I transfer my mother from her bed to a wheelchair several times a day and my back and legs are starting to hurt. How can I take care of my body in order to be able to care for my mother’s body?


I transfer Mom from bed to wheelchair several times a day and have for two years. My back and legs hurt now so I can barely walk. The physical pain is it taking over my life, but you don't mention the physical pain. Do you have any information on the problem of pain? I have no family to help and only 6 hours of personal care with the county. Thanks, Rachel

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My husband's doctor certified that we needed a patient lift in our home for transfers. Medicare paid (and dearly!) for the rental of a lift for 13 months, then it was ours to keep. Also, the caregiver in the home does not have to become also disabled in the effort to care for the patient. If the patient has a recognized need for therapy or skilled nursing, they can also provide an aide. I should think some Home Health Therapy (OT) may be able to help with some alternate methods or DME (durable medical equipment) to help with toileting or transfering. You may be able to pick someone's brain if you can contact someone willing to help you brainstorm about your specific situation at home. I spent hours just calling for information and help with our situation, and would receive a glimmer here, a gem there, and am still learning how to "tiptoe through the tulips" of healthcare.
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Hello again, I wish I could help more. Still, based on my mother's advice, I would certainly recommend yoga, but the gentle type of yoga, not this new "power" yoga (it goes under several names and is bad for the joints!)

Is there a local class maybe? Or even find a good CD or book. It can really help.
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thanks for your good response and suggestions. I thought what would be helpful too is if I could see what other people do about pain and physical exhaustion. Surely I'm not the only one who experiences intense pain as a primary caregiver? Can you recommend any material on this subject? I have all the help I'm ever going to get, and I was taught at Queen's Hosp. Rehab how to do a proper transfer. It's just that it's too hard too often to lift her and my back and leg joints continue to suffer. thanks for the kind help. Rachel
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OK, your poor back! This is a problems for nurses too, just as going deaf is a problem for teachers. Anyway, people will tell you:
1. Get a hoist. From the county if at all possible (I don't know what they are expected to provide) There are hoists which can be used by a single person. They may take more time, but according to some people they work.
2. Go on a manual handling course. If you haven't already. Good ideas and strategies.
3. Consider using the person's clothing to move them rather than holding on to the person (maybe not official advice, but it helps my mother)
4. Make sure that the person is in a helpful as possible mood/ability stage when you try and move them. Otherwise, you have an uphill struggle. If your mother does vary in her ability to help, explain that you may have to leave her for half an hour or so until she can help. It will do neither of you any good if you wreck yourself.
5. Use pads for a cut-off point in the evening if many of the moves are because of the commode. Exaplain that after 8 pm, say, she will have to use her pad as your back needs to rest (see above).

They may also tell you to make sure to start the day with gentle stretches/gentle yoga (very helpful, stops the muscles knotting and causing more problems)

Otherwise, very best wishes and hope you can find a way round this. I am sure there will be more helpful suggestions.
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