June 6, 2024

A female caregiver practices safe strategies for lifting and transferring seniors while helping an elderly female client out of bed.

These safe strategies for lifting and transferring seniors can help caregivers avoid injury to themselves and the seniors in their care.

When you’re responsible for caring for an older family member at home, you may find yourself in situations where you need to help them with getting up and out of bed, transferring between the bed and a chair or wheelchair, or moving around the home. Handling these tasks improperly can pose a significant risk of injury, both to you and the person you love. These injuries commonly occur when caregivers:

  • Fail to pay attention to their own physical limitations and the strain these tasks cause.
  • Have not been trained in safe methods for lifting and transferring seniors.
  • Lack the necessary physical conditioning and preparation for the demands of moving and lifting someone.
  • Choose to tackle these tasks on their own, without help or support.

Since back injuries are especially prevalent among caregivers as a result of incorrect techniques for lifting and transferring seniors, it’s crucial to adopt and adhere to proper lifting protocols. By understanding and implementing a few important guidelines, you can greatly reduce the risk of injuring yourself or your family member:

  • Only attempt to lift as much weight as you can handle comfortably, without straining.
  • Encourage the person to be as involved as possible in their own movement during lifts and transfers. If they are unable to assist, you may need to seek additional training or specialized equipment for safe transfers.
  • Modify your approach to align with the person’s abilities, ensuring they are comfortable and not in pain throughout the process.
  • Avoid any sudden or jerky movements that may startle or injure either of you.
  • Never pull on the person’s arms or shoulders. This can cause serious harm.
  • Make sure that the person wears shoes or slippers with sturdy, non-slip soles to prevent slips and falls.
  • Position yourself with a strong base of support: stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with one foot slightly ahead of the other, to maintain balance and leverage.
  • Always lift using the strength of your legs and not your back to avoid strain.
  • Prevent the person from placing their arms around your neck or holding onto you for stability. If they feel insecure, ask them to clasp their hands close to their chest.
  • Maintain deep, regular breathing and keep your shoulders relaxed to reduce tension while lifting.

The safest and best way to prevent injuries and ensure a smooth transfer is to bring in the help of another person. This will not only help distribute the physical effort but also increase the safety and comfort of the person being lifted or transferred.

Continuum, serving St. Louis, Kirkwood, Clayton, and the surrounding areas, offers fully trained caregivers who are skilled in safe lifting and transferring techniques. We realize the importance of maintaining the safety of both the caregiver and older adult.

We would love to provide you with a free care consultation and home safety evaluation for someone you love who may need additional help around the home. During this consultation, we can assess the home environment and offer suggestions to improve safety and accessibility.

To find out more about our in-home care services and how we can help someone you love, please call us at (314) 863-9912 or (636) 861-3336. We are dedicated to providing the support and resources you need to care for an older loved one safely and effectively.