Independence chair for independence life for people with mobility restrictions

Reason For Using the VELA Independence Chair

I was interested in the VELA Chair particularly for use in the kitchen, as tasks such as cooking and unstacking the dishwasher are things I really struggle with due to the amount of pottering involved, to the point I am not typically able to manage them. The VELA Chair appealed to me because it is designed to offer support while being foot-propelled and has an electric lift feature, meaning it seemed like a good solution for me in the kitchen on paper as it could help me reach the top cupboards seated, so I wanted to explore further.


Vela Independence chair 700E

Using the VELA Chair

I started by using the chair at my desk like a standard office chair. It is highly adjustable and can be set up exactly how you want. The levers were easily reachable and easy to control such that it was easy to finetune my position, something I find difficult to do when using my normal chair. This also meant that I could easily adjust my position throughout the day, changing the seat bucket every so often to keep myself comfortable, which in turn helped my back pain and allowed me to sit for longer.

The electronic lift feature meant I could adjust my height easily throughout the day, sometimes having my feet on the floor and other times with my legs dangling. Again, this was easy to do, which helped keep me comfortable using the chair for longer. I was worried the chair’s footprint would be too large, but it was no larger than a standard 5-wheeled office chair and easily fit under my desk.

The chair doesn’t rotate quite like a standard office chair and is typically fixed in position. You can change the fixed position in 90° chunks, but it never freely swings around like my normal chair, which I missed when using the chair at my desk, as quickly reaching things to the side was more difficult. However, the lack of rotation made the chair much more stable when using it in the kitchen later, so I can see why this choice was made.


Independence chair



In the kitchen

The chair really came into its own when I took it downstairs to use in the kitchen. It is quite heavy, meaning it was no easy feat to get it down the stairs and not something you could do regularly but, once in the kitchen, the VELA Chair gave me a lot of freedom. It was easy to foot propel on laminate flooring, though you need to wear something with a bit of grip on your feet, such as shoes or slipper socks to ensure you have enough traction to move the chair. The 4-wheel design makes it easy to travel in your desired direction, unlike regular 5-wheeled chairs and stools that are much harder to control. The centre of gravity is low, meaning it is, and feels, secure, so you don’t worry about tipping over or being unbalanced. It was brilliant to have a chair for the kitchen that offered me the full support I was looking for, which helped me stay comfortable for longer periods.

When stationary, you are meant to apply to the brake every time for stability though I often found myself forgetting. It didn’t matter too much if I was just sitting still, but the brake feature was useful when reaching forward into a cupboard or standing up out of the chair as it stops the chair from rolling away from you and helps keep you steady.

You can also use the chair as a perching stool if desired, as the seat can angle forward to allow this, and the lift feature can allow you to set the height correctly to perch. I can confirm that this works and is easy to set up, but this isn’t something I tried out long-term as I don’t find perching comfortable.



Vela independence



Lift feature

The best feature of the chair I found was the lift feature. It went low enough that I could easily reach into low cupboards without having to crouch (something my body pretty much refuses to do) and high enough that I was at a comfortable height to work on the countertops. I wish it had gone a bit higher so that I could have reached the top cupboards a little more easily, but I spoke with Chris about this, and he said that this is perfectly possible, and your desired height range would be discussed during the assessment before you place an order. The lift feature also helped reduce my knee pain as I could raise the chair to its maximum before standing up, which meant my sit-to-stand was not as far. Applying the brake also allows you to push down on a solid/sturdy base to help you get up.

Using this chair allowed me to cook dinner for my family for the first time in three years – cooking is a big independence skill I struggle with simply due to the amount of standing and pottering it involves. This chair made it suddenly seem like cooking might be something I could manage with the right technology. This was the most life-changing aspect of the chair for me. I was worried about using the chair when carrying a pan of boiling water to the sink but found this wasn’t an issue. The chair is stable and secure, meaning I could trust it to go where I needed to.


Other chores

The VELA Chair also helped me with other tasks such as hanging up the washing and emptying the dishwasher. The lift feature means you can easily hang washing on both the bottom and top of the rack without overly stooping or reaching outside of normal ranges (see photos above). The feature is also helpful for unstacking the dishwasher as again, it stops you bending over so far and helps keep you steady. It is much easier to control than the 5 wheeled stool I use normally, which meant I no longer crashed around the kitchen and was instead moving much more intentionally.


