When you decided to care for a senior loved one, you likely never thought of your role as risky. Yet the hazards of senior care are nothing to take lightly. As many as 94% of caregivers who participated in a recent survey described physical pain in at least one part of their body that may be attributed to their caregiving duties. And, more than half of respondents said these particular injuries were severe enough to affect their overall quality of life.
But never fear: we’re here to help you prevent injuries! Our experienced caregiving team has practical strategies to help protect your health and wellness along with that of the older adult in your care.
Understand Your Limits – and Adhere to Them
It is surprising how challenging everyday tasks can be when you are assisting another individual in performing them. Helping someone who is unsteady to get on their feet and move from one location to another, stretching and bending to support bathing, showering, and getting dressed, hoisting a wheelchair into the trunk of a car can all put stress on your back. You can make sure you’re in optimal physical condition by doing exercises every day and maintaining a healthy body weight. Yet it’s equally important to create boundaries and only perform tasks that you know you are able to do without injuring yourself. Schedule a regular physical with your physician and come to a consensus on where you should draw the line – and then engage the help of someone else for tasks that are above and beyond your comfort zone.
Learn Proper Caregiving Techniques
Numerous caregiver injuries arise from lifting or transferring a person without knowing the proper and safe way to do it. Several tips to keep in mind include:
- Lift with your legs instead of your back.
- Listen to your body. If you are experiencing discomfort or pain in your back or joints, you are overdoing it.
- Take advantage of adaptive equipment to help ease these activities, like an adjustable bed that can be raised and lowered or a Hoyer lift.
It is so common for a primary family caregiver to try and take care of everything on their own. However, when it comes to taking care of a senior member of the family, delegating tasks is crucial. Allowing others to help eases both physical and mental stress on you, and provides the older adult in your care with added benefits as well, such as increased social opportunities.
If you are presently trying to manage senior care all on your own, hold a meeting with other members of the family and close friends. Talk through what’s involved in the day-to-day care for the senior, and find out where others can fit into the caregiving picture.
Keep Hearts at Home In-Home Care, a provider of private duty home care in Kansas City and the surrounding areas, in mind too. We are here to help with any responsibilities that are difficult for you to manage, or that you would prefer somebody else to take care of. We can take care of housekeeping and meals, for example, as you enjoy quality time with the older adult. Or, we can help with the senior’s morning or bedtime bath/shower regimen, while you take a little time to yourself.
Whatever the need, up through and including full-time, 24/7 care, we are here to help you and your loved one! Call us at 913-440-4209 for more information on how to prevent injuries as a family caregiver.