Title:
Device to aid persons rising from a seated position
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
This invention relates to devices that assist people as they rise up from, or sit down into, a seated position, and, more particularly, to a reversible aid for such use which can be placed on either side of a seat. In particular, the device preferably includes a flat base that is positioned under the legs of a seat, locking means to lock the base to the seat legs, a pivotable hollow sleeve extending upwards from the base, an adjustable arm partially fitted within said sleeve which arm can be adjusted in height to be positioned above the level of the seat, and a moveable arm that can be moved from a storage position, out of the way of the user, to an active position wherein it extends at least partially in front of the user. A device is provided that is safer, less obtrusive, and more efficient than prior art devices.



Inventors:
Myers, Edward Percival (Huntsville, CA)
Myers, Gregory Jan (Stouffville, CA)
Application Number:
11/260397
Publication Date:
05/03/2007
Filing Date:
10/28/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C7/50
View Patent Images:
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20070063550CHAIR FRAME FOR A FOLDING CHAIRMarch, 2007Lin
20040084950Seat shell with adjustable support elementsMay, 2004Markwald
20070252401Rear baggage compartment structure of vehicleNovember, 2007Sumida et al.
20050146190Adjustable retainer for a headrestJuly, 2005Taatjes
20090243345Universal hunting swivel chairOctober, 2009Carter et al.
20100072795Headrest for Protecting Against WhiplashMarch, 2010Meixner et al.
20100052398Stool with a noncircular supportMarch, 2010Hanusiak et al.
20090111354Beanie objectsApril, 2009Zheng



Primary Examiner:
EDELL, JOSEPH F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Ridout & Maybee LLP (Burlington, ON, CA)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A device to aid persons rising from, or sitting down into, a seated position in a seat, comprising: an elongated, generally horizontal, support base which base is adapted to be positioned under the legs of said seat; an upwardly extending sleeve attached at one end to said base, and having an opening at an opposite end for receiving an elongated vertically orientated support arm; an elongated support arm extending upwardly from said sleeve and having a first end adapted to fit within said opening in said sleeve and a second end extending, in use, to a position above said seat; and a movable handle extending from said second end of said support arm, wherein said movable handle is moveable from a storage position to an active position so that when said moveable handle is in said active position, said handle extends at least partially across the front of said seat.

2. A device as claimed in claim 1 wherein said base is essentially flat and horizontal and is adapted to fit under at least one leg of said seat.

3. A device as claimed in claim 2 wherein said base is adapted to fit under at least 2 legs of a seat.

4. A device as claimed in claim 1 additionally comprising leg locking devices to affix said base to at least one leg of said seat.

5. A device as claimed in claim 4 comprising two or more leg locking device, at least one of which is moveable.

6. A device as claimed in claim 5 wherein said leg locking devices have a V-shaped notch to fit around a seat leg.

7. A device as claimed in claim 1 wherein said sleeve is releaseably attached to said base using attachment plates.

8. A device as claimed in claim 7 wherein said attachment plates are L-shaped.

9. A device as claimed in claim 8 having an exterior L-shaped attachment plate for attachment of said sleeve to said base, which exterior L-shaped attachment plate extends outwardly from said base.

10. A device as claimed in claim 1 wherein said sleeve is attached to said base at an sleeve angle through attachment plates, and said sleeve angle is adjustable.

11. A device as claimed in claim 10 wherein said sleeve is pivotably attached to said attachment plates, and is pivotable to a position essentially parallel to said base.

12. A device as claimed in claim 1 wherein said sleeve is a hollow tube adapted to receive a first end of said support arm.

13. A device as claimed in claim 1 wherein said support arm comprises at least one support arm attachment means for connection of said support arm to said sleeve.

14. A device as claimed in claim 13 wherein said support arm attachment means is a C-clip.

15. A device as claimed in claim 13 wherein said support arm height is adjustable.

16. A device as claimed in claim 1 wherein said handle is moveable from said active position to said storage position by rotation about a axis of rotation located on said support arm.

17. A device as claimed in claim 16 wherein said handle rotates from 90 to 270 degrees in moving from said storage position to said active position.

