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Is Your Aging Relative Using Their Wheelchair Safely?

senior woman and caregiver smiling

It seems like using a wheelchair should be simple, doesn’t it? Is there really much more to it than your aging relative sitting in it while a caregiver pushes them? It turns out that there’s a lot more to it than that. There are things caregivers and the senior may be doing with the wheelchair that could cause injuries. Knowing some safety tips to follow can help caregivers and older adults to avoid being hurt while using a wheelchair. Here are some tips that may help.

Keep the Chair Well Maintained

Like any other mechanical device, a wheelchair needs periodic maintenance to stay in good working order. Check the wheels frequently. Look for a loose wheel or a tire that is flat. Also, make sure none of the spokes are broken. Watch for wear and tear on the seat and back of the chair. If they rip while your aging relative is in the chair, it could cause them to fall and get hurt. Replace or repair worn or broken parts promptly.

Keep the Battery Charged

If the older adult uses a powered chair, make sure that the battery is kept charged. If it is not, the senior may find themselves stranded somewhere. A caregiver should charge the battery each night while the older adult is in bed and check the battery level throughout the day.

Use the Brakes

Make sure the chair’s brakes are engaged before transferring the older adult in or out of the chair. If the chair is powered, turn it off during a transfer to prevent the controller from being hit and causing the chair to move.

Go Over Bumps Backward

If you find yourself at a curb or a threshold with a larger than usual bump, turn the chair around and take the older adult through the doorway or over the curb backward. This prevents them from falling forward out of the chair as it tilts or hits the bump and makes it easier to move the chair.

Put Footrests Up Before Getting Out

If your aging relative is able to stand on their own, remind them to never get out of the chair with the footrests down. They could trip on them.

Keep Blankets and Bags Clear of Wheels

Many older adults use lap blankets to keep their legs warm while they are in a wheelchair. They may also carry a purse or other bag with them. Make sure the blanket and straps of the bag do not come in contact with the wheels. They could get caught and cause the chair to abruptly stop.

If you or an aging loved-one are considering in-home elder care in Birmingham, AL, please contact the caring staff at 205-490-1079. We service Birmingham, Vestavia Hills, Hoover, Pelham, Pinson, McCalla, Trussville, Adamsville, Chelsea, Mountain Brook, and Homewood.

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