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The Fearless Cregiver

Gary Barg - Editor-in-Chief, Today's Caregiver Magazine

Home, Safe Home


For so many family caregivers, our own good health and mobility are the difference between our loved ones’ well-being and decline.

When we become family caregivers, what was once our most comforting shelter, the family home, can too easily become a house of horrors with obstacles suddenly appearing out of previously safe and benign settings. The stairway becomes an impassible barrier when faced with trying to get our loved ones in and out of the house or upstairs. The bathroom creates many treacherous opportunities for slips and falls; and the lifting, turning and pulling we have to do to get our loved ones in and out of bed are fraught with the danger of developing our own back injuries.

We need to look at our homes in a vastly different manner when caring for a loved one. Upon analysis of any increased potential for back injuries, we need to find solutions which could keep us injury free and our homes safe. Thankfully, there are now adaptive devices and lifting solutions that our parents never had when they cared for their loved ones. 

In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):

 “One of the major issues in nursing homes is the frequent heavy lifting and repositioning of residents that exceed the lifting capacity of most caregivers. Numerous studies have shown that training caregivers how to use proper body mechanics to lift residents is not an effective prevention measure because lifting the weight of adult patients is intrinsically unsafe…When lifting or repositioning a resident in bed, the bed generally prevents the caregiver from bending his/her knees to assume the proper posture for lifting. The forward bending required for many patients’ lifting and moving activities places the caregiver’s spine in its most vulnerable position…These conditions contributed to the 211,000 occupational injuries suffered by caregivers in 2003…."

In a nutshell, even trained care professionals are being advised that lifting without any assistance or assistive devices is a potentially dangerous task and should be avoided. Back injury due to improper lifting is one thing that family and professional caregivers share, and one that we hope to see disappear for both groups of loving and caring individuals.   



  Turn to Turning Aid
Gary Barg
Today's Caregiver magazine
Friday June 3, 2010
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