I had promised to post some more details when I completed modifying my mother’s armchair. Previously I had mounted it on a turntable to make it easy for her to look out the window and enjoy her beautiful garden. The final task was to make it possible for her to eat comfortably and cleanly.

The removable tray (there are two to allow for quick swaps) slots onto telescopic arms (cannibalised pop-up stands) which in turn rotate, and rise/fall on a vertical pillar.

It works very well and can handle a fairly heavy tray. There was actually more thinking and planning than execution involved – drilling large diameter parallel holes is a challenge requiring a bench drill press – something that I had never got round to buying before.

Mum’s very pleased and therefore so am I. Some of you may well be asking: “could you not have bought a chair/tray like this?”. Well the answer seems to be “no”. I looked for a rotating chair that could be locked safely into position – I found nothing. I looked for a swivel/adjustable tray but found nothing that could attach to the chair and rotate with it.  It can’t be an invention since it’s clearly something “obvious to those skilled in the art” but it’s a shame that a ready-made chair isn’t available, and provided through the health service (they have provided several other useful things).

Her bed, this chair and the loo is where my mother spends 99% of her time – the majority of it being in the chair, so it’s essential that it’s safe, comfortable and caters for as many of her needs as possible. So many of the challenges of the elderly can be met with technology, whether simple mechanical aids such as this, or high-tech, and the largest part of the problem for care providers seems to be knowing what exists and how to get hold of it. I’m lucky enough to know how to use a saw and a drill but most people are not, and their loved ones should be no worse off for that.