A trick for getting up from a chair with help

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There was a time when I could walk but could not stand up from a chair on my own. How frustrating is this? It’s like owning a Ferrari but not any tires.

For many months I relied on friends to lift me straight up from a seat — sometimes it would take two people. It felt like I needed to bring a portable crane around with me everywhere I went! During a work trip to Seattle, however, my boss came up with a sweet new way to leverage the function I still had without requiring someone to be able to lift all my weight.

I call it the “belt loop trick.” It works best when you’re wearing a belt, however. I learned this by having a few belt loops ripped right off my pants. Nevertheless the name stuck.

It’s a simple maneuver once you get it figured out. Practice makes perfect. First you position yourself in the seat as if you’re going to get up on your own. For me this involved putting two hands on a table or something and sticking my leg out to pivot on.

Next, someone grabs your belt at your side, near your hip. If you don’t have a belt then I suggest either grabbing a few belt loops or the top of your pants, again at your side. Essentially this is very close to your center of gravity. It also helps if the person places a foot near yours so it doesn’t slide away.

Finally the person pulls up on your belt and you go through the motions to stand up. Make sure they pull with a constant force instead of being jerky. Often they don’t even have to pull with all their might. You just need that extra boost.

Although this maneuver still relies on someone else, it expanded the number of people who could actually help me because you didn’t have to be a bodybuilder to lift me up. It’s also the maneuver I would use to get out of the manual wheelchair when I was being pushed around. The only drawback was the occasional wedgie, but overall this method worked until I started using a wheelchair full time.

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2 Responses to A trick for getting up from a chair with help

  1. Gord Wallen says:

    Dan – I use a similar method to get up from the floor. I’m able to sit on a foot stool and my wife does the “super Weggie” by holding the top of my pants at the back. I bend forward with my hands on the ground, she lifts until my legs are straight under me. Then I use furniture to climb until I’m standing.

    One of the problems I have right now is getting up from a regular chair, especially in a restaurant or in public. I’ll have to try your method and see if it helps.

    Gord

    • Dan says:

      I forgot to mention in the article that it’s good to practice at home. I had a short period where I felt like I had to wait until the situation presented itself before experimenting before I realized I could set it up at home to work out the kinks. Good luck — hope it helps. There are also those transfer belts that I have heard of but not tried — they’ve got handles on them.

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