Being a family caregiver often involves strenuous physical activity, such as lifting and twisting, which can raise the risk of sprains, strains, and other types of injuries. Fortunately, there are ways for caregivers to avoid injuring themselves when caring for their senior loved ones. Here are some tips for preventing caregiving-related injuries so you can continue to provide your parent with excellent care.
Use Proper Body Mechanics
If you have to stoop, bend down, or reach, it’s essential to focus on using proper body mechanics so you don’t accidentally strain your muscles. Instead of bending at the waist, bend at your hips and knees. This will help you maintain your balance and correct body alignment so you’ll be less likely to sustain an injury to the muscles in your back, neck, or legs. In addition, if you keep your back, neck, feet, and pelvis aligned when you turn or twist, you’ll lessen your risk of injuries in these areas.
Gently stretching your muscles before you start your caregiving duties can lower your risk of injury by helping your muscles be more resilient to stress, awkward movements, and heavy lifting. You don’t have to stretch for a long time to protect your muscles against injuries. Just a few minutes of stretching are all that’s necessary to prepare for your caregiving responsibilities.
If you’re the primary family caregiver for a senior loved one living in Roseville, live-in care is available if your loved one’s health has become too difficult to manage without professional expertise. At Home Care Assistance, we take measures to help seniors prevent illness and injury by assisting with exercise and mobility, preparing nutritious meals, helping with bathing and other personal hygiene tasks, and much more.
Focus on Nutrition
If you’re under a lot of stress or you don’t make sure to eat a healthy diet, you could develop a nutritional deficiency, which could increase your risk of injury. If you have difficulty getting proper nutrition from meals alone, consider taking vitamins and mineral supplements, especially magnesium, vitamin D, and potassium, to keep your immune system, bones, muscles, and joints healthy so you’ll be more resistant to injuries.
Coldwater fish such as salmon contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which support optimal muscle and bone health and possess powerful anti-inflammatory properties. If you do get injured while caring for your parent, omega-3 fatty acids can also be helpful in minimizing your pain levels. If you don’t like to eat fish, consider taking a fish oil supplement. Check with your doctor first if you take aspirin or prescription anticoagulants, since fish oil can increase the risk of abnormal bleeding if it’s taken with medications that thin the blood.
It’s important for caregivers to look out for their health, too. Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted at-home care provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Home Care Assistance is here to help.
Use a Back Brace
Back injuries are one of the most common types of injuries among caregivers. If you frequently lift and turn your loved one, consider wearing a back brace. When used in conjunction with proper body mechanics, a back brace can significantly reduce your risk of injuring your back when you’re turning or lifting your loved one.
Caring for a loved one can take a physical toll on even the strongest caregivers, so it’s important to practice preventive measures to keep yourself as healthy as possible. You may also want to consider seeking the help of a professional caregiver. The type of home care service Roseville, CA, seniors need can vary. Some need assistance a few hours a day, while others require more extensive around-the-clock assistance. At Home Care Assistance, we tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual care needs, and the plans can be adjusted at any time. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (916) 226-3737.