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Protect Your Back When Caring for your Loved One

By Kevin McClarren, 5:59 pm on

Did you know that recent surveys are reporting that nurses and caregivers have a higher rate of back injury than construction workers? The physical work associated with caregiving leaves numerous family caregivers with back pain and problems. If your provide care for an aging parent or loved one, check out the following tips for protecting your back and keeping yourself strong when providing care.

  • Lift With Your Legs – When you are doing heavy lifting – for example, helping your loved one out of a low chair – keep them close and when you lift up, do so with the large, strong muscles of your legs and buttocks rather than letting the smaller, weaker muscles of the back do the work. Also, do not bend your back while lifting.
  • Ask for Help – If you need assistance with a difficult task, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If family is not available, consider hiring a professional Warren caregiver to assist. Also, encourage your loved one (if they are able) to help you in any way they can, such as by rolling over in bed if you are changing the sheets or by wrapping their arms around your neck and helping you to pivot during a transfer.
  • Wear a Back Brace – Many people balk at this because they think that braces will be uncomfortable or restrictive. However, you can work in them normally and if you get the “cummerbund” style of brace that fits snugly around the mid-section without any straps, you will find it quite comfortable. Braces have been proven to drastically reduce the chances of damage to the lower back.
  • Take Advantage of Assistive Devices – There is more technology available today to improve the lives of the elderly and their caregivers, so take advantage of it. If, for instance, your loved one is chronically weak or severely overweight, a device like a Hoyer lift, a mechanized sling which aids in transfers, can safely get your loved one in and out of bed. Taking advantages of such devices reduces the chance of injuring yourself while trying to provide care.

It is very easy to damage your back in the process of caregiving and it can make it difficult or even impossible for you to continue caring for your loved one. However, following the suggestions above can greatly reduce the risk and keep you strong and healthy so you can be there for the ones who need you.

If you are interested in learning more about in-home care in Warren, reach out to Home Care Assistance today. Our Care Managers are available to answer your questions and they can also help you schedule a complimentary consultation to further discuss care needs. Simply dial 908-450-9400 – we look forward to hearing from you!