Sitting

If you are able to do jobs like ironing or cooking, these will take less energy if you sit rather than stand. Sit to brush your teeth, wash etc. Walking sticks with a built in seat are available; many people with M.E. use these for going out so that they can sit down when they need to (see Walking). Keep a chair in every room, so you are able to sit down while you are doing things. A tall stool or office chair can be very useful in the kitchen. An electric riser-recliner chair is a help to some people. Putting your legs up, perhaps on a high footstool, aids the circulation. It may also help to have a little walk around occasionally. You might find it easier to sit on the floor than on a chair, and this has the advantage of always being at hand. Some people with M.E. find beanbags more comfortable than chairs, or try sitting or lying on cushions on the floor. An inflatable armchair is lightweight and easy to move around.

When sitting, try to get your body as fully supported as possible on either side, behind and underneath, by using a few extra cushions or a V shaped pillow. V-pillows (which are available from disability catalogues and ARGOS) are often recommended but you may find that they push your head forward awkwardly. A solid foam wedge is another possibility for use in bed. It keeps your back straight when you sit up only slightly. Some catalogues also sell these, or you might be able to obtain one more cheaply from a shop which cuts foam shapes. An inflatable neck support pillow is good for some people. They are often sold as travel pillows. If you can use your arms but have difficulty manoeuvring to sit up in bed, a rope ladder bed hoist may be of use. This consists of strong nylon rope and plastic rungs. It fastens to the legs of the bed and lies over the top enabling you to pull yourself up into a sitting position. They can be obtained from disability catalogues. There are electric mattress raisers (for single beds) or electric inflatable pillow lifts, which enable people to sit up in bed by pressing a button. A bed, mattress (on a ground sheet) or sun-lounger set up outside may enable you to enjoy some fresh air for a bit without having to sit up (see Light Sensitivity;Noise Sensitivity;Stairs;Walking;Wheelchairs).

A lot of people with M.E. have great difficulty sitting up even if they are very well supported. As with other activities, sitting up needs to be carefully paced if the M.E. is severe. People with M.E. may get an overwhelming need to lie down urgently which can be difficult if there are lots of pillows to get rid of. Be alert for warning signs if you are liable to get this symptom.

There are a number of pieces of equipment designed to aid transferring from a wheelchair to a bed or chair. If you are able to stand a little with assistance, there are turntables to put under your feet. Alternatively a transfer board may be useful if the seats are of compatible height. One end of the board goes on the wheelchair seat, the other on the bed or chair, creating a continuous surface to manoeuvre along. A cushion may be used to make a low seat higher. There are specially designed chair or bed raisers which can be put under the castors if you find it easier to rise from a high seat. Some chairs have an electric seat which moves to assist you into a standing position. A hoist may be required if you need a lot of help with transferring.

Bed : Nature : Pacing : Pressure Sores : Toilet : Walking : Wheelchairs