Caring for your back is important when providing care for a family member.
Taking care of someone is be very physically demanding. Especially in the later stages of many medical conditions. Please make sure to think before you lift, bend your knees and not your back. Here are a few more tips to promote a healthy back:
- Assess your lifting limitations, (Do you have back or hip problems? etc.)
- Are there are tools you can use? Back support, sliding board, taking out armrest of wheelchair, walker or cane… to make the lift easier?
- Inform your aging family member what you are about to do, (lift, roll them over, transfer)
- Ask your aging family member if he or she can assist with the lifting
- Be sure that the surface is not wet or slippery (wear sensible shoes when lifting)
- Make sure your aging family member has shoes on with a rubber soles when lifting.
- NEVER jerk or suddenly pull on your aging family member
- Transfer from your family members strongest side towards the chair or bed
- If your aging family member starts to fall, lower him or her gently on the floor. If you do not think you can lift them without risk of injury, ask for help or call 911
- Lift with your legs and keep your back straight
- Prior to and after the lifting, carefully do some back stretches
Here are some exercises you can do
Many family caregivers have no help with caregiving. Taking steps to protect your back is important. It's important to remember that caregivers need to take care of themselves, too. If you are feeling overwhelmed or in pain during the caregiving process, talk with your doctor and/or seek support from a caregiver group or organization.
Taking proper steps to protect yourself when providing care can help prevent injury so that caregivers can stay strong and healthy. Be sure to prioritize self-care and seek out support as needed. Caring for yourself both physically and mentally is essential while caring for those who depend on you!
Preventing and Reducing Back Pain for Caregivers
Whether your loved one is needing to move from the bed to chair, bed to the toilet, or from the sofa to standing, safety is priority number one when it comes to assisting, lifting, or transferring. Proper technique and body mechanics will help protect you from injury.
Lifting Techniques to Prevent Injury
Our Resources section can help you find the information and tools that you need. We have courses, videos, checklists, guidebooks, cheat sheets, how-to guides and more.
You can get started by clicking on the link below. We know that taking care of a loved one is hard work, but with our help you can get the support that you need.
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