Caregiving for a family member can be physically and mentally exhausting. One of the toughest tasks physically can be helping an elderly loved one out of bed.
Not only is it difficult, helping a senior out of bed can also be downright dangerous. The caregiver ends up doing a lot of physical labor, and runs a very high risk of sustaining sprained or strained muscles in their neck, shoulder or back.
An Easier, Safer Way to Help an Elderly Person Out of Bed
Learning proper techniques and body mechanics can take a lot of the hard work, and risk, out of transferring a loved one out of bed.
Step 1: Hook
By first moving into the hook position, it will be easier to move into other positions that may be needed, whether it’s getting up out of bed, or lifting up for a bedpan.
- Ask or help the senior to bring knees upward with feet flat against the mattress. Their hands should be palm-down on the bed.
Step 2: Log Roll
- Ask or help the senior to reach across their body towards the edge of the bed.
- Try to move the “nose, navel and knees” all at the same time as they roll to their side, facing the edge of the bed.
- Have them remain in this side-lying position for a few moments.
Step 3: Feet Down, Head Up
- From the side-lying position, ask or help the senior to move their feet forward off the edge of the bed. At the same time, have them push their upper body upward using their free hand on the mattress. The gravity that pulls the legs downward also helps leverage the upper body up.
- The caregiver can gently help the shoulder upward if needed, but it shouldn’t take a lot of effort.
Step 4: Sit on the Edge of the Bed
Let the senior sit on the edge of the bed for a few moments. Standing up too quickly can cause the blood pressure to drop, and they can become dizzy.
Caregivers: Protect your Health
Helping a senior in and out of bed is among the most dangerous maneuvers for family and professional caregivers alike. One of the reasons for this is doing it repetitively overuses the muscles in the back, neck and shoulders, putting them in danger for injuries.
Using proper lifting techniques make a big difference, and sharing the load with another caregiver can also help reduce the repetition.
Senior in-home care is a great resource for reducing the amount of time that family caregivers must assist their loved ones with transfers.
Home Care Can Help
Many seniors find that having home care come in once or twice a day for the major transfers in and out of bed can be a real life-saver (and back-saver)!
Having a home care aide come in to help their loved one get out of bed and ready for the day – and come back later to get into bed – also helps the caregiver preserve precious time and energy. It may give them a few moments to take care of their own health needs, or other obligations around the house.
Smart family caregivers also enlist companion care at home to tackle some other tasks around the house while they’re there. Running a load of dishes, taking out the trash or cleaning out the kitty box can make a big difference to their overall energy level at the end of the day.