Serving as a family caregiver for a loved one aging at home can be highly rewarding, but it can also be dangerous. Every year, thousands of caregivers are injured while they are assisting others. These caregiver injuries often result in missed workdays, neglected household responsibilities, and costly medical bills.
If you sustain an injury, it can also interfere with your caregiving duties, and it poses a threat to your loved one’s ability to continue to live independently at home. The good news – there are several proven ways to protect yourself from caregiver injuries, including these eight.
1. Practice Proper Lifting Techniques
Repetitive lifting and awkward twisting will eventually wear down your lower back and shoulders. To prevent this, when you’re lifting, square up your shoulders and body, not twisting your back, and start a lift by bending your legs at the knees.
2. Use Lifting Assistance Devices
If your care recipient is a large individual, there are lifting devices you can utilize to take a lot of stress off of your body. They include lever bars, pivot pads, gait belts, and bathroom grab bars.
3. Use a Sliding Shower Bench
One of the most dangerous areas in the home is the bathroom because of its confined space and slip potential. Bathing can be particularly dangerous. As a caregiver, a sliding bench and grab bars will make it much safer for you and your loved one when you’re trying to get them in and out of the bathtub or shower to avoid injuries.
4. Wear Safe Shoes
Wet surfaces, like slippery tile floors in the bathroom, increase the likelihood of falls. Wear flat-sole or leather shoes with slip-resistant contact surfaces instead of raised or slightly heeled shoes. They’re also safer when you’re assisting a senior getting up and down the stairs.
5. Create Clear Walkways
A major cause of caregiver trips and falls every year is pathway obstructions. You can lower your risk by creating clear walkways throughout your loved one’s home. Remove electrical cords, ottomans, and anything else you or your senior could trip over.
6. Stay in Shape
Strengthening your core is one of the best ways to protect your back. It gives your spine more support and helps prevent back strains and sprains. Caregiving can be physically demanding, so keep your body in good shape by exercising regularly, eating healthy and nutritious foods, and getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night.
7. Let Your Body Heal
If you suffer an injury, give your body time to repair itself before resuming your caregiver duties completely. If you rush back, you’re asking for lingering trouble. Talk with your doctor if you’re unsure how long it will take for your injury to heal completely.
8. Hire a Respite Caregiver
When your body feels like it would benefit from a break, seek outside assistance. If there aren’t family members or close friends that can step in, consider hiring a professional caregiver who provides respite care services.
Respite Services From AmeriCare Plus in Virginia
When the time comes that you are ready to take a well-deserved break, or if you’re injured, a nurturing respite caregiver can step in and provide professional, compassionate care for your loved one.
AmeriCare Plus is a family-owned home care agency helping seniors age at home since 1968. Call us today, or fill out the contact form to get more information on our respite services and on how we can help. We’re available 24/7 to take your call and answer your questions.