Preventing Back Injuries and Harm to Seniors with Proper Lifting Techniques
Those providing care for an older loved one at home are likely to find themselves in situations each and every day where it’s necessary to lift, move or transfer the senior – and, if not managed appropriately, this can result in a back injury to the caregiver. Injuries happen most often as a result of caregivers who:
- Are not practicing proper lifting and transferring techniques
- Are unable to realize when they’ve reached their physical limits
- Are unequipped or unprepared for the physical strain of lifting and transferring
- Would rather “handle it alone” than ask for assistance
Because injuries to the back are so common from utilizing incorrect lifting techniques, preventing back injuries by educating yourself is crucial. Home & Hearth Caregivers offers some of the top recommendations to reduce the risk of back injury for those providing care for seniors:
- Lift only what you are able to comfortably handle.
- Let the older adult help as much as possible during the lift or transfer; or, utilize adaptive equipment for lifts or transfers (with specialized training).
- Perform the lift or transfer at the senior’s comfort level and speed, and make sure no pain is being experienced by either yourself or the senior.
- Be sure not to make any sudden jerking motions.
- Never tug on or pull the older person’s arms or shoulders during the lift.
- Ensure that the senior is wearing shoes or slippers with good treads.
- Enhance support by standing with your feet shoulder width apart and placing one foot a half-step in front of the other.
- Always be sure to lift with your legs, and never your back.
- Make sure the senior does not wrap her arms around your neck or grab and hold you. If she seems fearful, having her clasp her hands close to her chest during the lift or transfer can help.
- Breathe deeply, and be sure your shoulders remain relaxed.
The most effective technique for preventing back injuries, though, is through allowing another person to assist with the lift or transfer, rather than trying to handle it by yourself. Home & Hearth’s caregivers are expertly trained and experienced in proper lifting and transferring methods, and can help ensure that both you and your elderly loved one stay safe.
Serving Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, Will and surrounding counties, we’re pleased to offer the highest quality non-medical home care in Illinois. To learn more, you can contact us online or by calling 800-349-0663.