Why Seating Matters. Part Two - Mealtimes, A wonderful Sensory Experience!
Mealtimes are an opportunity for a wonderful sensory experience – delicious smells, delightful taste, enticing visuals. Mmmmm. There’s a problem if you a) can’t get to the table b) can’t locate a chair to sit down or c) it is not a seating arrangement that meets your needs. You can’t participate in one of life’s most enjoyable pleasures! However, this can be easily addressed if you consider the following:
· The placement and arrangement of the dining tables and chairs in the dining room – clearly defined tables with spaces in between for ease of access. Square tables are ideal to clearly delineate each person’s seating space but pay heed to round the corners. Having chairs contrast clearly to the table and the floor makes it easier for the person to see where to go.
Where possible, do accommodate some people’s preference or ability to eat more effectively when seated alone or in very small groups. The style of table (4 legs or pedestal leg, fixed height or height adjustable) needs to consider if dining chairs or wheelchairs will be used.
· Given the tendency of hard surfaces to dominate the dining room, selecting the right materials and finishes can help manage the glare and noise levels. Dining chairs need to be durable, stable and easy for older people to move them closer to the table to reach their plate.
· The specifications and features of the chair – the available seated width, depth, height from ground, the style and position of the seat pad plus it is vital to consider the armrest height, length and grip.
· The fabrics used need provide appropriate contrast and ambience but also be easy to clean. Be mindful that whilst some ‘waterproof’ fabrics appear to be easy to clean, they may be slippery and uncomfortable.
Don’t hesitate to access people with expertise in seating to ensure your dining room furniture purchases are going to be fit for purpose, are enabling for the people using them, easy to look after and importantly draw people towards them so they can eat and enjoy life’s pleasures as much as possible!
Keep an eye out for part three, our concluding segment on seating, as we explore considerations for lounge chairs.
Missed Part One of Why Seating Matters? You can catch up here.