A healthy person can get in and out of a recliner chair without using the handle on the side.
I broke my right wrist in Nov 2013.
The handle on my comfy recliner is on the right-hand side of my chair.
I like to have the footboard up when I am in my chair.
I found a solution that I have been happily using for approx 4 months and intend to continue using even though my wrist has been healed for quite a while.
One day, I stood by my chair and used my left hand to put the footboard up.
Since then, all I had to do whenever I wanted to sit in my chair, was to press down on the footboard with my foot to lower it - just stopping a bit before it was completely closed - and then sit.
Then as you sit back in the chair, and raise your legs, the footboard comes up automatically without you doing anything.
NOTE: If you close the footboard completely, you have to use the handle to raise the footboard.
When I want to get out of my recliner, I just press the footboard down using my feet & legs.
Again stopping before the footboard is completely closed.
As you leave the chair, the footboard will again automatically come back up.
It is a perfect solution as long as a person does not mind the recliner having the footboard up all the time. Personally, I don't care. It is where I sit. My visitors sit on my couch or my other chair.
SAFETY NOTE: I don't have any pets.
If I did, I would check the whereabouts of my pet before I got into my chair to make sure that a cat or other small animal hadn't crawled inside the chair.