Family fun at the beach doesn’t have to exclude grandma and grandpa, but buying beach chairs for the elderly in advance might help. After all, seniors benefit from outdoor time just like anyone else. Staying active for as long as possible is one of the ways to stay healthy as you get older. Setting them up in a comfortable beach chair, with plenty of pockets to hold stuff, is the best way to make the most of summertime fun. Let’s take a look at some options for the best beach chair for an older person.
Features of the Beach Chairs for the Elderly
Setting out with your standard beach chair in tow might seem like the simplest solution for a family day at the beach. However, why not take the initiative to consider your senior loved one’s needs and find a chair that will add to their enjoyment of sun, sea, and sand? Let’s look at some features that you should consider when buying beach chairs for older adults.
Height, Width, and Depth
Most beach chairs are between eight and twelve inches from the ground. Low beach chairs are much closer to the ground, and although they allow the beach-goer to stretch out on the sand, they are much more difficult for seniors to sit down and stand up from. High beach chairs are more than thirteen inches from the ground. These are the easiest to get in and out of for most individuals.
Although less important than the height from the ground, the width and depth are also measurement considerations to take into account when looking for the most comfortable beach chair. Most beach chairs average between eighteen and twenty-five inches wide, while the seatback can range from twenty-four to forty inches. Plus size beach chairs are more expansive and designed to hold more weight. Make sure to find a wide enough chair that is comfortable to sit in and provides enough back support.
The material that the beach chair is made from will determine how durable and comfortable it is. Wood is a common material but is heavier and less weather resistant than other types. If you can find a chair made from teak, it may cost a bit more but will last longer. Aluminum beach chairs are weather-resistant, light, and sturdy. If you need to carry the chair for any distance, you’ll appreciate its weight. Steel beach chairs are less weather-resistant than aluminum and heavier but sturdier overall. Although plastic seems like a cheap and flimsy material to make beach chairs from, nowadays, you can find recycled plastic chairs that are ultra-durable and weather resistant.
There are a variety of other features that you might consider when picking out your next beach lounger. Folding chairs with shoulder straps and backpack beach chairs are easier to sling over the shoulder and carry to the water’s edge. Beach chairs that have towel bars ensure dryness between dips in the sea. Some beach chairs come with canopies or umbrellas, either permanently attached or detachable. You can keep your skin from turning lobster red with these additions. Believe it or not, not all beach chairs have cup holders, a feature universally loved. And finally, extra padding, especially on the seat and armrests, makes for a comfy seat.
A Free Option
Before we get into buying a new beach chair for yourself or an older adult, first consider a possible free option. This might be a particularly good option if you don’t plan to hit the beach very often or mobility is a limiting factor.
The picture above is one I took at a state park in Maine. It’s a wheelchair/beach chair, designed to more easily move across beach sand than a conventional wheelchair ever could despite any wheelchair accessories that might make life easier. I have seen these types of chairs at ever state park I’ve been to, and they are always sitting unoccupied. I’ve never seen one in use.
They are always chained up, as in the picture above, so not anyone is able to just take it an use it without speaking to park staff. They are reserved for handicap use, they’re free to use, and they could save you money from buying a beach chair designed specifically for seniors.
Of course, these are at state parks. Other beaches may or may not have such beach wheelchairs. It can’t hurt to call ahead and ask, however.
That said, you can also buy a beach wheelchair such as this one (better even), but they are pricey. Still, for someone that has mobility issues and visits the beach all summer long, it could be a wise investment. It would also be great for facilities who take residents to the beach.
Consider these options from ACTIVEnABLE:
- DeBug Beach Access Wheelchair – This is an adapted all terrain recreational wheelchair. It has balloon-like wheels to make it easier to operate in beach sand, on gravel, etc.
- DeBug Beach Access Walker – Similar to a wheelchair but a walker that is significantly easier to operate on sand, snow, gravel, etc. It comes with the same, albeit smaller, balloon-like tires.
The Best Beach Chairs for Elderly
In general, the best beach chair for an elderly person falls into two categories, zero gravity or camp chairs, sometimes called high boys (or hi-boy). Standard beach chairs are far too close to the ground for an older person to manage without considerable assistance.
Zero Gravity Beach Chairs
Zero gravity chairs are designed to hold your body in a position so that it receives equal gravity pull on all parts. In contrast, a traditional chair leaves your legs dangling. Zero gravity chairs are best for individuals that suffer from edema, varicose veins, or other conditions that cause swelling. The hammock-like structure also reduces the strain on the vertebrae, easing back and neck pain. If you are looking for the perfect beach chair for an older person, zero gravity might be the way to go.