18. A device as claimed in claim 1 wherein said handle has a length of between 10 and 30 cm and comprises a rubberized or foam grip section.

19. A device as claimed in claim 1 wherein said sleeve is reversibly attached to said base so that said device is reversible and can be used on either side of a seat.

20. A device as claimed in claim 1 additionally comprising a non-slip or protective device on a bottom surface of said base or a non-slip mat on the upper surface of the base, in the areas where the legs of said seat would rest.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to devices that assist people as they rise up from, or sit down into, a seated position, and, more particularly, to a reversible aid for such use which can be placed on either side of a chair.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Many persons have difficulty rising from, or sitting down into a seated position. This might be because of an infirmity due to injury, illness, advanced age, or some other debilitation. This difficulty is of special concern when padded chairs and couches are used as seating devices, as the individual may sit deeply in the cushioning, and thus aggravating any difficulty in getting up. Devices that utilize a handle to permit the seated person to grab hold of and pull on while rising are well known. In some cases, these devices are normally not connected to any particular piece of furniture and, thus, may be employed anywhere the individual may be seated.

Typical devices utilize a pair of bars which are positioned in front of the person as he rises. These devices normally must be positioned under and in front of the chair and typically will block the view of the user or are obtrusive. Known prior art includes U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,553,746; 4,844,107; 4,922,560; 4,843,661; 3,591,874; 3,739,793; 4,941,495; and 3,695,609. These devices can generally be described as “chair assist” devices.

Additionally, in U.S. Pat. No. 5,295,498, Van Meter et al. provide a chair assist having a brace that would rest under the legs of a chair, couch, sofa or the like, and an upright arm that could be utilized by a user to assist in pulling themselves upright. In tile embodiment shown by Van Meter, the arm is essentially a straight rod with an upright handle, but a recent development has arms with a curved configuration but which project outward in a plane which is parallel to a longitudinal axis of the base, and which is thus parallel to the plane of the side of the chair, couch, sofa or the like.

While these devices have proven to be useful, additional development is desired in order to provide an improved benefit to persons requiring these features.

In particular, it would be desirable to provide a chair assist device, or more generally, a transferring tool device, that would be less intrusive when not in use. Additionally, it would be desirable to provide a chair assist that was adjustable to better fit a variety of chairs, couches, sofas or the like. Further, it would be desirable to provide a chair assist wherein a handle can be provided that would better assist the user, while not being a impediment to use by, or an obstruction to, the user.

Still further, the weight of the seat is the primary mechanism to hold the prior art chair assists in place. This can be a problem if the chair is light in weight, and/or a relatively large force is applied to the chair assist. As a result, the chair assist of the prior art can move and possibly upset the balance of the user. This could occur as the user was sitting down in the seat, or was rising from the seat. As such, it would be desirable to provide a chair assist that could be more securely fastened to the chair, couch, sofa or the like in order to prevent inadvertent movement of the assist with respect to the seat.

To overcome these difficulties, in accordance with the present invention, it would therefore be advantageous to provide a chair assist wherein a folding handle is provided that extends partially across the user that can be used to facilitate rising from a chair, which handle can be moved out of the way when the user is being seated, or while the user is seated.

Further, it would be advantageous to provide a chair assist wherein a support arm was either foldable to be removed out of the way when not needed, and/or which was adjustable, or preferably telescopic in nature, so that it could be fitted to a particular chair, couch, sofa or the like (hereinafter collectively termed as a “seat”).

Yet further, it would be advantageous to provide a chair assist wherein the base of the chair assist can be even more securely fastened to the seat.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The advantages set out hereinabove, as well as other objects and goals inherent thereto, are at least partially or fully provided by the device of the present invention, as set out herein below.

