Dementia can cripple a person’s ability to move around. As the disease progresses, you will likely need to help with lifting and moving your loved one out of the bed, chairs, and the shower. Your doctor, nurse or social worker can advise you on obtaining a transfer belt to help with movement. Purchasing a back support for yourself is also a good idea.
How To Lift Your Loved One Safely
Moving people in and of bed can be especially challenging. The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving recommends the following steps to get your loved out of bed:
- If you have a hospital bed, raise the head of the bed. The movement from lying to upright will be shorter. Then, put the transfer belt on your loved one.
- Ease your loved one around to face the edge of the bed. Put their arms into an X on the chest. Bend the knees with his or her feet flat on the bed so the legs look like an upside down V.
- Put your arms under the calves, then lift and pull your loved one toward you at least a couple of inches. With the stronger leg still in an upside down V, slide your hands beneath the middle of the back.
- Using the transfer belt, lift and pull your loved one to you. At this point, you may want to let your loved one rest.
- Put your hands under your loved one’s calves. Then, swing their legs over the side of the bed towards the floor. Put one hand under the transfer belt and your near hand under your loved one’s shoulder blades.
- Lift and move them ¼ turn at a time until both legs are on the side of the bed and your loved one is sitting up.
[The steps that follow also work to lift your loved one out of a chair.]
- Stand with your feet 10-12 inches apart. Put one foot ahead of the other. Bend your knees and put more weight on your front foot. Wrap your hands around your loved one’s body with your hands on the transfer belt.
- To stand up, use your hip and leg muscles to straighten your knees. As you stand, keep your upper body straight and pull your loved one up by the transfer belt. Curve your back inward. Keep your pelvis tilted forward.
- With one hand on the transfer belt, carry your loved one close to your body near your waist.
- When turning, take a ¼ turn at a time in the direction you want to go. Don’t twist your back.
Remember, safe and slow is the best way to go when lifting and moving your loved one out of bed. If you need any other support, please contact us. We are happy to help or point you in the direction of other local resources.