Many caregivers understand the importance of caring for themselves and, yet, in another breath, say things like, “I feel overwhelmed,” “I’m stressed out,” “I’m too busy to eat, let alone find time to stay healthy,” and “There are so many things to do, how do I make time for myself?” [Read more…]
Mrs. B is 70 years old was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease five years ago. She is on the highest dosage of a “memory pill” and is well supported at home with her spouse. She is very functional and maintains a high level of independence and quality of life. But cracks are starting to show. Three months ago she fell and hit her head hard resulting in blood on her brain and notably, a decline in her memory loss. Her physician felt it would be important to monitor over a few months to see how well she “bounced back”. Mrs. B also presents very well and most times when people meet her, they don’t understand just how affected she is by her memory loss. As she and her spouse went to see her physician today to make some decisions about her medication, a memory test was given. The physician was shocked at how poorly she did. Her spouse wasn’t as shocked. Mrs. B was devastated and was grief-stricken with news of her advancing loss. [Read more…]
Making the decision to move a spouse or aging parent into long-term care is one of the most difficult decisions families make. Guilt, resentment, confusion and relief are just some of the emotions caregivers experience. Many families tend to underestimate how difficult the transition can be and often find themselves practically and emotionally unprepared. [Read more…]
Caregiving often involves physically demanding tasks. It requires conscientious care for your loved one – and for your own health. Performing tasks in a way that minimizes stress on your body can help prevent injuring yourself and the person for whom you are caring. [Read more…]
By Wendy Johnstone
Caregiving often involves physically demanding tasks. It requires conscientious care for your loved one – and for your own health. Performing tasks in a way that minimizes stress on your body can help prevent injuring yourself and the person for whom you are caring.
Consulting with a specialist such as a rehabilitation specialist or physiotherapist is the best place to find expertise to support you in your caregiving experience and physical tasks. WorkSafeBC provides a comprehensive resource on health and safety information and resources for those who provide care. Visit www.worksafebc.com/en/health-safety/industries/health-care-social-services
One of the best suggestions I’ve heard from a physiotherapist to minimize the risk of injury: have the person you are caring for do as much as possible for themselves. Although it may take longer, it gives the person being cared for more independence and reduces the amount of bending, twisting and lifting being done by you.
Here are a few simple suggestions for proper body mechanics that can help you avoid injuries:
* Sit on a firm chair with a straight back. You should be balanced on your “sit bones.” If your chair does not offer lumbar support, make your own with a rolled-up towel or pillow.
* To ease your back when sitting for a long period of time, make use of a stool or ottoman. You can also perform pelvic tilting exercises to gently mobilize your lower back.
* To avoid slouching when performing crafts or reading, make use of pillows on your lap to bring your work closer to you without straining your arms or neck.
* For prolonged sitting or car rides, be sure to adjust your chair to suit you and take frequent breaks to prevent your back from seizing up.
* Lift with your legs, not with your back.
* When bending down to lift something, face the object you are lifting and bend your legs (i.e., your hips, knees and ankles) while keeping your back straight.
* When turning, rotate your entire body, not just your back.
* If you are unsure if you can lift an object, get someone to help you.
* There are many devices available to help carry or move heavy objects. If you need help using a device, ask someone who has experience to show you how to use it properly.
Pushing a wheelchair:
* Make sure handles are at a good height for you to push without bending forward.
* Keep your back straight.
* Your feet should be shoulder width apart for sturdiness while in the standing position.
* To manoeuvre a wheelchair forward or backward, keep your back straight and use your body weight.