There are four stages of life:
- You can’t stand up
- You spring up and down with ease
- You make a grunting noise as you ascend/descend
- You can’t stand up
It’s the cycle of life, and a cruel and unusual cycle it is. If you find that you’re edging ever closer to the final stage, a standing aid can help. As the name suggests, these pieces of equipment are designed to assist you with standing and are ideal if you suffer from mobility issues, are overweight, or have very weak knees or legs.
Standing aids come in many shapes and sizes, and in this guide, we’ll look at the features that a good standing aid should have and then highlight the very best ones on the market.
What are Standing Aids?
In their simplest form, standing aids are supportive bars and frames that you can grip and use to support your weight. At a more advanced level, they are fully functional mobile transport units designed to assist people with all kinds of mobility issues.
If you’ve ever used the arm of a chair to support you as you stand, find that you need help from a caregiver, or you’re a caregiver who needs a little assistance, these mobility aids could be just what you’re looking for.
What to Look for in a Standing Aid
As noted above, the “standing aids” product category is quite extensive. Even at the most basic level, they are much more than simple metal bars. They need to be strong, supportive, durable, and reliable. You don’t want something that will break while in use, as it could cause serious injuries and complications.
Additionally, it should offer features that are suited to your needs or, if you’re a caregiver, the needs of the patient.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself, or the dealer/website, before you buy a standing aid:
Is it Portable?
If you sit in the same chair day after day, portability doesn’t count for much and you can install the standing aid on that chair. However, if you live in an active home with lots of family members and regular guests, you don’t want a standing aid getting in everyone’s way.
By the same token, if you move around a lot, you’ll want something that you can take with you. Something that will be just as useful on the family sofa as it is at the breakfast table and your favorite armchair.
Is it Strong Enough?
Most mobility products have a clearly defined weight capacity and if you go over this, you run the risk of damaging the product and hurting yourself.
The product won’t buckle just because you’re a few ounces over its weight capacity, but it’s not guaranteed to work as well or to provide as much support for someone who exceeds this capacity.
Obese users may need to investigate heavy duty options, which are stronger, sturdier, and are designed with heavier individuals in mind.
Can I Adjust it to Meet My Needs?
Standing aids, and all other mobility aids for that matter, are rarely “one-size fits all.” However, the best ones can be adjusted to suit your height, weight, and preferences. It also needs to adjust to suit the different chairs in your house.
Can I Get a Good Grip?
Check the handles and make sure they fit your hands and allow you to get a good grip. Not only does it need to be strong enough to hold your weight, but it also needs to have enough grip for you to hold on. If you slip, you could seriously injure yourself.
Is it Easy to Install?
Can you install the standing aid yourself and if so, how easy is it? If not, you should inquire about installation, getting a quote before you agree to anything. Many standing aids can be installed with relative ease, but if you have mobility issues, as most customers do, you may need assistance from a friend or family member.
Is it Well Made?
For every legitimate company that makes quality products and tests them rigorously, there are a dozen companies that build on the cheap and spare little thought for their customers. The former products are often made to a high standard in the United States or Europe. At the very least, they are designed and tested here but are manufactured elsewhere.
As for the latter, they are often made cheaply in China and are branded with generic names and sold on Amazon, Ali Express, eBay, and other marketplaces. Some of these cheaper products can be okay and we’ve actually recommended some gadgets made and sold in this manner. Regardless, when you’re dealing with mobility aids, you need to stick with established brands that build to a high standard.
You will pay more, but you’ll get a better and safer product. As the saying goes, “buy cheap; buy twice.” In this case, “buy cheap, run the risk of serious harm.”
Does it Have a Warranty?
Last but not least, when you’re spending a lot of money on a high-quality mobility aid, you should make sure it is backed by a warranty.
These products undergo a lot of testing and the best ones have meticulous quality control. That being said, mistakes happen and if it stops doing its job, the company should be willing to take it back and give you a refund or a replacement.
Many mobility products, standing aids included, have limited warranties that extend for a number of years. These cover specific parts, such as the frame, and much shorter warranties are provided for parts that are more prone to wear and tear, including the handles.
The Best Standing Aids
Now that you know what to look for, it’s time to highlight some of the best standing aids on the market right now. We’ve tried to limit our selection to the products that we believe provide the most value for your money, as well as the ones produced by legitimate, respectable manufacturers.
Able Life Stand Assist Grab Bars = $60 to $100
Although they are one of the simper options on this list, the Able Life Stand Assist Grab Bars are also one of the best. They are cheap, sturdy, and they work—what more could you ask for?
The device slots under the chair cushion and the bulk of its frame stays inside the chair, with only two bars, one on either side, showing on the outside. It looks like you have two canes on either side of the chair and it is an incredibly simple and ingenious solution
It’s easy to install, works on most chairs, and is available for less than $100. The actual price differs considerably. We’ve seen it available for as little as $60 and as much as $100, but if you can get it for less than $80, it’s a great deal.
Bandwagon Portable Chair Assist = Around $40
The Bandwagon Portable Chair Assist is the cheapest option on this list and the most portable. It is a simple framed structure that you can carry around with you and use to propel you out of your chair. It features bars at several different heights to cater to multiple users and chairs.
Stander Heavy-Duty = $80 to $100
A well-made and inexpensive standing aid that works a lot like the Able Life Stand Assist but is designed for obese users. It can withstand up to 400 lbs. without issue and features soft handles to ease some of the pressure applied to the hands and wrists during use.
Lumex Patient Transport Unit = $500
If the above options are at the cheaper and simpler end of your scale, this Lumex unit is right at the other end. It’s designed to make a caregiver’s life easier and helps to transport the user to the unit and then to another chair or wherever else they need to go.
It features a comfortable seat, multiple adjustment options, and is incredibly well-built and sturdy. Although it has a high price tag when compared to the other products on this list, it’s actually very affordable when you compare it to similar contraptions.
Alternatives to Standing Aids
When you don’t have much strength in your upper body or feel like a standing aid simply won’t be enough, you can look into lift chairs. A lift chair is an armchair operated by a remote control and designed to lower you down and lift you up as needed.
You can get comfortable in the chair as you watch TV and then tap a button when you’re ready to get up. The chair will slowly propel you upright, at which point you can grab your cane or walker and get to where you need to go!
Of course, these chairs are much more expensive than a simple standing aid, but they are built to last and can help seniors with all kinds of mobility problems. What’s more, if you have health insurance, it may cover some of the costs of the chair.
Conclusion: Are Standing Aids Right for You?
As with all mobility aids, it’s often believed that you need to be completely immobile and reliant on others before standing aids should be considered. Keep in mind that there is no lower limit on who can use these supports, nor is there an official line when you should consider moving from a simple standing aid to a wheelchair or lift chair.
If you find that you’re struggling to sit and stand, so much so that you often delay going to the toilet or eating because you can’t be bothered with the hassle, it could be time to consider one of these aids.
They are cheap, easy to install, and can provide some hassle-free support when you need it most. Your needs may be temporary and/or increase over time, but you don’t need to worry about any of that right now. Just focus on what works for you now; buy the thing that makes your life easier and reduces your risk of harm.