When you decided to provide care for a senior you love, you likely did not think of your role as being risky. However, the hazards of providing care are nothing to take lightly. As many as 94% of caregivers who participated in a recent survey noted physical pain in at least one part of their body that could be attributed to their caregiving duties. And, over 50% of respondents stated these particular injuries were significant enough to impact their overall health and wellbeing.
But never fear: we’re here to help you avoid injury! Our experienced caregiving team has many ideas to help protect your health and wellness along with that of the older adult in your care.
Know Your Limits – and Adhere to Them
It’s surprising how strenuous everyday tasks can be when you’re helping another individual in accomplishing them. Assisting someone who is unsteady to get on their feet and move from one location to another, bending and stretching to help with bathing, showering, and getting dressed, lifting a wheelchair into the trunk of your car can all wreak havoc on your back. You can ensure you’re in optimum physical health by working out each day and maintaining a healthy body weight. Yet it is just as important to set boundaries and only perform tasks that you know are possible to do without hurting yourself. Schedule a regular physical with your doctor and come to a consensus on where you should draw the line – and then enlist assistance from someone for tasks that are above and beyond your comfort level.
Learn Appropriate Caregiving Techniques
Numerous caregiver accidents arise from lifting or transferring a senior without understanding the correct and safe way to do so. Several tips to keep in mind include:
- Use your legs to lift – not your back.
- Listen to your body. If you’re sensing discomfort or pain in your back or joints, you’re overdoing it.
- Use adaptive equipment to ease these tasks, such as an adjustable bed that can be raised and lowered or a Hoyer lift.
It’s so common for a primary family caregiver to attempt to take care of everything independently. However, in terms of caring for an older member of the family, delegating tasks is vital. Allowing others to assist lessens both mental and physical stress on you, and provides the older adult in your care with additional benefits as well, such as increased social opportunities.
If you are currently trying to manage caregiving by yourself, hold a meeting with family members and friends. Talk through what’s included in the day-to-day care for the senior, and find out where others can fit into the caregiving picture.
Keep Morning Glory Home Care, a trusted provider of help at home in Belleville, IL and the surrounding communities, in mind too. We’re here to help with any tasks that happen to be difficult for you to handle, or that you’d prefer someone else to take care of. We can tend to housekeeping and meals, for instance, while you enjoy quality time with your loved one. Or, let us help with the senior’s morning or bedtime bath/shower schedule, as you take some time to yourself.