Diseases such as osteoporosis and arthritis can become debilitating as we age. A wheelchair often serves as an invaluable aid for helping an elderly person maneuver in everyday situations. One of the most cumbersome tasks involved with caring for an elderly person regards transferring that person from their wheelchair to a vehicle. This process requires care because the bones of the elderly are often extremely fragile. Odd angles created by car door present another hurdle to overcome. Using creative positioning techniques and proper lifting strategies allows you to safely overcome these obstacles.
Open the the car door on the strong side of the person you will moving. This will enable the person to help you as much as possible.
Place the wheelchair parallel to the car seat.
Lower the locking levers and lock the wheelchair in place.
Position yourself at eye level with the person you are going to transfer and explain what you will be doing. Make eye contact as this helps ease any anxiety the person might be feeling. Speak clearly and loudly as many elderly people have experienced decreased hearing.
Check to make sure the person is ready to move. A three-count system is helpful.
Stand facing the elderly person with your feet shoulder width apart. One foot should be positioned half a foot length in front of the other. Bend at the knees placing most of your weight on the balls of your feet.
Gently grasp the person firmly around the waist or under the arms depending on the person's level of comfort.
Lift the person from the wheelchair. Keep your back straight and bend at your knees.
Shift the person into the car seat. If they are able to assist you, have them place their arm on the car seat for added support. If the person is unable to help, have them place their arms around you so they won't impede the process.
Help the person to get settled in the vehicle and secure the seatbelt.
Fold the wheelchair and place it in the trunk or back seat.
- elderly couple relaxing in wheelchairs in the sun image by L. Shat from Fotolia.com