As a caregiver, if you have to help an elderly person stand, your own personal safety is just as important as theirs. It may be tempting for the care giver to attempt to take on the patient’s full weight without taking proper precautions. Poor transfer techniques can lead to back injuries and an increased risk for accidents. A fall can injure both the elderly person in need of assistance and the helper.
Helping an Elderly Person Stand
To help an elderly person stand, make sure you practice proper transfer techniques. Align the center of gravity, lift from the waist of the individual instead of the arms or legs. Try to encourage the person who is being lifted to contribute to the process as much as they possibly can. This will make the standing up process easier and safer for all.
Medical professionals and caregivers can provide detailed instruction on how to best assist an adult in standing up from a sitting position without increasing your risk of injuring yourself. In any case where you need to lift or move a person or patient, using the proper transfer technique and following medical guidelines is key to preventing complications, falls, and injuries to both of you. Even a frail looking person can weigh upwards of 110 pounds (50 kg). And, for most people, that can be a lot of weight if not maneuvered correctly.
When making a transfer out of a soft, sunk-in surface, please be extra cautious. These surfaces are more likely to cause additional difficulties to the transfer process as compared to solid chairs. Making sure that you have a safe base for transfer, such as a solid-armed chair or raised toilet seat, is the first step to performing a safe, successful sit-to-stand transfer. If you or your loved one requires frequent assistance to help raise themselves from a sitting position, consider investing in a lift chair recliner for your living room. Most soft surfaces can be quite difficult to raise from without additional assistance. And this can increase the risk of injury to both, the patient and the caregiver.
When assisting with a transfer, you should never pull or lift the individual’s arms or legs. This can cause damage to both you and the individual you are helping. Instead, a good transfer technique requires you to lift from the waist area. This is the most solid part of the human body and acts as a center for the bulk of a person’s weight. Lift belts can assist with this kind of transfer by providing a surface that you can hold onto while aiding with the upwards movement.
Here are some easy and helpful tips to help make sure that you do not injure yourself or your loved one while participating in a transfer from one location to another. While helping an individual who is heavier than you stand up from a sitting position can be a challenge, following these easy tips can help make sure that the transfer process go more smoothly and easily.
Help a Heavier Elderly Person Stand
When helping a heavier elderly person stand, you need to take a few extra precautions for your and their safety. Make sure that the person is on a stable surface that is locked into place. There should be no possibility of moving suddenly or rolling. This can help prevent injuries during the transfer process. It may be prudent to have a secondary caregiver to help when transferring someone who weighs considerably more than you.
For someone who weighs more than you, make sure to communicate your intentions with them clearly before hand. This help make sure things go as smooth as possible during the transfer. Have the individual move their legs so they are positioned under the bulk of their body. This can act as a lever to help assist in the upwards movement needed to stand. It can take some of the stress off of the assistant in the case of an uneven transfer process. Much like a regular transfer assist, lifting near the waist area is the safest.
If you find yourself physically unable to assist an individual in transferring from one location to another, or are concerned about causing damage to yourself or the individual, call medical services to get advice. It may be a good idea to get additional assistance in the form of more people to move the individual. For some people, transfer is impossible without the assistance of a medical lift or trained medical professionals. In all cases, it is important to make sure that you and your loved one avoid injury by following the advice of medical professionals at all times.
Even while following medical transfer guidelines for people with limited mobility, accidents can still happen. While no one wants to think about the worst-case scenario, in the case of a fall, quick and smart action must be taken to prevent greater damage. Here are some steps to follow in the case of a fall, and what you can do to help someone who has fallen and requires assistance to stand again.
What to Do in Case of a Fall?
Before continuing with any of our other tips, if you believe that the individual who has fallen has been injured in any way, such as serious bruising, broken bones, or unconsciousness, call 9-1-1 immediately to get the help and advice of medical professionals. If you are unsure if the individual has been injured, it is wise to call emergency services to make sure that there are no serious injuries. Sometimes some of these injuries can be internal and may not be immediately obvious. Once you are sure that the person who has fallen is not in immediate danger, you should follow these suggestions to help them return to a standing or sitting position.
If you are assisting an individual with a transfer and they begin to fall, do not attempt to catch the brunt of the fall. This can cause serious injuries to you and the individual who is falling. Instead, focus on minimizing possible damage as they fall by protecting the head and neck of the individual who is being moved. This can help prevent more serious injuries on the way down.
The amount of assistance that can be provided to the person who has fallen largely depends on their mobility after the fall. It is physically demanding for any caregiver, regardless of fitness level and personal strength, to lift a full-grown adult from a prone position on the floor. If not done properly, this movement carries risk of serious injury to both the caregiver and the patient. Before taking any action, talk to the person who has fallen to see if they believe they are able to move themselves. If the answer is no, medical professionals should be called immediately to assist in the process.
If the individual can move themselves, bring two chairs or other sturdy sitting surfaces close to them if possible. Assist the fallen individual with rolling over onto their knees by acting as a stability fall-back. You should not be pushing or pulling the fallen person in any way, shape, or form during this process. In the case of past knee injuries or sensitivity, lay down a towel or coat for them to kneel on to help provide some cushion during a stressful situation. Remember, you are not there to do any forceful lifting, merely to guide and assist with the process as needed.
A chair should be placed in front of the individual at eye level so that they can place both of their hands on the seat of the chair. A secondary chair should be placed behind them for them to move towards as they lift themselves up. While you may assist them by keeping them steady as they move, make sure that you are not bending or twisting your back during this process, as it can cause damage to you as well as your loved one.
Here is a YouTube video demonstrating how to help an elderly person stand:
Once the individual with mobility issues is safely seated in their chair, make sure to give them ample time to rest before attempting to return to a standing position. If they are safely in the chair, and there is no chance of a secondary fall, it is advisable to keep them in the chair for some time to allow the fright from the fall to wear off.
When it is time to assist with the transfer from sitting to standing, first ask yourself if you you are physically able to aid in the process. If yes, follow the above tips for a general transfer in order to return the elderly individual to a standing position safely and calmly. Please always err on the side of caution. As with any accident or emergency situation, it is always best to first contact medical professionals to ensure that there are no further injuries or complications to the fallen individual or the transfer assistant.
Trying to help an elderly person stand from a sitting position can seem daunting. Following the transfer steps above closely and carefully can make assisting an individual in transferring from one location to another much easier. Making sure to not rush the process, and follow these guidelines carefully, can help ensure a safe, smooth transfer from one location to another for any individual, and can help you safely care for your loved ones.