In one aspect, therefore, the present invention provides a device to aid persons rising from, or sitting down into, a seated position in a seat, comprising:

an elongated, generally horizontal, support base which base is adapted to be positioned under the legs of said seat;

an upwardly extending sleeve attached at one end to said base, and having an opening at an opposite end for receiving an elongated vertically orientated support arm;

an elongated support arm extending upwardly from said sleeve and having a first end adapted to fit within said opening in said sleeve and a second end extending, in use, to a position above said seat; and

a movable handle extending from said second end of said support arm, wherein said movable handle is moveable from a storage position to an active position so that when said moveable handle is in said active position, said handle extends at least partially across the front of said seat.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Embodiments of this invention will now be described by way of example only in association with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective drawing of the device of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the device of FIG. 1 along the line 2-2;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the device of FIG. 1 along the line 3-3;

FIG. 4 is a side view of the device of FIG. 1;

FIGS. 5A and 5B are perspective views of the handle section of the device of FIG. 1 in a storage position and an active position; and

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a sleeve portion in which the angle of the sleeve can be adjusted.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

For the purposes of the present description, the term “seat” is used. As previously described, the present application is therefore primarily directed to a device that is of use with a chair having one of more legs on its side. However, the skilled artisan will be aware that the device may used in a wide variety of seats including, for example, chairs, couches, sofas, lounges, chesterfields, benches, or the like. Accordingly, while the present application will hereinafter be described with particular reference to a “seat”, the skilled artisan would be aware that the device of the present application is useful with a wide variety of different types of seats.

The novel features which are believed to be characteristic of the present invention, as to its structure, organization, use and method of operation, together with further objectives and advantages thereof, will be better understood from the following drawings in which a presently preferred embodiment of the invention will now be illustrated by way of example only. In the drawings, like reference numerals depict like elements.

It is expressly understood, however, that the drawings are for the purpose of illustration and description only and are not intended as a definition of the limits of the invention.

Referring to FIG. 1 a device to aid persons rising from, or sit down into a seated position 10 is shown. Device 10 may be fabricated from any suitable material that can provide the structural integrity necessary for use. This can include, without limitation, materials such as iron, steel, aluminum, wood, plastics or the like, or combinations thereof. Preferably, however, the device is made essentially entirely of steel.

Device 10 can be painted or have other surface treatments in order to provide some aesthetic features, such as blending in to the design of the room where it is used. Alternatively or additionally, it can be painted to include safety features such as a brightly coloured sections which will be clearly visible.

Device 10 has a base unit 12 which is preferably provided with structural end rails 14 and a side rail 16 on one side. The opposite side of base unit 12 preferably does not have a side rail in order to facilitate sliding the device under the legs of a seat (not shown).

Base 12 of device 10 is essentially flat and horizontal and intended to be fitted under at least one leg, and preferably at least 2 legs of a seat (not shown). Base 12 has a length of approximately 1 meter and is therefore adapted to be fitted under most seats. An extension plate, not shown, can be fitted to base 12 if additional length is required to fit under the legs of a seat.

The bottom of base 12 can be a flat surface which would be suitable for resting on a carpet or the like. Preferably, however, the base can additionally comprise any of a number of non-slip or protective devices, such as foam rubber or neoprene mats 13, pads or coatings, to allow the base to rest on a floor and minimize the possibility of slipping of the base unit, and/or protect the floor surface.

Attached to side rail 16 are two seat leg locking devices 18 which are slidable on side rail 16 in a groove 19 formed in locking device 18. Locking devices 18 preferably include a V-shaped notch 20, which is adapted to receive a the front and rear legs of a seat. Notches 20 can be any suitable shape, but a V-shaped clamp has been found to be of use in the practice of the present invention. In use, base 12 is slid under the legs of the seat until the seat legs are aligned with notches 20 in locking device 18. Locking devices 18 are then moved by sliding along side rail 16 until the seat legs are positioned within notches 20. Locking devices 18 are then fixed into position by tightening bolts 22 which press against side rail 16 to hold the locking device in position.

Alternatively, one locking device 18 might be permanently affixed to base 12, with a second locking device being capable of moving so that it can be positioned against a second seat leg once the permanent locking device was in position against a first seat leg. Preferably, however, at least 1 leg locking device is provided, and more preferably, at least 2 leg locking devices are provided. Still further, it is preferred that at least one leg locking device be moveable in order to provide adjustability for differences in the distances between seat legs. In the most preferred embodiment, the device has two moveable leg locking devices.

In the prior art, the weight of the seat holds device 10 in place by having the legs rest on the base unit. In the present invention, however, base unit 12 is also prevented from moving, as it is being used by person rising from the seat, since locking devices 18 prevent sideways or back and forth movement of device 10. As such, device 10 is more firmly held in a proper position than prior art devices.

