Being mobile in such a fast-paced world can be a very difficult task when you are held back because of certain physical limitations. Being a caregiver to someone who has mobility issues presents a unique set of challenges, but it’s nothing that you can’t overcome with guidance from health care professionals.
Elizz offers the following tips for dealing with mobility problems.
Communicate your intentions
Before transferring an elderly person or someone with physical limitations, you are responsible, as the caregiver, for knowing the objective and the plan of what you are looking to do. It’s always best to communicate with the person in your care about what you need them to do, and how you will help them.
i.e. “Hey dad, I would like to help you sit up now.”
If the person in your care seems to be resisting being moved, try to postpone the task (if possible) until a better time. This shows respect and maturity between you and the one that you care for. It also gives the person in your care a sense of control over what happens to them.
When preparing to transfer or move someone:
- Always spread your feet shoulder-width apart
- Bend your knees
- Use your leg muscles to lower your body
- Try to keep your shoulders and neck muscles relaxed
Whether you are trying to transfer someone or move someone in your care, before assisting a person with mobility issues make sure they are as close to your body as possible. This creates more stability for you, the caregiver, as well as give the person you’re transferring confidence to trust you.
When assisting others remember the following:
- Keep your stomach muscles tight,
- Use your stomach and leg muscles to transfer and move.
- Bend from the hips and knees (This will keep the natural curve in your low back).
- Do not bend from the low back.
Be prepared for unexpected movements. Any transferring or moving should be done slowly, step-by-step.
It’s important to make sure to pause during each step. This is the perfect time to ensure that you and the person with mobility issues are in a safe, stable position before proceeding.
Try to avoid twisting your body. As this can create difficulties for the person you are caring for. Always move your feet with your whole body when turning or pivoting, and re-position to maintain stability.
Get help if you feel you need it
When assisting with mobility, if you cannot transfer or move someone without hurting yourself, get help!
It’s always important to not take on more than you can handle – it’s good to ask for help as opposed to doing something you feel may go wrong and risk injuring yourself or the person in your care.
Whether assisting patients, older adults, or anyone else with mobility issues, always be aware of your own safety as well as theirs.