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Avoiding Back Injury When Caring for A Senior 

PSW helping a senior to stand

If you are a Personal Support Worker you likely provide personal care services.  Repositioning, transferring, and assisting seniors with activities such as bathing, dressing and toileting involve supporting the partial weight of another person, which increases your risk of sustaining a back injury. Here are some tips you can use to protect yourself while handling clients, or performing any other activity that requires lifting, pushing, pulling or bending:

  • Create stability by standing with your feet flat on the floor and shoulder width apart
  • Lift with your legs – bend your knees and let your legs help lift the weight
  • Keep the weight you are lifting close to your body, with your elbows bent
  • Do not twist while you are supporting any weight – move with your feet
  • Perform back exercises and stretches, such as this “Cat-Cow Variation” exercise

Cow Pose: On hands and knees, inhale and lift head while making your back concave

Cat Pose:  Exhale, tuck tailbone, contract abs, and round your back, putting your head down

Child’s Pose:  Draw hips back to heels, drop chest, round your spine, and rest your forehead on the floor, arms in front of you.

Do 6 reps of the whole cycle, and rest in Child’s Pose for several breaths

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