While the ultimate goal is to increase the health and safety for seniors they love, family caregivers, unfortunately, sometimes end up diminishing their own health in the process. An incredible 94% of caregivers in a recently available study conducted by Ohio State University documented musculoskeletal pain in at least one part of their body – and 66% attributed this pain to negative effects on their quality of life.
A “family caregiver” can constitute anyone within the family who assists another person with day-to-day activities. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, this study reveals that 34 million Americans are at risk of becoming injured by providing care to a loved one.
At CareWorks Health Services, we know firsthand the amount of lifting, bending, and weight-bearing necessary to satisfy the requirements of taking care of elderly parents, which is why each of our professional caregivers is experienced in techniques that safeguard both themselves and also the older adults within their care. Injuries can occur from even the most basic tasks that require more physical strength than you may realize: shopping and running errands, cleaning the home, cooking, and especially assisting an adult with transfers and other mobility issues.
To assist family caregivers in lessening the threat of injury, we offer the following recommendations:
- Let assistive devices do the lifting. For seniors with mobility issues, transfers, for instance from a bed to a chair, represent one of the more common reasons for injury to those caring for them. In addition to risk to the caregiver, the danger of a loved one falling and obtaining an injury is also increased in these conditions. Caregivers should explore assistive equipment, such as a Hoyer lift, that can help with safe transfers. Please note that proper training will be necessary to ensure safety.
- Exercise safe movement practices. We have all heard the adage, “Lift with your legs, not with your back,” but prior to lifting anything, caregivers should take a quick assessment of their own physical status. If pain is felt in any of the joints or back, it’s a signal that the body could have already been pushed past its capability – and an alternative strategy for taking care of elderly parents that should be considered.
- Find help. The ideal way to try to avoid injury in caregiving is by awareness. Know your limitations and call on professionals when warranted. The caregiving team at CareWorks Health Services is fully experienced and proficient in providing a full range of senior care, allowing members of the family and seniors alike to stay safe and well.
Reach out to us at (949) 859-4700 to inquire about options for personal care in Orange County. We can complete a safety assessment of the home, furnish resources to help in your caregiving journey, and offer the fully customized, professional in-home care services that enable families the chance to simply enjoy quality time with the older adults they love.