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Does anyone have any ideas for this: a tall/larger person regularly attends a program at a community center. She ambulates with some difficulty but remains able to drive and walk some. The concern is that she is depending on others for assistance (liability concerns from this angle especially). Her usual method to get to standing at a table is to rock herself up while holding onto the table. There are concerns that she could pull the table over, and involving others who might be hurt if she were to fall (not to mention hurting herself). We're thinking of providing a similar chair with arms so she had something to grip and boost herself up with. Any other ideas? A wheelchair would be possible, but might not be acceptable due to the attention it might bring her. We want to be tactful and respectful.

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Just addressing the issue of getting up from a sitting position at a table - an occupational therapist wouldn't suggest rocking, and "hurling oneself" as I've seen done. The person should scoot closer to the edge of the chair, place both hands on the arms of the chair, and use her arms to help push as she also pushes upward with her legs.

If the chair has no arms, it's more difficult, and I would try to find a special chair with sturdy arms.

I've seen mobility compromised people rock and then hurl themselves up like cannonballs. I always shudder as that's a really unsafe method.

Perhaps one thing you could do for her, as well as for others, is have an occupational therapist from a local rehab or private rehab company demonstrate safe methods of getting out of chairs. Then she isn't singled out.

Or, you might consider added OT to some of your programs - an exercise program with old music played in the background. It can be a seated therapy workout.

But, as suggested below for a wheelchair, find a way to make it lovely if you need to get a larger chair so that she doesn't feel as though she just has a bigger chair for a bigger body, but that she has a lovely chair which is prettier than all the other chairs. Then the attention should be more positive.

As to a wheelchair, you might decorate it or festoon it with ribbons or seasonal decorations so that the wheelchair is a mobility option of art. Someone I knew from a DIY forum used to paint canes with lovely floral designs. Her canes were in demand at rehab and similar facilities.

Even a lovely afghan on the back of the wheelchair could make it more charming than just a plain wheelchair which typically speaks to mobility issues.

I've always planned to add a flag to my father's wheelchair if he ever needs one again. If I ever live that long or have to have one, I'm decorating mine with artificial flowers and ivy. I'd probably paint them on the leather but would also add a beautiful homemade quilt.
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