How to help a senior stand up

A nurse helping elderly to stand up
This Article is Medically reviewed by :

Dr Ameni Jouini on June 30, 2023

To enhance the wellbeing of our seniors, it’s crucial that we consistently decipher their needs.

Among the challenges many seniors face, mobility often tops the list. This can be attributed to a range of factors, such as back pain, arthritis, muscle weakening, or balance issues.

Why is fall prevention important for older adults? Falls are a leading cause of injury and loss of independence in people aged 65 and over. Fall-related injuries can lead to severe physical consequences, increased health care costs, and even death. Therefore, fall prevention is critical in this demographic to maintain their health, wellbeing, and independence.

Mobility not only means walking but also standing up, an activity with which our elderly often struggle. Consequently, we are presented with a crucial matter that necessitates our attention: how can we offer standing assistance to seniors?

This article aims to offer practical ways to aid seniors in standing up. By the end, you’ll possess actionable knowledge about how to manually assist a senior to stand up, while also gaining insights into various assistive devices like lift chairs and grab bars.

Decipher the need for standing up help :

senior standing up from chair using a cane

To identify the need for standing assistance, you just need a careful observation of your senior in his/her daily routine.

Look for signs of struggle or discomfort, which can often indicate a requirement for extra support. This is because some seniors might be reluctant to voice their need for assistance, often out of fear of losing their independence or appearing burdensome to others.

Here are some signs that can indicate a need for standing assistance in seniors:

  • Struggling to rise from a seated position
  • Appearing unsteady or shaky when standing
  • Using furniture or walls for support when standing
  • Expressing fear or anxiety about standing
  • Having a history of falls when trying to stand or walk
  • Showing signs of exhaustion or moving slowly after standing
  • Complaining of pain in legs, back, or joints when standing

How to help a senior stand up

We aim to empower seniors, ensuring their safety while upholding their dignity and autonomy so first of all we need to have an open communication about their problem:

Talk to them first

Once you identify the need, engage in a sincere and open conversation. Understand the needs and the feeling of your senior about the struggles.

As you listen attentively to his/her thoughts and fears, reassure his/her that your intention is to provide support and not to encroach on his/her autonomy.

two men talking to a senior

It is sure that active involvement can alleviate anxieties and build trust.

This conversation will be the cornerstone for any subsequent assistance. Here are some questions to ask :

  • What bugs you the most when you try to stand up?
  • Are there any ouchy spots when you stand? What’s that like?
  • Where does it tend to hurt the most when you’re getting on your feet?
  • Does this standing-up thing give you trouble all the time, or just now and then?
  • Got any tricks for standing up that you’ve been using? Are they doing the trick?
  • Do you grab onto any bits of furniture to help you get up?

The aim here isn’t to play doctor or diagnose, but rather to have a friendly chat with your senior to understand the standing up difficulties and propose an assistance.

Then you can ask : “Would it be okay if I give you a hand when you’re standing up?”. This is to open up the discussion about providing assistance in a respectful manner.

This guidance on how to help a senior stand up is provided as a basic starting point and isn’t a replacement for professional advice. Always consult with a healthcare professional or a physical therapist.

How to give manual help for your senior to stand up

A nurse helping elderly to stand up

If he agrees to assistance, you can provide manual help when the case is. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide on how to do this safely :

  1. Move to him slowly.
  2. Let him know what you’re going to do to make him aware and ready for the assistance.
  3. Place one of your arms under his and grip his hand with yours, while your other hand should support his back at the same time. Make sure your grip is firm yet comfortable.
  4. The key to a smooth lift is to work together so ask him to push up with his legs as you provide support and gently lift. It’s important to coordinate your efforts and to not rush the process.
  5. Once he is on his feet, ensure he is stable before releasing your support. Be prepared to continue providing support until he becomes comfortable.

There are other techniques that professionals use, for exemple, by placing one hand at the senior back and one at his front :

Remember, safety is the priority …
so, if at any point either you or the person you’re assisting feels uncomfortable or unsafe, stop and reassess the situation.

Propose a device to help when you are not there

Now that you started to help your elderly standing up on multpile occasions, you can ask him how he do when you are not there.

Indeed, there are numerous types of assistive devices designed to help seniors stand up more easily. Some of these include lift chairs, canes, grab bars, toilet standing aids like frames, devices that help getting in and out from bath, couch standing aids, bed standing aids, and stander handybars.

Each type of aid offers unique benefits and can be more suitable for different situations.

In the upcoming sections, we will delve into each of these devices, explaining their functions and how they can provide the necessary support for your elderly when you’re not around.

This way, you can choose which device(s) may be the most beneficial for his specific needs.

An elderly using a lift aid to stand up

Chair Assists: A more affordable and portable alternative to lift chairs, chair assist tools can be quite effective. Some are inflatable or utilize gas springs to aid in standing up.

Grab Bars: Installed on walls or from floor to ceiling, these provide additional support and safety, particularly in bathrooms where the risk of slipping is higher.

Lift Chairs: These chairs have built-in mechanisms that help seniors stand by tilting the chair forward. They’re typically easy to use, comfortable, and often include a reclining function.

Toilet Frames and Raised Toilet Seats: These devices provide leverage and height, making it easier to use the toilet. They can be particularly useful for seniors who struggle with low seats.

Canes: Canes with a sturdy base can offer extra support, but should be used with caution as they can slip when downward pressure is applied.

Couch and Bed Standing Aids: These are usually secured under a couch or mattress and are designed to provide leverage for standing up.

Stander HandyBar: This portable handle can be inserted into any U-shaped door latch or striker, providing support for standing up, particularly when traveling.

Furniture Raisers: By increasing the height of furniture, these devices can make sitting down and standing up less strenuous.


While you can help your senior stand up yourself, there are many assistive devices types that you can propose to help your elderly Stand Up. It is essential to know the real need of your elderly to choose the right one. Remember, the goal of using these standing aid devices is to enhance the senior’s independence, improve their quality of life, and ensure their safety.

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