Further, non-slip mats 17 made of, for example, neoprene or rubber, can be fitted to an upper surface of base 16 in the areas where the legs of the seat would commonly rest, in order to further reduce the risk of having the seat slide unintentionally.

Interior 24 and exterior 26 L-shaped attachment plates are used to hold sleeve 30 in place using bolts 28. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, interior plate 24 and exterior plate 26 are bolted to side rail 16, by bolts 28, and thus are firmly connected to base 12. Sleeve 30 might also be held to base unit 12 by welding, or some other method. However, as shown in the figures, the use of attachment plates 24 and 26, or some other releasable attachment means, allows sleeve 30 to be temporarily removed from base unit 12 for transportation or storage.

Attachment plates 24 and 26 could be any of a variety of shapes. However, preferably these plates are L-shaped so as to be able to assist in preventing inadvertent tilting of device 10 in a sideways direction when weight is placed on a support arm 32. This is particularly true with exterior L-shaped attachment plate 26 since it reduces the possibility of device 10 tipping over in a direction away from base 12.

As a result, device 10 is very stable in that the leg locking devices prevent the device from moving sideways, or back and forth, while the L-shaped attachment plates prevent tipping of the device to the side. The length of base 12, with the weight of the seat, acts to prevent device 10 from tipping to the front or back.

Sleeve 30 is welded to sleeve attachment plates 27 and 29 at a desired angle. Plates 27 and 29 are then bolted to, for example, L-shaped attachment plates 24 and 26 using bolts 28, and thus, effectively connect sleeve 30 to side rail 16.

Sleeve 30 is preferably a hollow tube which extends upwards from base 12 at a desired sleeve angle. In a alternative design, shown in FIG. 6, sleeve 30A may be bolted to attachment plates 24A and 26A using one of a number of additional bolt holes 31. One end of sleeve 30A is bolted using bolt 33 so that sleeve 30A is pivotable about bolt 33. Sleeve 30A is fixed in position with a second bolt which might be inserted into any one of bolt holes 31. This allows the sleeve angle of sleeve 30A to be adjusted with respect to base 12. This might also include a bolt hole 35 that allows sleeve 30A to be moved to a storage position where sleeve 30A would be essentially parallel to base 12.

However, most commonly, sleeve 30 is fixed into position, as shown in FIG. 1.

A support arm 32 is fitted within sleeve 30. The inner diameter of sleeve 30 is sufficiently large so as to receive one end of support arm 32, and a C-clip 34 fixed to the side of arm 32. In use, arm 30 can be essentially fully inserted into sleeve 30 so as to provide a lowered arm height. Arm 32 can also be raised so that clip 34 fits over the end of sleeve 30, and thus holds arm 32 at a raised height. Arm 32 can be fitted with a plurality of clips, or other temporary attachment means, in order to adjust the height of arm 32. This can be used to adjust the height of the arm depending on the height of the seat, or the height of the user, for example, or also allows arm 32 to be lowered in order to facilitate storage or transportation.

Arm 32 might also be preferably removed completely from sleeve 30 for storage or transportation. Also, although sleeve 30 and arm 32 are shown as being square tubes, any suitable shape of sleeve and/or arm might be used.

Sleeve 30 is preferably of a length which is approximately equal to the length of support arm 32. However, the relative lengths of sleeve 30 and support arm 32 can vary significantly. Together, however, sleeve 30 and support arm 32 preferably have a combined length, in use, of between 0.5 meters and 1 meter. Sleeve 30 preferably has a minimum length of at least 10% of the combined useable length of sleeve 30 plus arm 32, and more preferably, has a minimum length of at least 30% of the combined length.

