MYTH: People who become caregivers are
already experts in how to attend to the personal care needs of a loved
While much good care may be given instinctively
and with common sense, personal care skills are based in theory and principles
and may be learned at any age. Lifting, transferring, bathing, toileting,
feeding, and grooming techniques and skills are included in the following
of the adults who need care will be unable to move from one place to another
independently. The physical limitations of their conditions are
caused by lack of voluntary control over muscles, difficulty in maintaining
equilibrium, or poor body righting abilities.
Physical limitations can be particularly difficult for individuals with
some sort of brain damage, such as individuals who have had a stroke.
A person who has had central nervous system damage may have abnormal posture,
weakness on one side, or poor reflexes. These individuals may need assistance
in positioning, transferring, and movement. Proper handling and positioning
techniques are important in order to maximize the person's comfort and
ability to function on a day-to-day basis.
Safety factors for both the physically limited individual and you, the
caregiver, should be known and followed as much as possible. More
serious injuries occur to individuals and health care providers while moving
a person from one surface to another than during any other aspect of health
care. Much of this injury occurs because of improper procedures being used
while lifting heavy persons and objects. Sometimes, in an effort to get
work done more quickly, a person will lift too much or will use poor body
mechanics while lifting.
Guidelines are provided within this topic to help you avoid unnecessary
injury to yourself or to the person you are assisting. Please
remember that many fine ways have been developed by individuals to give
good personal care to older adults. Many ways work well. The guidelines
in the topics below are suggestions which can help. However, when you are
giving personal care, try to get instructions from a professional such
as a nurse, who can tailor suggestions to meet your unique situation.
For additional information, please check
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