Although we’re all familiar with wheelchairs and see them often, until someone we care about is confined to a wheelchair, we may have no experience in using them. Seniors and caregivers who are unfamiliar with wheelchair use and some safety rules for them may accidentally cause injuries. If you’re new to wheelchair use, perhaps you could use some pointers.
Below are 5 don’ts of wheelchair use.
#1 Don’t Neglect Wheelchair Maintenance
Keeping a wheelchair in good safe will not only make it last longer, it can also prevent injuries. At least once per year, have an overall maintenance check conducted on the wheelchair. In between, watch for wear and tear on tires and loose or damaged parts. If you notice the casters fluttering when the chair is moving at higher speeds, have them replaced as soon as possible. If the wheelchair is motorized, be sure to keep the battery charged to avoid the senior getting stranded somewhere.
#2 Don’t Forget to Lock the Brakes Before Transferring
Be sure to lock the brakes on a manual wheelchair or turn off a motorized wheelchair before transferring the senior in or out of it. This could prevent injury to both the older adult and their caregiver caused by the chair moving as the caregiver is lifting.
#3 Don’t Allow Balance Problems to Cause Falls
A wheelchair can become unbalanced if heavy bags are hung on the back of the chair, making it tip backward. The senior leaning too far to one side or forward can cause the chair to tip. This often happens when the older adult is trying to pick something up. To prevent this, caregivers should provide the older adult with a grabber to lengthen their reach or ask the senior to let them know something has dropped instead of trying to pick it up on their own. Also, don’t remove the bars and anti-tip wheels from the wheelchair as they are there to keep the user safe.
#4 Don’t Allow Items to Drag
Make sure blankets or clothing items are clear of wheels before moving. They may get tangled in the wheel spokes and cause a fall.
#5 Don’t Forget to Check Arm and Foot Rests
If the wheelchair has removable arms and footrests, be sure to check them before transferring the older adult to the chair. Try lifting the arms to make sure they are securely in place. Also, swing the footrests from side to side. Also, before transferring a person out of a wheelchair, make sure that arm and foot rests are in the proper position.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Caregiver Services in Concord NC, please contact the caring staff at TenderHearted Home Care today. (704) 612-4132.
I have enjoyed volunteering my time as the President of the Rowan County Home School Association, assisting with the Parkinson’s Support Group, Walk to End Alzheimer’s, Pregnancy Support Center, MOPS International, Capstone Recovery Center, Kairos Outside, Celebrate Recovery, various church committees and going on a mission trip to Moldova. I am a member of the Rowan County Council on Aging, Meals on Wheels board member, REACH of Rowan County, HIPSS of Davidson County, Second Tuesday Business Group and several Christian Business Life Groups.
I am passionate about serving others and providing the most compassionate care possible, as I would want for my own family. I love relaxing with my husband, Peter, and my two dogs, Yoyo and Terra Cotta.
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