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I will be accompanying 75 yo Dad on a trip to California for a week of sightseeing with a group tour. He will be in a wheelchair most of the time but can walk slowly to a bus or a cafe. I am a 49 yo daughter, in ok fitness, and will be pushing Dad in his wheelchair. I would like to get stronger so I can handle the physical tasks of lifting a 50-pound wheelchair out of a car or bus, and pushing a 230 pound elder parent safely and confidently. Any suggestions or weight-training tips would be greatly appreciated!
Amy

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I would recommend DDP Yoga. I started it and got stronger all over. I didn't stay with it and should, because I saw it really strengthened my core and upper arms which I really needed. I have to get back to it. The program costs about $100 but there are no equipment to buy so once you have it, you're good to go as far as you can.
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I agree with the suggestion of getting a "transport chair" or "companion chair" for such uses as this. I really struggled with getting a regular wheelchair in and out of a trunk, and found the lighter, more compact chair much easier.

We went on a few tours using a wheelchair. The bus tours were not a problem -- the driver took the chair out at each stop. Even if he hadn't done that, getting the chair out of the luggage area was easier than getting it out of a trunk.

The tour we took by flying to San Antonio was a little more challenging. We had more time on our own, and pushing a chair over cobblestone streets was not easy! We had a lovely time, but I was tired a lot!

Dad may need some assistance getting on or off the bus, but it won't take much strength for that. I suggest that you consider using the wheelchair even if Dad is able to walk from the bus to the cafe or viewing site. He'll enjoy the event more if he is rested and you never know how he is going to be going back. (I learned that the hard way.)

I think what you are doing is awesome. I hope you both have a wonderful time!
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If you are going on a tour, did you check to see if perhaps you could get help from the driver to get the chair on and off the bus? I went on a tour and the driver was a dream about helping with this. The thing I am concerned about is will your Dad be able to make it up and down the stairs to get in and out of the bus as those steps are a bit taller than regular stairs. Perhaps check to see if they have a chair lift.

I began using a stationary bike and worked my way up from 10 minutes a day to 1 hour (14 miles) a day. I also used weights for my arms. Walking on a treadmill now will help you as you walk around and I had this exercise device that had two handles, I stuck in under the chair to hold it and would sit out a ways and pull them and it seemed to help with my back and shoulders. Basically do everything you can think of, just don't go overboard and hurt yourself. I was trying to get in shape to take 54 kids back to Washington DC and up the East coast on a tour and each day began at 7 and ended at 11pm. One of the benefits of all the exercise was I lost a lot of weight and looked great while shuffling kids everywhere!

Have a wonderful trip! I am sure you will both remember this forever!
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I take the leg supports off the chair before I load it, then it's easier to balance, not so lopsided and a bit lighter.
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No matter how strong you are, if you push yourself past your limits your body will break down. Please be sure to get plenty of rest, eat well and carefully, and accept help when it is offered. If you need help and no one offers, then ask for it!
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I'm sure you're fit and mentally tough, so the only thing I can suggest is to work on your stamina. Get on the treadmill about 45 min./day to lessen the impact of actual running. As for lifting a 50 lb. wheelchair, ask the group for help. Don't expect them to volunteer with wheeling Dad around. At 53, I often look like a fit Spring chicken, but don't recover as easily. At 49 no doubt you look amazing, but if your endurance is poor it's not going to matter much how many pounds you can lift.
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Get a ChairGym which increases your upper body strength. I have one and just moved from an apt. to our house, and I had a lot of lifting to do. Lifting weights will help too as does overall exercise like walking, squats and leg lifts. Remember to lift from your upper thighs not with your back.
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Amyinwisconsin..God Bless you. I agree with Captainchrissie...he will never forget the kindness of your heart....As well, my brother never appreciated.

I also struggled with getting the wheel chair in and out of the car as well....something others (remote family members) don't see nor recognize as any value. But you know, you will strengthen your muscles and attitude in doing this. It will give you greater inner strength, emotionally and physically...and, you will figure it all out, as best you can. You will get the system down to a science...but may I suggest you get a lighter weight wheelchair. You'll find them.

Keep up the great work and attitude.
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I am also 49 , and help my dad .
My brothers are no where to be seen .your father will never forget the kindness of your heart , and neither will you
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I personally use an eliptical everyday for 20 mins to keep my legs strong. I also do hand weight, 8-10#'s 3 sets of ten. I push my mom around in her wheelchair while pulling the buggy while grocery shopping. We go everywhere and so far staying strong has helped me with that task. Blannie is correct and has a grest idea for a much lighter wheelchair. That may help alot. Have a great trip!
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Yes, while putting it in and out of the trunk, I'd also recommend opening it at the same time...for proficiency. I always struggle opening it and then figuring out how to work the mechanism. So, while you're gaining muscles and secondary habit of putting in and out of the trunk, you're also making it normal to open it up and adjust it accordingly.
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Wow, a 50 pound chair is pretty heavy! Do you have a companion chair? It has smaller wheels than a regular wheelchair, which means it can't be pushed by the person in the chair, but is easy to push for the caregiver and weighs between 21-31 pounds. They're easy to fold up and cost a little over $100. That's what I have for my mom and also used with my dad (for the past 12 years). I'm 63 and have no problems getting it in and out of the car pushing her around. My dad was more in your dad's weight range and after pushing him around for a while, I could feel it in my back. So in addition to the arm exercises, you need to strengthen your upper and lower back. If you go to a gym, try lat pulldowns and rows for your back, along with the back machine. If you don't go to the gym, google home exercises for upper and lower back and try some of those. I'd also be sure I had some Advil or Motrin with me and take it proactively the first couple of days. I hope you have a great trip. I have taken both of my folks on some outings that have been so gratifying for both of us. Let us know how it goes!
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I would also practice putting the wheelchair in your car trunk and then taking it out again. Do this as you would weight lifting. Start out doing it 5 times in a row: Put the wheelchair in the car, take the wheelchair out of the car, etc. Then slowly increase the amount of times you load and unload the wheelchair.
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well i am pleased to hear you are taking your dad on this tried i am a licensed caregiver i wpuld tell you lift 10lb weights with arms 3xs a day and do leg bends to strenthen your upper thighs remember when lifting bend KNEES or you will get hurt
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Wow! That's great. I don't have any tips, but hope you get some. That's a big, unselfish undertaking. Good luck.
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