Most elderly individuals are able to do some of the transfer work from a wheelchair on their own. When you help an individual into or out of a wheelchair, ask the individual to help with the transfer as much as possible. Be patient and allow the individual as much time as needed to do their part of the transfer.
If the person you are transferring is lightweight and petite, you may be tempted to do more of the lifting yourself. But it’s important to allow the person being transferred to do as much as possible. This allows the individual to retain their sense of independence and saves your back in the process.
Ask a physical therapist to show you how to maintain proper body posture when assisting with transfers. Transferring from a wheelchair to a bath bench may require a different technique than transferring from a wheelchair to a car seat.
In some cases, a two-person transfer is safer. Do not attempt to assist with a wheelchair transfer by yourself if two people are needed. An unsafe transfer puts yourself and the individual you are helping at risk for injury.
Always communicate clearly with the person you are transferring. Let them know what you are going to do before you do it, and tell them again what you are doing as you do it. If they have a difficult time hearing, communicate your intentions through gestures and body language. Always show respect for the individual’s feelings, body, and dignity.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three adults over the age of 65 will fall each year. And the consequences can be fatal: falls are the leading cause of injury death for the elderly. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of falls by improving the safety of their environment and making sure they have adequate mobility support.
What can you do to prevent a fall? Let’s look at 4 ways to stay on your feet:
If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it! Maintaining physical strength, flexibility, and balance are important for preventing falls. If you don’t continue to exercise and use the muscles that you have, they will become weaker.
Poor vision (or not wearing glasses prescribed by a doctor) makes it difficult to see potential tripping hazards. Get your vision checked regularly, and wear glasses if needed.
Recovery from surgery, illness, and injury takes time. Don’t do more than your doctor or physical therapist recommends. Give your body time to heal, and use a mobility aid (such as a cane, walker, rollator, or wheelchair) to prevent re-injury. Bathroom safety products, such as a shower chair and grab bars, are also helpful.
Do you have loose rugs, poor lighting, or clutter on the floor? Taking simple steps to improve the safety of your home is key to preventing falls in the home.
Erin Gilmer has experienced caregiving in several roles: to her mother who is disabled, to cancer patients for a volunteer organization, and as a patient advocate. She offers her advice for coping with the stresses of caregiving below:
I find support for my caregiving by reaching out to others, whether it’s the nurses at the oncology center, the volunteer organization, colleagues in patient advocacy, or friends. I find that it is helpful to have a wide base of support. If you are leaning on only one person or organization for assistance, that person or organization may run out of energy to help.
What brings me joy in caregiving is seeing the hope of those who are cared for.
The biggest obstacles I find are time and energy. I wish I had all the time in the world to sit next to my mother when she’s in the hospital. I wish I could visit at the oncology center every day. But I have to return to my responsibilities. As for energy, balancing my life and caregiving takes quite a lot of effort. More so, when advocating for someone – whether that means coordinating care or talking to doctors, or finding treatments, or accessing care. That is really the hardest part for me. I love my mother, the friends I’ve met through volunteering, and the people I help as an advocate. But fighting for them can be difficult in our health care system.
Take care of yourself first. Sleep when the other person sleeps. Eat regularly. Exercise regularly. Find a wide base of support.
Need help setting up your transport wheelchair? Watch the video to see how easy it is to set up and fold a lightweight transport chair.
Roll Mobility’s transport wheelchairs come fully assembled and ready to use, with the leg riggings packed separately in the box. Our transport chairs are available in red or blue with an 18 inch seat width.
After you remove the transport chair from the box, take a few minutes to read the instruction manual included with this product. Then you can begin the process of setting up your wheelchair by following the instructions in the manual.
To unfold the wheelchair, tilt the chair to one side and push down on one or both seat rails until the wheelchair is fully opened. Then lift the backrest until it locks into place. Remember to keep your hands and fingers clear of any moving parts.
To install the swingaway, removable riggings, turn the rigging to the outside of the frame and join the hinge plates on the rigging to the hinge pins on the side frame assembly. Then swing the rigging to the front of the wheelchair to lock it in place. The footplate should be located on the inside of the wheelchair. Repeat with the opposite rigging.
To adjust the height of the riggings for the Roll Mobility aluminum transport wheelchair, first loosen the bolt at the bottom until the footplate moves freely. Slide the footplate assembly up or down to the desired height. Then re-tighten the bolt to secure the footplate assembly in place. Do the same for the opposite rigging, making sure the riggings are set at the same height.
To adjust the height of the riggings for the Roll Mobility steel transport wheelchair, first open the cam lock lever, then push in the release buttons and slide the footplate assembly up or down to the desired height. Make sure both release buttons pop all the way out of the new adjustment holes. Then lock the cam lever to secure it in place. Repeat for the opposite rigging. Count the number of holes from the top of each rigging to the release buttons to make sure the riggings are set at the same height.
To remove the leg riggings, push the release lever and swing the rigging to the outside. Lift the leg assembly off the hinge pins. Then repeat for the opposite rigging.
The last thing you need to know is how to fold the transport wheelchair. First, press the release levers on either side of the backrest and lower the backrest all the way down. Lift the footplates into the vertical position. Then grab the front and back of the seat and lift up. Now your transport chair is ready for transport or storage.