Conclusion & Recommendation

Overall, I was very impressed with this chair. It is a good office chair that is very easy to adjust, but where it really shines is in the kitchen. It allowed me to cook a full meal for the first time in years and I was very sad to give it (and the independence it gave me) back at the end of the trial. If you struggle to potter around the kitchen as much as you need to, bend or reach high places, or are unsteady on your feet and want the extra support, I highly recommend looking at the VELA Chair.

                                                                                                                                Find your VELA Chair at Morton & Perry

The Vela Tango chair makes daily life easier for Claus with cerebral palsy

Claus uses the Vela Tango chair for support with his activities in the kitchen so that he can manage them independently.

Claus has lived with cerebral palsy all his life. The paralysis is mainly evident on the left side of his body. A few years ago, Claus suffered a fracture in the lumbar area when he had a fall. This meant that Claus required a new adjusted kitchen and supportive aids to allow him to manage his kitchen activities independently. There is space for his legs under the cooker that can be adjusted in height for a seated person.

Claus has problems with his balance and finds it difficult to stand up. In addition, he has problems with his knees and with walking. On occasion he has to use his walking frame or electric wheelchair. He has some personal assistance, but in general, he manages daily life himself, both in the kitchen, at mealtimes, and doing daily chores at home.

Making daily life easier

To keep active after his fall, Claus has been given a VELA Tango Electric (El) Sit-stand Chair with a shallow seat and electric adjustment of the sitting height. The electric adjustment of the sitting height is essential for Claus, e.g. when he has to stand, since he has stiff hips.

Claus and his therapist discussed usability issues carefully for the design of his new kitchen. The oven has a side opening and the dishwasher is placed at a height so he can operate both easily while using his chair. When he uses the chair in the kitchen, it is easy for him to adjust the chair height. The chair’s shallow seat is also ideal: Claus will not pinch the backs of his thighs when using it for supported standing, and the seat ensures an active sitting position at the same time.

Claus on the VELA Tango El sit-stand chair

  • I use the chair for kitchen work, food preparation and eating. In the kitchen, I set the seat high so I can stand at the kitchen table and work and use the oven easily.
  • I always put the brake on! I’ve fallen off a chair because I forgot to put the brake on, so now I’ve learned my lesson.
  • The seat is really good, especially when I stand up. The shallow seat also means that I don’t pinch the backs of my thighs, and it provides good support when I stand. The seat is also good for sitting on when I use the chair at the dining table.
  • It is easy to adjust the seat height electrically, and when I set the chair high, I almost stand up. This is essential for me because I can’t bend my hips much.
  • It’s easy to move around the kitchen in the chair because of the large wheels, which roll smoothly across the floor.

Lilly regained her independence with VELA Tango Activity Chair

Lilly has arthritis with a significant disability in the back, shoulders, hips and knees. Lilly is also a short woman (142 cm in height), which makes it difficult for her to achieve a good sitting position at the same time as having a safe work posture.

Her arthritis means that she finds it difficult to manage daily tasks independently. She spends a lot of time in the kitchen, where she also has her dining table. To get around the house, Lilly uses a walking frame for support.

Lilly cannot operate an ordinary chair with gas because of her arthritis. Therefore, she has been given a chair that can be height-adjusted using electric controls, the Vela Tango Electric (El).

Despite the fact that daily life is extremely difficult for Lilly, she had not imagined it possible to find a chair that would relieve her difficulties and make her more self-reliant again. Like many others, she was loath to ask for help or be a nuisance. It was her children who took the initiative and pushed for it, which she is very glad about. Lilly therefore wants to encourage others in similar situations to ask for help.

”It means a lot to me to be able to carry out the daily tasks that I’ve always done my whole life. Now I can happily prepare food for several days and it makes a world of difference that I can peel the potatoes myself. Good food means a lot for living well with arthritis – and it boosts my desire to do other things.”

Lilly has become much more mobile thanks to VELA Tango El, and she has regained her independence. It is important to Lilly not to be dependent on help from others.

  • The chair is always in the kitchen where I use it for kitchen work and as a dining chair, and when sitting at the dining table to do something with my hands, e.g. crocheting.
  • I find the chair really useful, especially in the kitchen, although there isn’t much space.
  • Now it’s possible to set the chair at a height where I can make food, wash up and put things in the cupboards. It’s now even nicer to be able to do things myself, and the chair relieves a lot of pressure, so I don’t get as tired as before.
  • The chair is easy to adjust in height, so I don’t have to bend down to the base units either.
  • The armrests are nice to rest your arms on, and I also use them for support when I get up and sit down in the chair.

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