an old woman and her carerMore than 10% of Australia’s population are personal assistants for family or friends who are elderly or disabled. Many of them strain their joints and neglect their own health in the commission of their duties.

Carers or personal assistants are Australia’s unsung heroes. The majority caring for family members must give up work to do so. As many are providing care on an informal basis, they are not trained on how to lift someone or help them transfer from a bed to a chair.

Injuries Acquired by Carers

Consequently, 43% of carers have reported that they have received injuries while helping someone. The most common injuries are back strain, but cardiovascular issues and deterioration in mental health also occur too frequently.

The emotional and physical strain of assisting puts carers in poorer physical health than others. They are much more likely to develop a new illness or chronic condition after taking on a caring role than before. That is why support is so important.

Assistive Equipment

Assistive equipment is available to help carers prevent back injuries and strain.

Stair Lifts – Stair lifts open up access to the whole house. They can also be used to transport laundry and other items upstairs without having to carry them.

Lifting Hoists – A lifting hoist for elderly and disabled people can be used to get them in and out of bed without back injury.

Bath Lifts – Bath lifts allow the bather to get in the tub without climbing over the side or having to be lifted over. They are also useful for people with arthritis as they keep them in a sitting position which is more comfortable for the joints.

Power Wheelchairs – Electric wheelchairs allow the user to manoeuvre themselves quickly just by pushing a joystick. This removes the need to push the person around – a back-breaking task.

Carers who look after elderly or disabled family members need to look after themselves too. Mobility aids can help them avoid illness and injury.