care and adjustable features.

With its combined riser recliner and tilt in space functionalities, the Orlando chair is suitable for both the early and more advanced stages of Parkinson’s. These dual features can prevent a patient from falling or sliding, and help to initiate the movement from seating to standing. Lateral supports, a configurable back rest, and full pressure care materials ensure comfort during extended sitting periods.

Milano is a tilt in space chair that can support posture and provide comfort for those with Parkinson's, particularly in the later stages. It can be used by patients of all transfer abilities, whether they can stand independently or require a full hoist. Milano offers high levels of pressure care and adjustability of seat width, depth and foot plate height. It is available in electric or manual operation.

The Sorrento 2 helps individuals needing high levels of pressure care, comfort and postural support. Typically used for the more advanced stages of Parkinson’s, it is completely mobile and adjustable for different needs. Features include an adjustable back recline, and a 30- or 45-degree tilt in space to improve posture and redistribute pressure.

Case Studies: Parkinson's Disease Chairs

Finding a Chair for Christine (Parkinson’s Disease)

This is the story of Henry and Christine, an elderly couple living at home. Christine has received a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, and together they are managing her progressive symptoms. This case study explores their story, challenges, and Henry’s search for a chair that would enable his wife to live at home for as long as possible.

The Seating Matters Sorrento was suggested for Christine, with the addition of lateral supports. Read more about her experience below.

Read More

Finding a Chair for an Olympic Coach with Parkinson’s Disease

Brent McFarlane was just 43 years old when he was diagnosed with Parkinson's. He had previously been incredibly active, coaching 33 Canadian national teams and serving as Head Track and Field Coach for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

Brent was living in a long-term care home when his wife, Vicki, came across the Seating Matters Atlanta, which she describes as "the Cadillac of chairs". This is Brent's story.

Read More


1. Parkinson’s Australia (2024)

2. “Ecosystem of Parkinson’s in Australia Project” (2024), Mellick

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