The problems of the elderly are numerous. My mother is recovering from a recent fall and spending much of her day in a chair. Given the difficulty she now has rising from, and descending into, a chair, the re-ablement team rightly banned my mother’s favourite reclining swivel chair from the living room – it’s far to dangerous to back up to a swivel chair with a zimmer frame and rely on it not spinning away from under you as you descend. The most comfortable replacement chair has turned out to be one of her old armchairs: big, well padded, and rock solid.

The downside was that my mum could no longer rotate her chair to look at people sitting beside her, and more importantly, she could no longer spin round to look at the garden that she loves, and watch the many birds that come to her bird bath and bird table.  Well we’re a team of mechanical, hardware and software engineers at Kraydel, and we like a challenge. How could mum have the best of both worlds: a big safe chair, that rotates smoothly when you want it to.

The answer was pretty simple actually – fit a lazy Susan bearing underneath, and add a locking mechanism to secure it in the “home” position.  You may not know what a “lazy Susan” is, but I bet you’ve seen one – its the thing that sits under a big circle of plate glass in a Chinese restaurant which lets you share each others dishes by spinning it around.  They are used for many other things, but the catering originated name has stuck. They come in many sizes, and I opted for one 60cm in diameter and capable of supporting something much heavier than an armchair and an elderly woman. The biggest challenge was creating a large circle of MDF using a regular saw and a plane (yes I know a jigsaw would be easier but I don’t have one). It worked even better than I had hoped, it’s smooth, very stable, and the addition of a vertical rod which drops into a hole provides the locking mechanism.

Enthused by this success (and my mum is thrilled) we’re working to add a dining tray which can rotate/slide into position so that mum can eat without having to bend over a lap tray or risk spilling food on her clothes.  Pictures will follow.

If anyone wants more information on the design and the source of the parts, just use the contact link.

To see it in action – just click the video