According to the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), each day children and adults with muscular dystrophy (MD) lose the freedom “to walk, to talk, to run and play. To laugh, to hug. To eat. To breathe.” Every year in September, people all around the United States join together to fight this disease by raising awareness for a cure and quality care. To join the fight, Next Day Access has three tips for managing a safe environment as a caregiver for someone with MD.
“Share the Care” Circles
MDA recommends a unique method for family caregiving: share the care. This involves asking a trusted group of core people to take on caregiving responsibilities. This could be a prayer group at church, extended family, co-workers, neighbors or long-term friends. This might mean that a few individuals help with laundry, shopping, childcare, etc. and maybe even extends to utilizing specialists like attorneys and accountants. Gradually, your family will be surrounded by a caring support system that is eager to carry some of the burdens that usually fall on a primary caregiver.
Traditional homes are not designed with accessibility in mind, and odds are you moved into your home before your loved one received a diagnosis. That means that areas of the house like staircases and bathrooms will gradually become bigger obstacles for someone with MD. Plan ahead, and make home modifications that will allow for easy and safe access around the house before they’re needed. One modification we recommend for caregivers is the ceiling lift. This assists a caregiver in moving someone from a bed to a wheelchair or into the bathroom. With assistance from technology, the caregiver and loved one are less likely to get injured during a transfer.
Exercises for Caregivers
You need exercise, too. The regular heavy lifting you do as a caregiver is hard on the back, neck and shoulders. Plan daily exercises at the gym or go for a walk to maintain the physical stamina and health required of you. As you work your muscles, you will also relieve stress through physical activity. Try to stretch your lower back, shoulders and neck as well as strengthen your legs, hips and back to prevent injury. With all the attention you give your loved one with MD, don’t forget to show yourself some love with a few short exercises a day.
We admire the physical, mental and emotional capacity required of you as a primary caregiver, and we hope these easy tips help. For more accessibility solutions, click this link or call us today at (800) 423-0751.