If you can afford one, a motorized recliner can increase your independence if you have trouble with mobility. From people recovering from back or bariatric surgery to others who have trouble standing, a motorized recliner can help, so long as it doesn't experience mechanical problems.
For a person with mobility issues, a motorized recliner can increase both her comfort and her ability to navigate her own home. Basic motorized recliners have a lifting mechanism built into the seat so that the seat slowly raises up, lifting a person up until she can stand on her own two feet. More elaborate recliners mechanically lay back until they are nearly flat, allowing her to sleep comfortably in the chair. Some are heated, providing the luxury of a spa chair. The chairs are controlled by a hand-held control, which is either connected to the chair by a cord or is remote.
Damage to the chair can cause mechanical problems. Exposure to water can short out the remote or the motorized portion of the chair, locking it in whatever position it was when the exposure occurred. If the chair is heated, pinching the wiring running through it can lead to overheating inside the cushions. A person must use a chair that is powerful enough to deal with her weight. If she is too large for the chair, the motor can burn out trying to lift more weight than it is designed to handle.
Mechanical problems can occur in a motorized recliner if the mechanical portions of it are blocked. Dust and debris falling between cushions and in the interior of the chair can gum up the running portions of the chair, leading to slower function. In worst case scenarios, it can cause the motor to stop running completely. If a pet or small child climbs under and inside the chair, the motor can shut down. If the chair is not reclined and the leg portion is not elevated, the pet or child can be trapped inside.
These mechanical problems can be dangerous if they occur when the chair is in use. To prevent mechanical issues, keep water and other liquids away from the chair. Dust and vacuum around the recliner regularly. Never allow children or pets to play on or around the chair, both to protect them and the chair from harm. No one should operate the chair for a person using it, unless the person in the recliner has given her permission and is ready for the chair to move.