Amazon Basics Zero Gravity Recliner Padded Patio Lounger Chair
- Zero-gravity chair (2-pack) with side table for ultimate comfort and convenience when relaxing outdoors
- 2 removable headrest pillows and 2 cup holders (1 for each chair) and 2 cup holders (integrated into the table); chairs and table fold flat for compact storage and easy transport
- Lockable recline function; safe, sturdy construction; made of durable steel and Textilene fabric; Tan color
The Amazon Basics Zero Gravity Recliner Padded Patio Lounger Chair is 22 inches from the ground with a 21-inch padded seat width. It measures 72 inches when fully reclined and can bear up to 350 pounds. It can be adjusted for the most comfortable position. The back is also fully padded. The padded pillow can be moved to serve as a headrest or lumbar support. It comes with a detachable table with a cup holder. It isn’t a light chair, weighing about 20 pounds, so moving it to and from can be difficult.
Amazon Basics Zero Gravity Chair with Side Table
- OVERSIZED DIMENSIONS: 29.5" L x 32" W x 45" H, off ground seat height is 22", height of the chair back is 30", seat width is 21", folding dimensions are 31" L x 7" W x 38.5 " H; weight: 19.8 lbs
- ERGONOMIC DESIGN: The length of chair when fully reclined is 72 inches making it large enough for larger people up to 6'2"; maximum loading capacity is 350lbs
- NO ASSEMBLY: Easy folding and compact structure is suitable for any outdoor occasions, such as poolside, patio, yard, beach or balcony
The best deal we found for Zero Gravity Chairs is the Amazon Basics Zero Gravity Chair with Side Table. It comes with two chairs and a side table that has two cup holders. The headrests and cup holders are removable. The chairs and table fold flat, making them easier to transport and store.
The chairs are adjustable and have a lockable recline position. They are constructed of Textilene fabric and steel framed. The chairs measure 26 inches in length and up to 43 inches in height. These chairs come in a variety of colors and have a weight limit of up to 300 pounds. The set comes with the Amazon Basics one-year limited warranty. Each chair weighs about 20 pounds, so moving the chairs might be cumbersome for an elderly individual.
Tall Beach Chairs
Many beach chairs are low to the ground and challenging for older adults to get out of. If you are looking for a beach chair high off the ground, probably the best overall beach chairs for the elderly, then take a look at these models.
ONIVA – a Picnic Time Brand Portable Folding Sports Chair
- Lightweight, outdoor portable folding chair with a sturdy aluminum frame by ONIVA - a Picnic Time brand; Doubles as a camping chair
- Accessories panel includes a variety of pockets to hold cell phones, sunglasses, magazines; Makes a great beach or picnic chair
- Includes insulated bottled beverage pouch, zippered security pocket, and a convenient side table that folds out
The folding sports chair from ONIVA comes in a variety of colors. It is constructed from lightweight aluminum and polyester canvas and has several pockets to stash your cell phone, sunglasses, or book. It also has an insulated beverage pouch and a fold-out side table. The seat is 19 ½ inches wide, and the seat is 16 inches from the ground.
The armrests are sturdy and padded. This beach chair has a 300-pound weight capacity. The ONIVA beach chair can be carried using the under-seat handles or the detachable shoulder strap. It weighs just over ten pounds, so transporting is easier than some other models. This chair comes with a lifetime guarantee from the manufacturer.
Rio Gear Beach Hi-Boy
- EXTRA TALL BEACH CHAIR: The Rio Beach extended seat height backpack chair offers hands-free portability and is lightweight to carry
- PORTABLE FOLDING CHAIR: Adjustable, backpack shoulder strap with large storage pouch. Patented and only by Rio Beach
- PERSONAL STORAGE BAG: Removable pack allows you to take your personal belongings with you while you take a walk or a bathroom break
The Rio Gear Beach Hi-Boy is the highest and lightest chair in our list. It sits 17 inches from the ground and has an extended seatback. It has backpack straps for easy transport and weighs just eight pounds. The aluminum frame has a weight capacity of 240 pounds. It can be adjusted into four positions with tilt lock protection. The armrests are sturdy hardwood. It has a zippered side pouch, cell phone pocket, and cup holder. The Rio Gear Beach Hi-Boy comes in several color options.
Sit Down and Relax
Whether you choose a zero gravity chair or camp chair depends on the person’s health the beach chair is meant to accommodate. If leg swelling is an issue, then, by all means, go with the zero gravity chair. Keep in mind that these types of chairs are heavier and more challenging to maneuver. On the other hand, if you need a taller beach chair, then camp chairs are ideal. Many come with a variety of pouches and padded seating.
Don’t forget to add an ample beach umbrella, side table, and cooler for the best beach time experience. May this list of beach chairs for the elderly make your next trip that much easier. Surf’s up, grandma!