When you decided to offer care for an older loved one, you likely did not think of your role as being dangerous. Yet the hazards of caregiving are nothing to take lightly. Approximately 94 percent of caregivers who took part 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 percent of respondents claimed these particular injuries were severe enough to affect their overall quality of life.
But don’t worry: we’re here with tips for preventing caregiving injury! Our experienced caregiving team has many strategies to help protect your health and wellness along with that of the love one in your care.
Recognize Your Limits – and Stick to Them
It is surprising how stressful everyday duties can be when you’re assisting another individual in completing them. Helping somebody who is unsteady to get on their feet to move from one location to another, stretching and bending to help with bathing, showering, and getting dressed, lifting a wheelchair into the trunk of your car can all put stress on your back. You can make sure you’re in optimum physical shape by working out every day and maintaining a healthy body weight. Yet it’s equally important to set up boundaries and only perform tasks that you know are possible to take care of without hurting yourself. Schedule a routine physical with your physician and come to a consensus on where you should draw the line – and then enlist the aid of someone else for tasks which are beyond your comfort level.
Learn Appropriate Caregiving Practices
Many caregiver injuries happen from lifting or transferring a person without understanding the correct and safe way to do so. Several tips to bear in mind include:
- Lift with your legs – not your back.
- Pay attention to your body. If you’re experiencing discomfort or pain in your joints or back, you’re overdoing it.
- Take advantage of adaptive equipment to ease these tasks, such as an adjustable bed that can be raised and lowered or a Hoyer lift.
It is so common for a primary family caregiver to attempt to handle everything on their own. However, in terms of caring for an older family member, delegating tasks is crucial. Allowing others to help reduces both physical and mental stress on you, and provides the older adult in your care with additional benefits as well, such as improved social opportunities.
If you are currently trying to manage caregiving by yourself, hold a meeting with other members of the family and friends. Discuss what is included in the day-to-day care for the older adult, and find out where others can fit into the caregiving picture.
Keep Home With You Senior Care, a trusted provider of live-in care in Hampstead, MD and the surrounding communities, in mind also. We’re here to help with any tasks that are challenging for you to take care of, or that you would prefer another person to handle. We can tend to housekeeping and meals, for example, while you enjoy quality time with the senior. Or, we can assist with the senior’s morning or bedtime bath/shower schedule, while you take a little time to yourself.