At the opposite end of arm 32, a handle portion 40 is provided. Preferably, handle portion 40 is movable from an active position, as shown in FIG. 5A to a stored position, as shown in FIG. 5B. In the stored position, handle portion 40 does not interfere with a user when the user is seated in the seat. While handle 40 might be moved from one position to the other by a variety of means, including, sliding the handle section, or by providing a telescopic handle section, preferably the handle is rotated into the storage and/or active position, when required, by rotating handle 40 around bolt 44. When not required, the handle is preferably rotated at least 75, and more preferably 90 degrees, to a position which preferably is at least co-linear with the support arm. More preferably, handle 40 may be rotated further to a position that is 180 degrees to its position when in use. Even more preferably, handle portion 40 is rotated 270 degrees to a position that rests along side arm 32, as shown in FIG. 5B. The direction of movement of handle portion 40 is shown by arrows A and B in FIGS. 5A and 5B.

Other handle storage arrangements are also possible, but preferably the handle is rotatable to a storage position that is between 45 and 300 degrees to its active position, and more preferably, is rotatable to a position which is between 90 and 270 degrees to its active position.

Handle portion 40 is preferably fitted to arm 32 using handle attachment plates 46 which are connected to arm 32. Handle attachment plates 46 are preferably welded to arm 32 although other attachment means might be used. Bolt 44 extends through plates 46 and handle 40 and thus connects handle 40 to arm 32. Handle portion 40 is free to rotate around bolt 44, and thus, can be moved from its stored position to its active position. As such, bolt 44 acts as an axis of rotation for handle 40, which axis of rotation is located at the end of support arm 32.

Handle 40 is prevented from moving past the active or storage positions since it will move to a position where a portion of the handle will rest on, or be adjacent to arm 32, respectively.

Handle 40 may include a grip section 42, such as, for example, a rubberized or foam grip 44 to cover at least part of the handle, in order to better enable a person seated in the seat to grasp the handle.

Plates 46 might also be fitted with a rubberized or foam grip section 48, which a user can also use as a temporary rest while standing near device 10.

It is to be noted that a primary advantage of the rotatable handle is that handle 40 can be rotated into an active position when required to assist the user in rising from the seat, or when sitting down into the seat. In the active position, handle 40 has a length of preferably between 10 and 30 cm, and thus preferably only partially extends in front of the user. This allows the user to more easily grasp the handle than prior art devices. This position also assists in pulling the user straight forward out of the seat. However, handle 40 preferably does not extend completely across the user so as to block the user attempting to rise from, or sit down into, the seat.

When the user is seated in the seat, or when the seat is used by a user that does not require handle 40, handle 40 is preferably moved to its storage position so that the user is not impeded while sitting in, or rising from, the seat. As such, in the storage position, the handle preferably does not extend across in front of the seat, and in the preferred embodiment, in the storage position, the handle is positioned essentially equal to, or outside of, the second end of support arm 32, as shown in FIG. 5B. Also, in the storage position, the device is not obtrusive while the seat user is seated since the handle is not located directly in front of the user.

Also, it is to be noted that in the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, sleeve 30 might also be moved to the other end of base 16, and the sleeve attachment can be reversed so that sleeve 30 points in the opposite direction. As a result, device 10 is preferably reversible, in that it can be positioned on either side of the chair.

When device 10 is not required, support arm 32 (with handle 40) can be removed from sleeve 30. Sleeve 30 can then be optionally folded flat to the base, and locking devices 18 released. The entire device 10 can then be easily moved or stored, for example, under the seat, where it is ready for later use.

Thus, it is apparent that there has been provided, in accordance with the present invention, a device to aid persons rising from, or sitting down into, a seated position which fully satisfies the goals, objects, and advantages set forth hereinbefore. Therefore, having described specific embodiments of the present invention, it will be understood that alternatives, modifications and variations thereof may be suggested to those skilled in the art, and that it is intended that the present specification embrace all such alternatives, modifications and variations as fall within the scope of the appended claims.

Additionally, for clarity and unless otherwise stated, the word “comprise” and variations of the word such as “comprising” and “comprises”, when used in the description and claims of the present specification, is not intended to exclude other additives, components, integers or steps.

Moreover, the words “substantially” or “essentially”, when used with an adjective or adverb is intended to enhance the scope of the particular characteristic; e.g., substantially planar is intended to mean planar, nearly planar and/or exhibiting characteristics associated with a planar element.

Also, while this discussion has addressed prior art known to the inventor, it is not an admission that all art discussed is citable against the present application.